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Museum of the Home Announces Festival of Sleep

The festival launches on June 25th with The Great Pyjama Party.

Museum of the Home Announces Festival of Sleep

Launching with The Great Pyjama Party on 25th June 2022, Museum of the Home's Festival of Sleep explores our understanding and experience of sleep and rest, how it has changed over time and across cultures. With thoughtful galleries sharing stories of home from a range of perspectives, and curatorial expertise in inviting everyone to think about what 'home' means, the Museum is uniquely positioned to examine the nation's quest for more and better sleep. Festival of Sleep will also explore how homelessness, ill health and domestic violence affect our sleep and our dreams. This is the second annual festival from Museum of the Home, following the success of its Festival of Belonging in 2021.

When bedtime was dictated by sunset, the rhythms of waking and sleeping were simpler. Skip to the 21st century and we're working at home all hours, sometimes across time zones, while our phones and tablets follow us into bed. Sleep has become a problem, says Sonia Solicari, Director at Museum of the Home. It remains as important for our health as it always has been to get good rest, and it remains as damaging to us when we don't. Festival of Sleep explores the complex realm of sleep and the impact of our home lives on our ability to rest.

The Great Pyjama Party will be a house party like no other. Exploring the Museum after-hours, guests will mingle with models as a roving nightwear catwalk makes its way through the Museum. Sumptuous nightwear, bed linen and picnic blankets in playful, hand-painted British prints by Cath Kidston will adorn the Museum spaces. Guests can sip dreamy cocktails and boozy hot chocolate while enjoying soothing live jazz lullabies, or head for the silent disco. Guests can have their dreams decoded by a dream reader or create the perfect sleepy pillow balm.

The Museum's curators have re-styled the famous Rooms Through Time galleries to explore remedies, potions, folklore, traditions, social norms, myths and magic connected to sleep through the last 400 years. Founder of The Cornrow Kemi Lawson will transform the Museum Reading Room into My Beautiful Georgian Twisted Fantasy. Named in homage to a Kanye West song, Lawson's installation will be an imagined bedroom of dreams for noted 18th century British West Indian heiress Dido Belle, who lived at Kenwood House.

Further new interpretations will see the Museum's Victorian parlour become the scene of a woman's two-year mourning period for her husband, while the 1915 Drawing Room will become the makeshift bedroom of a soldier returned from the Front as World War I raged, whose injuries mean he has to sleep downstairs on the sofa. The living room of the Museum's 1937 flat will see its occupant nursing a hangover after a big night out celebrating the coronation of George VI, while its 1998 loft apartment will be the scene of a hazy morning after the night before, when the couple living there were out at the Pride march and then gay bar-hopping.

Festival of Sleep will delve into dreaming minds, address the inequalities of sleep, explore the ways that we can improve health and wellbeing by adapting how we sleep and bring this intangible aspect of our homes to life. Audio installation A Crash Course in Cloudspotting foregrounds those suffering with chronic pain and fatigue, for whom rest is an essential part of the daily routine. Raquel Meseguer Zafe's audio artwork invites visitors to join those with invisible disabilities in the subversive act of rest. Max Richter's ground-breaking nocturnal-inspired composition will be set within the unique surrounds of the Museum of the Home. This 8-hour piece acts an antidote to the overstimulation of modern life, inviting the audience to switch off all distractions and allow themselves to rest.

Art installations such as The Bed by Maayan Sophie Weisstub will invite visitors to engage the with experiences of hidden abuse and trauma, and with their aftermath. This work replaces the crisp clean linen of the archetypal bed with battered and bruised skin, signs of abuse and trauma. Short film Space, Not Spikes tackles the defensive architecture of urban spaces. In 2015, activist and filmmaker Leah Borromeo and a group of friends laid a mattress across sharp metal studs outside in an intervention against hostile objects, such as spikes and uncomfortable seating, designed to make it difficult for people experiencing homelessness to find a place to rest.

Families will be able to discover the Rooms Through Time afresh with a brand-new family trail. As well as new interpretation in the Museum's Gardens Through Time, hammocks and sun loungers will appear in the gardens, encouraging moments of rest. The Museum will announce a series of talks and workshops associated with Festival of Sleep.

Festival of Sleep will promote, highlight, and fundraise for Behind the Door, the Museum's Campaign for Change in partnership with London Homeless Collective, an organisation bringing together over 25 charities working to support homeless people, including Shelter and the Salvation Army. Behind the Door raises money for London Homeless Collective and raises awareness of the unique issues faced by women and families experiencing hidden homelessness - not sleeping rough, but instead living through the instability of sofa surfing, staying in a friend's spare room, moving between hostels, sheltered accommodation and local government-provided housing.

Sleep and shelter are defined as human rights in law. However, for too many women and families in London, they are both luxuries, says Lucy Littlewood, Director of Campaigns at Museum of the Home. What does living homelessly - a few days in a hostel or a friend's sofa, perhaps in a strange or unsafe place far from work, school and friends - do to sleep and rest? Behind the Door is revealing and tackling these issues and we encourage visitors to come and learn more at Festival of Sleep.

Learn more about Behind the Door here: support/behind-the-door/

Notes to Editors

Title Festival of Sleep

Dates 25th July 2022 - September 2022

Location Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8EA Admission Visit us for free, Tuesday-Sunday and bank holidays, 10am-5pm

Tickets The Great Pyjama Party | pyjama-party/

How to get there Museum of the Home is opposite Hoxton Station, which has step free access, and is a short walk from Liverpool Street and Old Street stations. Buses 149, 242, 243, 394 stop on Kingsland Road.

Social Media @museumofthehome, #exploringsleep


Museum of the Home's purpose is to reveal and rethink the ways we live, in order to live better together. Through our collections, exhibitions, events, performances and debates, we reveal diverse, thought-provoking and personal stories of the home from the last 400 years to the present and looking into the homes of the future. Explore stories of home and share your own.

Pictured: 1970s room by Michael McMillan

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