Black and white image of a playing field in front of three blocks of flats
Exhibit, 26 days

We Live Here

The making and unmaking of home in the building safety crisis

This digital exhibition represents leaseholders' experiences of living through work to remedy unsafe buildings in the post-Grenfell building safety crisis. Through an exploration of the sights, sounds and emotions associated with large-scale remediation works, the collection will reflect on the way in which home is made and unmade - not only through changes to the material fabric of dwellings, but also by locating these works within a longer period of waiting and uncertainty. Includes discussion of mental health. 

Impact on the senses

Living through large-scale building remediation impacts negatively on mental wellbeing. Leaseholders explain the impact on their senses from the sound and feel of noise, to the loss of light and connections with the outside world due to scaffolding. For many leaseholders, remediation is another process within the wider building safety crisis in which they experience a loss of control. There needs to be more emphasis on creating a liveable environment during building works.

Disruptions to privacy and security

Home is often associated with feelings of security and privacy - a space in which individuals and households can go about their daily lives, often through mundane practices. However, many leaseholders had lost this private space, with strangers regularly present outside their homes. For some, this contributed to a wider sense of unsafety and surveillance. This unsafety also manifested through the practices of workers on-site, for example smoking on scaffolding, or propping open fire doors. Many leaseholders felt that workers were not used to working on occupied buildings, and were unaware of the anxiety caused by the fire safety context. 

Home unmaking

Whilst building safety remediation aims to fix fire-safety related problems in people’s homes, living through the work can also disrupt attempts to create a safe home environment. Many leaseholders felt that work proceeded with little recognition for the fact that these are homes which are often being lived in through the work.




Special thanks to

Thank you to all those who shared their images and words as part of this research. We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Crook Public Service Fellowships and the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence.