The sounds of impermanence:
Listening to music when living in temporary accommodation
I am a part-time PhD student with research interests are in the roles and functions of music in everyday life, for everyday people. When I am not doing my research, I am a third-sector freelancer in a range of organisations from arts to social change (and sometimes both)
Music is often an important component of the day-to-day lives of young people. But, when those young people are in challenging situations with heightened emotional demands and reduced access to private space, as is the case with thousands of young people living in temporary accommodation, are there any implications on music listening practices? What can these practices tell us about both the temporary living environment and about music listening in general. My research explores the music listening practices of young people in two such temporary environments - supported accommodation for homeless young people, and on a military base.
I am interested in how music listening is used in these environments. How do individuals use music to cope with their environment? How do people use music to create connections to others, or put up boundaries?
My research will be carried out in two contrasting temporary environments - supported accommodation for homeless young people and a military base. What I discover I hope will tell us something, not just about the experience of living in temporary accommodation, but also about the uses of music in everyone's everyday lives.
What does life on a military base, circling the world on a cruise ship, in prison, in hospital or in a hostel for the homeless have in common? They are all forms of temporary living. Whilst different in many ways they can be emotionally challenging, not least because they are away from friends and family. Many involve a loss of personal agency, whilst at the same time involving living in close proximity to others - blurring the boundaries between private and public space.