In 2018, I was invited to Perth, to work for 2 months with the Centre for Transformative Work Design at the University of Western Australia. The research, led by Professor Sharon Parker, took me into a wide range of work places across the region. We were investigating the content and organisation of people’s work tasks, relationships and environments, exploring ways in which the design of jobs made people feel: how work patterns or technology impact on people’s stress levels; how elements such as autonomy, or repetition can effect a workers sense of fulfilment etc.
Using my concertina sketchbooks, I painted people at work while they were being interviewed, attempting to capture not just the individual and their environment, but the gist of their thoughts and feelings, so that the resulting artwork provided a powerful narrative. The aim of the project was to use these painting as a tool to communicate the importance of good work design and ways in which it can be achieved.
As part of the residency, I also ran sketching workshops and organised an international research-sketching competition. I challenged people to go into a workplace local to them, interview a worker and sketch the story of their particular job. There were over 40 entries, from 9 countries.