Sensory and Material Memories: Exploring Autobiographical Materiality (SENSOMEMO)

Main funder

Funder's project number: 334247

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 479 930,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2020

Project end date: 31/08/2024


Sensory and Material Memories (SENSOMEMO): Exploring Autobiographical Materiality, PI: Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto, PI (JYU)

In this project, we study stories and meanings connected to personal objects through the concept of autobiographical materiality that relates to biographical thing-body assemblages. Our emphasis is on sensory and material memories and on the ways in which material objects and embodied meanings affect identity and feeling of home. We set out to explore personally meaningful objects and analyze stories, spaces and atmospheres related to them in the context of life histories of people who have relocated and reorganized their lives for different reasons. Our research applies ethnographic methodology and it seeks to analyze the materiality of everyday life from the perspective of personal memory.

When we move to a new place, our embodied memories influence the experience, because experiencing place is inextricable from sensory and material memories. In this process, objects can articulate feelings of loss, disconnection and longing. On the other hand, research on materiality and affects emphasizes the capability of material engagements to offer sources of joy and pleasure, for example by allowing us to create cozy atmospheres. By studying personal objects of memory, we can better understand why people wish to keep certain mementoes with them through different stages of life. It also helps us to understand, which objects they are happy to leave behind, which can be kept as digital objects (or as content) and which they wish to sense as material artifacts.
Our project aims at producing knowledge of the entanglements of life history, identity and material culture in everyday lives of today's mobile people and in their relations with tangible objects in the increasingly digital world. Four case studies seek to analyze sensory and embodied memories attached to personal objects, such as mementoes, books, photos and letters, and the ways in which they are safeguarded or disposed when moving from one place to another and settling into a new environment and home.

We study the personal memories and meanings connected to materiality by means of ethnographic research that enables us to explore affective memories of people in the context of their everyday life and home environment. The project seeks to develop new methodological approach to the study of autobiographical materiality that captures both verbalized meanings as well as non-verbal affective and embodied dimension of personal memories and mementoes.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Primary responsible unit

Related publications and other outputs

Last updated on 2022-23-11 at 10:49