Pockets of Affect/Containers of Feeling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Building on practice-based archival research at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this chapter explores the clothing archive as a space of affect and emotion – a space in which intimate, and emotionally loaded objects can be held and contained. Using a collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century women’s pockets as both an example and a metaphor, it explores the ways that both garments and the spaces that house them become containers of feeling; sites in which multiple ‘feelings’ (a word that conveys both sensation and emotion) are stored and retained. It asks how the metaphor of the pocket – a discreet, intimate and bodily container – might help us understand the affects and emotions produced by the dress archive, and in turn the labour of caring for these objects and spaces. Drawing on work of D. W. Winnicott, Didier Anzieu and Esther Bick, it asks how theories of containment, holding and attachment might shed light on our encounters with archival garments and with the archive itself; asking how these multiple forms of containment render dress archives powerful sites within museums as spaces where ambiguous objects may be placed, held and retained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cultural Construction of Hidden Spaces
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on Pockets, Pouches and Secret Drawers
EditorsJames Brown, Anna Jamieson, Naomi Segal
Place of PublicationLeiden, Netherlands
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789004694729
ISBN (Print)9789004522886
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024

Publication series

NameSpatial Practices: An Interdisciplinary Series in Cultural History, Geography and Literature
ISSN (Print)1871-689X

Cite this