'Hope: A Sensorial story of Lockdown'
Keywords: storytelling, fashion, lockdown, narrative inquiry, autoethnography
This fashion research aims to test the functions of storytelling and stretch the view of storytelling as an artisan view of communication. It investigates experiences of lockdown, and how layers of sensorial storytelling can draw out the meaning of living through this period, socially distanced yet collectively bound. The study uses narrative inquiry methodology, taking an autoethnographic approach to gathering field data through the process of creating and gathering rich, complex stories interwoven with theoretical concepts. As narrative inquiry embraces a synergy of interdisciplinary practice, this research utilises the three-dimensional commonplaces of temporality, sociality and place, within which narrative modes of thinking can thrive. Its aim is to analyse personal experience to illuminate broader cultural, social and political issues. As a presentation, the field data is shared as vivid, multi-layered communication: firstly, as a piece of performative oral storytelling, revealing the researcher's spontaneous observations, analytical thought and reflexive realisations of lockdown. To accompany this, photographs of the researcher's journey through liminal spaces are shared, such as the fashion messaging in closed shop windows, to reveal the people behind brands, individuals behind community action, the business of being human. There is also an audio soundtrack capturing the sounds of lockdown, which acts as vivid aural backdrop. Theoretical concepts from the fields of politics, philosophy, social activism and psycho-analysis are built in as part of the critical, contextualising process, considering how notions of heterotopia, freedom, belonging and resilience are tested through the prism of the lockdown experience. Altogether, this fashion research presents sensorial field data in the midst of 'narrative becoming', giving an insight into individual liminal experience in flow, in a collective world in flux.