Keeping the home fires burning: camping at home in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was not uniform, but for many households everyday life was profoundly impacted as work, education, childcare and leisure unavoidably became physically intertwined within the home. This blurring and renegotiation of boundaries was compounded by anxiety, loss, exhaustion and isolation as individuals were confined for extended periods of time with their significant others. The mental health of children and young people was particularly badly affected by the crisis with a marked rise in emotional symptoms, hyperactivity and/or inattention, and conduct problems. One way in which people coped with the monotony of the lockdown and domestic confinement (literally and/or imaginatively) was by camping at home (outdoors and indoors). Camping benefitted peoples’ health and well-being (improving sleep, providing a sense of calmness and relaxation, and making people feel more in control) and had a positive impact on social relationships (e.g. providing space to be alone, meaningful shared activity). This paper drew on social media and qualitative survey data to highlight the role that fire (its brightness, sound, taste, temperature, smell) in various forms (campfires, barbeques, stoves, lanterns) played in engendering positive affect in this context.
Period4 May 2023
Event titleUncommon Senses IV
Event typeConference
LocationMontreal, CanadaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • camping
  • fire
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic
  • senses
  • wellbeing