Cooking Up a Storm¹

Title: Cooking Up a Storm¹. Kitchens in Contemporary Social Housing in Sheffield- An Intersectional Feminist Critique

1: To do something with a lot of energy and often skill (Cambridge Dictionary , ND)

Author: Kemba Beth Mitchell

Year: 2020

Abstract: With women still performing the vast majority of domestic labour, do the spaces we inhabit ease or exacerbate this burden? Research has shown that the architectural profession is dominated by white, middle class, straight, able bodied men, while the customer base they design for grows ever more diverse. With this in mind, this study aims to establish whether kitchens (the epicentre of social reproduction) in contemporary social housing in Sheffield are meeting the intersecting needs of their users. Building on literature by feminist researchers, it explores the impact of the kitchen’s environment, ergonomics and social connectivity on the physical and emotional toll of domestic labour from an intersectional perspective.

Based on a review of key literature and two case studies, Cooking Up a Storm explores in detail the relationship between age, disability and gender and the impact these factors have on how kitchens are used and perceived. The analysis of these case studies concludes that design does not yet pay due regard to the axes of identity from which kitchens are experienced. Recommendations include the implementation of Universal Design principals to ensure kitchens are designed to better meet the needs of their users.