The Map of our Lives: Where are we from?

Tom Leach takes the first look at a student-led, online exhibition exploring identity and belonging

Tom Leach
11th August 2020

Where are we? Where are we from? Where are we going? These are the questions asked in a new student-led exhibition from Cabinet, a programme of exhibitions by Newcastle University School of Arts and Culture.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has us cooped up in our houses, Matteo Magazzino - student of MA Museum Studies - asks what 'home' means to us. The exhibition, which has been moved online in face of coronavirus, traces the places five participants have lived, and how where we live shapes our identities.

Magazzino's semi-nomadic upbringing was the inspiration for the exhibition. He says:

"The topic of belonging to a certain place has always been very personal for me. I was born in March 1995, by autumn of the same year, I had already lived in 3 different cities across 2 continents. "

"By the time I was 7 years old I had lived in 6 different cities."

"For this reason, I’ve always been curious to find out how people who have always lived in one single place for most of their childhood feel about their place of origin. However, I've also been interested in how people like me, grew up always moving from one place to another."

The Map of Our Lives presents interviews with participants that vary widely in their social identities, and also in their definition of what home is. It shows us that home is not just where you live, but where you choose to call home. The exhibition ends with an interactive map, on which you can plot where home is to you - where you came from, where you are, and where you hope to be.

The Map of Our Lives is the second of three online exhibitions in the Cabinet programme, following Stories We Could Tell: A Photographic Exhibition of Student-Life at Newcastle University curated by Olivia Erodotou and preceding Music and Memory: A Peter Saville Sample, curated by Charlie Dean which goes live on the 1st of September. All can be accessed at

Featured image: Matteo Magazzino

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AUTHOR: Tom Leach
Spanish and German student. Interested in cultural studies and left-wing politics globally. Twitter: @tleachleach

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