In these hard times of isolation, economic crisis and social distancing our home has become a symbol of safety and comfort for so many. Distanced Domestic aims to explore our shared experiences in domesticity during social isolation. We ask that artists respond to existing ideas of domestic labour and feminist economics, the impact of Covid-19 on young families, children or a shift in our perspectives on our roles in a domestic space.
The reality of staying home for many women, families and children are not as comfortable as we would hope. Our new routine further highlights the inequalities in domestic labor and women’s issues that take place behind closed doors. During the first 11 weeks of lockdown from 24th March 2020, domestic abuse calls rose 11.4% in comparison to 2019. Over 45,000 calls were made during that period. (The Guardian)
Male victims of abuse also called for help in greater numbers, the Men's Advice Line seeing calls rise 35% in the first week of lockdown. (The BBC) Homes have never been a place of rest but of unpaid labour: cooking, cleaning, child rearing, personal fitness training sessions, mental health check-in’s, classrooms and play spaces.
During the first weeks of lockdown (28 March to 26 April 2020), in households with children aged under 18 years, women were carrying out on average two-thirds more of the childcare duties per day than men. This gender difference in total provision of childcare was mostly driven by the extra time women spent in carrying out non-developmental child care such as washing, feeding and dressing children and supervision of children. (Office for National Statistics)
Parents were more than twice as likely to report reduced income, less than half were able to cover a large necessary expense, and they were more likely to have been furloughed than adults without children in the house, with over 20% finding childcare impacting their work. Of all adults with children in the household, 62.7% reported that the coronavirus had impacted their work. Of all adults with children in the household, 21.2% reported that their work had been affected because of having to work around childcare. (Office for National Statistics)
Our relationships with our domestic spaces have been challenged, asking us to re-evaluate our responsibilities in our homes and adjust together to a new normal. For many of us we are further being confronted with the history of unpaid labour and realities of living within it while dealing with financial cuts and growing anxieties. We have seen an outpouring of support and acknowledgement for the new roles as parent/teacher/dance partner/quiz host/best friend we’ve taken on at home during these uncertain times. Many of us now are returning to work or looking for new employment after mass redundancies which marks the next great shift in our societal wild west of 2020. What domestic rituals will we preserve in the next phase to our lives, will we all still be making sourdough in six months time?