What peeking into teenagers' bedrooms taught us about their lives

Exhibition curator and researcher Carey Newson

Exhibition curator and researcher Carey Newson

For our second Open Your Mind session, we embarked on noisy journey, exploring and decrypting the bedrooms of 26 teenagers from North & East London with researcher and exhibition curator Carey Newson.

Through a combination of photographs, interviews, objects and an installation, Carey Newson depicted how identity, memory and friendship are expressed within teenager’s bedrooms, giving us plenty of insights on the meaning of Gen Z’s private spaces.

The recurrent themes of the Teenage Bedroom exhibition at the Geffrye Museum

While all bedrooms are very different, there are also common themes. Teenagers find many ways to bring the outside world into their rooms and their walls evidence their cultural and emotional lives beyond the home. They’re rich with personal archives/memories that celebrate and commemorate their friendships, as well as childhood and family history, providing continuity with the past.

Teenagers’ parents were also interviewed and often reflect on differences between their own remembered teenage bedrooms and those of their children, able to retreat to their rooms to talk to friends on social media, rather than brave the phone in the hall. In present-day rooms, the mobile by the pillow or the laptop on the duvet is a recurrent sight, and the bed, often a double, is an island of comfort from which to connect and communicate. At the same time, some teenagers find special appeal in the tangibility of earlier, non-digital forms of communication, such as letters and vinyl records.

A brilliant talk from our host Carey that made us look at and experience the reality of today’s Gen Z in a different light, through individual stories, personal spaces and cherished items.

To join us next time, stay tune to the Open Your Mind invitation emails.

The Open Your Mind Team.

Thanks to our members who joined us

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