Nicola Wilkes - BA (Cardiff)
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75688
Location: Room 1.24, Bute Building
The Cultural Significance of interiors magazines in the late 20th Century, early 21st Century: the case of Livingetc.
With more than 20 interiors magazine titles sitting on the newsstand, home interest has become one of the principal subject areas dominating printmedia, from House Beautiful and Homes & Gardens to Elle Decoration and World of Interiors. Since the launch of Ideal Home in 1920, interior design magazines have set the standard for how our homes should look, what furniture they should house, and how much money we should spend on them.
Occupying a significantly influential space in the media world, women’s magazines dictate trends and set the fashion industry standards for purchasers to follow. In the same vein, interiors magazines offer their readers an ‘ideal’ home vision to aspire to, through a powerful amalgamation of advertising, editorial and photo shoots.
Through my research I aim to dissect the relationship between the media and the interiors industry, plotting this modern obsession against a fascinating history of magazine journalism.
The principal aim of my research is to examine the interiors phenomenon that has seen exponential growth in the media industries; DIY and interior design programmes, newspaper supplements dedicated solely to the subject, and row upon row of magazines selling the dream of the ideal home.
By decoding and examining the network of messages within the magazine, such as advertising, editorial and advertorial, I will attempt to demonstrate the influential status of Livingetc in the interiors market. The structure of Livingetc has led me to choose this magazine as the main focus of my proposed thesis. Case studies documenting stylish, modern homes form the core features of the publication, giving the magazine a more personal feel and gently eases readers into the world of interiors. When compared to other glossy interiors titles, Livingetc appears to address its readers in a less formal tone, and it is this particular discourse I plan to examine, and attempt to further establish how it shapes the reader’s perception of the magazine.
As with other popular interiors titles, the magazine combines designer advertising and stylish photo shoots with a blend of interiors advice that is neither too intimidating nor amateur; but it is the strong presence of real-life editorial that has brought Living etc. to the forefront of my study. Claiming ‘it was launched in 1998 in response to a changing market and society’, Livingetc says ‘the ‘home’ is becoming a statement of style and status for young modern professionals.’ By also looking at the predecessors and competitors of Livingetc, I will discuss the market for interiors magazines and how it has developed into the multi-million pound industry that it is today.
Having worked in the furniture and interior design industry since 2002 my experience ranges from completing both residential and contract interior design projects to helping run a successful designer furniture retail outlet in Cardiff, where I also spent three years writing a monthly interiors column for the Western Mail and other local and trade publications.
Currently working as a Freelance Interiors Journalist, I specialise in writing ‘inside reader-home’ features for interior design and home interest magazines, as well as working with Welsh Designers, raising their profile within the design industry nationwide.
Teaching and Research Projects
Teaching Assistant on BA 1st Year Modules: The History of Communications and Mass Media and Textual Analysis
Assisting on MA International Public Relations
Assisting on BA 2nd Year Module: Journalism Studies
Research Assistant for BBC Research Project, January 2006 with Professor Justin Lewis
Real Homes, Marc Rees's Cardiff Flat (forthcoming February 2007)
Elle Decoration, 'Inner Space' (October 2006)
Ideal Home, Berni Home, August 2006
25 Beautiful Homes, Cammies Home, July 2006
Real Homes, Gardner Home, May 2006
‘Munro’s Favourite Fault’, BLUEPRINT, Issue No. 236, Nov 2005
Western Mail, Welsh Homes, monthly column from April 2003 – October 2005
Furniture Today, monthly column from April 2005 – October 2005
Contributor to WM, Western Mail: ‘Taking the Indoors Out (June, 2005)’ and ‘Hotel Home’ (August, 2005)