When curator Michael McMillan confronted his audience on Monday (01/03/10) at Leicester’s Cultural eXchanges event with the idea that the front room reflects the respectability of house owners, I thought that is exactly what should be on the agenda of De Montfort University’s services.
Apparently, the Caribbean immigrants of the 50s and 60s had to sell themselves to the outside world to gain acceptance. From my experience, some students do not even remotely understand what that means.
Front rooms are the only public spaces in the privacy of our homes. Caribbean immigrants used fancy photos, religious paintings such as the last supper or expensive new acquirements to express their morality and decency. Student’s homes that I have seen in Leicester or in various other places around the world do not explicitly earn that respectability.
As a German international student, it is awkward at first to see British streets with identical terraced houses – I can absolutely relate to the impression those immigrants had. At least they made the inside representational of their individuality.
Students, on the other hand, often leave their rooms completely unattended – no matter whether that concerns cleanness, inventory or elegancy. They all resemble each other.
I think a proper introduction in “the front room - my soul, my sin” at Universities could help. For my house next year, I will keep McMillan’s advice in mind: “If you and your front room look good, you will be respected.”
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