Dreaming in Durham: A Story of Children and their Bedrooms

By Julia Dunn

Envision yourself in your childhood bedroom. What color did you paint your walls? What decorations, pictures or posters adorned them? How did you use your own space to navigate your stages of development through childhood? What makes your bedroom distinctly yours? And finally, what does your room say about you?

These were the kinds of questions I pondered as I proposed my project. When I was an infant, my parents had painted my room yellow and blue. Throughout the years I started taking down decorations they had hung, and instead started developing who I was in reflection of my walls. I steadily acquired more posters and pictures, increasingly adding more personality to my room, a place left untouched from the outside world.

In my project I examined how the children of Durham use their space to externalize their hopes and dreams. Through a variety of ages, backgrounds, and locations in Durham I hoped to show that children use their bedroom in their own way, but all have the freedom to express who they are through what they own. A child’s bedroom can tell a story about their personality, and by including them in the pictures I hope viewers can understand what having a room means to them. Some share a room with a sibling, but create their own section for solitude when they feel like remaining alone. To others placing another sibling in their room seems unimaginable. Regardless of age, children like to claim their independence through the creation of their room. The evolution of their own distinct personalities takes place in the encapsulated place where they play, create, and dream.