I have recently been leading a research and consultancy project with the Environment Agency at their headquarters in Bristol http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/. Horizon House was built so all agency workers could be together under one roof, rather than spread across various sites around the South West – the building brought everyone together and, due to the fact that Horizon House is located in Bristol City Centre, it has encouraged more workers to use public transport to get to work. The building has won awards for its design and sustainability and is a real landmark in the city.
My project at Horizon House has involved exploring how workers feel about their new work space. Agency staff are now expected to ‘hot desk’ and work in an open-plan environment and I asked people how they felt about this, how they felt space impacted on their well-being and what spaces were meaningful to them. I gave a group of agency staff cameras to go and capture images of these spaces. I then conducted interviews with them and asked them to tell me about their photographs.
As part of this project, the Environment Agency were kind enough to ask me to present some of the findings from this research at their Women’s Network ‘Lunch and Learn’ event a few weeks ago. They also asked me to display some of the images and quotes from the research in an exhibition at the Bristol Doors Open Day http://www.bristoldoorsopenday.org/ ….this is an event that runs each year where organisations and businesses across Bristol open their doors to the public, giving visitors a rare insight into what buildings look like, where people work and how organisations function. I went along this year and it was a great day out, with many venues conducting tours and putting on demonstrations. My exhibition at Horizon House was in the main foyer – here I am with my display of photographs from my research! Thanks to all those who took part in the project and thanks to Julie Jupe and David Cameron at the Environment Agency for their support…and UWE for the funding!