Beyond the specific interviews – related to the intractable objects found in the household and this project – I conducted a broader interview with the participants. This ‘broader interview’ was done to gain a better understanding of the relationship the participants had towards their home. The interview highlighted the ways that P and W negotiate shared space. Further, P and W described their shared understanding of partitioning space giving it form and function (see more).
Over time I also found that interviews 1-on-1 were more beneficial to my project, as both participants were able to voice their own views, as opposed to one more vocal participant speak for both of them. To keep this occurrence ‘natural’, and to not make my interview come across as formal or uncomfortable for the individual participants, I made sure to visit when P had to work late one night. This meant I could interview W by himself before P returned home; then I could interview P by himself once he returned as W felt he didn’t need to sit in on an interview he had already completed.
Interview with W:
As aforementioned, these interviews were mainly concerned with how shared space was negotiated within the house. The following abridged excerpts from my interview with W are featured below.
Louis: What areas of the flat do you consider private?
W: Probably just my bedroom. Oh, and my bathroom as that’s sort of en-suite and Paddy uses the one out there.
L: That makes sense, so whenever you’re in [the living room/kitchen] it almost says that you’re happy to hang out? Unless of course you’re maybe cooking or doing chores?
W: I think so. Maybe unconsciously, but if one of us is watching TV in here the other will normally join them if they’re free. Even then though, we usually cook together so even then we’ll be together in [the kitchen].
L: What about in here [the living room], do you both have unspoken allocated areas that you’ll always maybe sit in, or eat at? You know, this is W’s seat, this is P’s seat?
W: Actually sort of yeah. Obviously it’s not really strict, but whenever we watch TV together, I’ll sit on the left and Paddy will sit on the right nearest the wall. I’m not sure why that is though, I think it just sort of happened. Its work well though as we often make jokes about how I’m always getting up to do things. It’s lucky that I don’t have to walk across P’s path every time I get up.
L: Maybe this was a cause and effect thing? You started getting up more, so P sat to the right and now it’s repetition and habit.
W: Maybe, I’m not sure it was done that thought out, but I wouldn’t disagree.
L: What about when you have your partners over, do you normally just go to your room? Or do you sit in the living room, and P knows that you and [W’s girlfriend] want privacy?
W: No actually, we all get on really well anyways so P will normally join us or I’ll join P and [P’s girlfriend] in here. Obviously if either us are in our rooms it would be a bit more strange for us to all hang-out.
L: So you’d say [the living room] really is always a communal space. There’s no instances where one of you would want to be in here and the other would feel it would be intrusive for them to join?
W: Pretty much, yeah. I wouldn’t say that there could never be a situation where we want to have privacy in this room. But so far, that hasn’t happened yet. If you want to be alone, just go to your own room.
L: What about work, you told me before, before Christmas, that you sometimes work in the living room (See more on this here). Don’t you want to be alone then?
W: If it’s important work, I’ll either put in headphones or go to my room.
The work I do at home isn’t usually too difficult, just time consuming. That’s why I often leave it to do at home, as I can do it in here, in front of the TV or with P.
Interview with P:
I tried to ask as many similar questions to P as I did to W. Again these interviews were mainly concerned with how shared space was negotiated within the house. I also tried my best not to quote what W had spoken to me about. The following abridged excerpts from my interview with P are featured below.
Louis: So, which parts of the flat do you see as private?
P: My room and W’s room. Maybe his bathroom, too, just because it’s sort of in his room anyways.
L: Not the other bathroom? The one that’s out there.
P: I usually stick to mine and W sticks to his, but whenever we have people over they go and use mine. That’s fine. But that bathroom is more public isn’t it?
L: That’s true, I’ve never been in W’s bathroom before, only yours.
L: And this room, here? The living room and kitchen are never private.
P: Always. We’re usually have dinner together and watch TV in here, so if we wanted privacy we’d just go to our rooms and get on with whatever we want to get on with.
L: That includes work, then?
P: I usually don’t have much work to get on with when I’m home. But when I do, I work here in front of the TV.
P: I think W’s the same. He usually just works here or [the kitchen table].
L: Why don’t you work on the kitchen table like W does?
P: I just don’t think I work very well there. I usually get too distracted or feel too exposed sitting in the middle of the room looking outwards at everything.
L: And why not your bedroom.
P: Maybe at my desk. But very rarely. I’m don’t know why, I just normally go in here.
L: Would you say that even when [P’s girlfriend] is over, you guys encourage W to come and hang out with you in [the living room].
P: Yeah always. We don’t normally hang out in here very often as we don’t get to see each other very much, so when we do, we usually plan something in advance. But if we have dinner here, or something, W’s involved. It’s the same as me and when [W’s girlfriend] is over.
L: Just briefly as well, as I talked about it with W and I wanted to bring it up before we ended. Do you guys have places you always sit when you’re watching TV or eating dinner.
P: Not that I can think of.
We usually have dinner in front of the TV. But we don’t have, like, reserved seats!
L: And when you do sit at the kitchen table to eat? Or if W works there?
W: Nope not then either, really.