Family Rituals

September 2013 - September 2015

electronics, software, bespoke design, ethnography, openlab

Family Rituals 2.0 seeks to understand the challenges of working away from home from a sociological and specifically ethnographic perspective. It is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded project with partners from Newcastle University and the Royal College of Art, University of the West of England and Bournemouth University.

We have designed five bespoke Ritual Machines for five real families who experience separation from home due to work - click to find out about each family and their machine:


The machines are playful and provocative; they are not solutions to the problem of absence from home, but rather a way of provoking conversation about the family's attitudes to home and work life. We identified existing domestic rituals by using cultural probes and interviews and created a bespoke machine that enables, extends or perturbs this during absence. Each machine typically lived with the family for a period of one month.

The machines were exhibited at the project's final show at the London Design Festival (September 2015) [read the show publication]. Three machines were displayed at the Science Gallery's HOME\SICK Show (May 2015) [watch the interview].