Knitting (A)way Home
: an Autoethnographic Study in Interior Design. Transforming the Cultural and Domestic Practice of Rangoli into Knitting through Local and International Lens

  • Poojaben Amitbhai Shah

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This interdisciplinary practice-based research emerged through an exploration of my transnational context. I argue that on migrating, some people create new identities while some try to retain their old identities. However, there are also those of us who neither sit on this side nor on that side; instead, they sit in between. I use autoethnography as a research method to address how I create an in-between identity by simultaneously adapting to the new environment and maintaining the old identity, demonstrated through my practice.
This research sits within interior design, offering a new approach to understanding interior space; instead of understanding it through formal descriptions, this research aims to facilitate it by examining cultural and domestic practices that happen within those spaces that qualify the space. It asks two questions: if it is the interiors that control how a particular practice is performed in the space, or if it is the practice that dictates how the interiors might be made, occupied, and left. Moreover, if a migrant can make themselves at home by transforming a cultural and domestic practice of Rangoli into Knitting, how does this shift in culture and cultural practices affect the meaning and the making of a home.
This research is informed by Peggy Levitt & Deepak Lamba-Nieves’ formulation of reverse social remittances. Although it begins and ends in Portsmouth (receiving country); however, a vital understanding of the changing notion of the home arrived when I returned to India (my homeland) after over a year, resulting in an honest autoethnographic account of reverse social remittances. I argue that social remittances are a continuous exchange of knowledge, proposing that the concept of home is continuously changing; its meaning often expires as soon as one migrates. Hence, it needs reconstituting every time one moves.
Date of Award11 Jul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorAntonino Di Raimo (Supervisor), Belinda Mitchell (Supervisor) & Lara Mendonca Guterres Torres (Supervisor)

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