This dissertation explores the experience of living in a caravan in twenty-first century Britain. Many different types of people use caravans as their permanent homes, but this area has hardly been covered by design historians. Through several interviews and observations across a range of different sites, this study attempts to find commonalities running across the daily experiences of the caravan home and site life. The inherently mobile nature of a caravan means that a sense of home must be practiced on the move, through the processes of packing down and setting up the home for travelling. Using a material culture approach, the status of objects in the home can be revealed, and the home itself can be seen as a designed object which embodies certain intentions. Even for caravan dwellers who do not move on a regular basis, the materiality of portable architecture can still have agency over its inhabitants. The home cannot be considered without relation to the wider world, as the material culture of the home extends out into the social and physical spaces of caravan sites. Such sites can be an embodiment of the complex social relationships that occur internally between site communities, and externally with the wider community. The spatial formations of caravan sites can be understood using theories of space, place, and power. Such conceptual frameworks can analyse the ways in which site spaces are fundamental to matters of identity, and can represent wider social structures of power. This reflects the underlying theme that this study explores: the complex relationship between home, mobility, and caravan dwelling in twenty-first century Britain.
BA(Hons) Design, Culture and Society
21 Dec 2015