This is the third instalment Radio Echo with fanfare, this time it’s with Mirjam Reilli and Francois Girard-Meunier of The Office for Workspace Studies, ahead of a presentation of their work at fanfare. As the name suggests, they’re interested in the peculiarities of modern workspaces and especially the language used to describe work in these spaces.
As you’ll hear from the very start there was an interesting unspoken aspect to the conversation, inasmuch as we were all conscious that some of the things we were talking about could only be referred to in generalities. Furthermore, I was careful to cut out the bits where we do refer to our workplaces directly. Besides one instance which we figured was fine to keep in, no companies are mentioned. All in all, it makes for an interesting absence.
I’ve decided to split this recording into two, since there were quite a lot of interesting subjects touched upon, too many for a single 20 minute episode. In this first part, it’s important to explain, again in non-specific terms, that before the recording began we were talking about one workplace in which all the workers, from those working in the back office and the front of house to the cleaning and catering staff, are referred to as “talents”. This led to an interesting discussion of how much we can speak about our work, the tendency of what David Graeber calls the bullshit job and the difference between valuable work and useful work.