Francesca Meloni reflects on ideas and shared experiences of home and belonging, during a 2-day project training
As part of a theatre workshop, we were asked to create two different still images representing our home: a first image representing home in the UK; and a second one, home in our country of origin. Having left Italy many years ago and having met and befriended many young people who migrated alone or with their families, I immediately felt a sense of unease combined perhaps with a glimpse of subtle pain. For me, to express such an idea of home – one that was neatly located in two countries – was simply impossible.
As if anticipating my thoughts, Semhar looked at me and Habib, and said bluntly: home is nowhere. We reflected and discussed together: was home really nowhere? Was home a space which was left empty?
In the end, we agreed to perform, with our bodies, only one image which represented both our home in the UK and in our country of origin. We gathered around a table, and we imagined being part of a happy family (call it a family, a sense of family we recreated in the UK, or a community) – a family which was cheering, laughing, chatting, sharing a meal together. On the table we imagined some delicious food; food that smelled like home, cooked by someone who loved us. Our favourite dishes which reconnected us to childhood memories, colours, and places.
This was our idea of home. Patches of memory, photographs, and still images that are so distant and yet keep coming back so vividly – around a table with a happy family, or in the food which is still cooking on the stove.
About Francesca Meloni
Francesca Meloni is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford. She conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Canada, Italy and Ireland. Her research focuses on immigrants’ everyday lives and social belonging in situations of social exclusion. She is originally from Italy. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking, and watching TV series.