When I arrived at the JCI Global Mobility Network meeting, Marie Puybaraud asked if I could 'do some images...'
Visual facilitator Tim Casswell (seen here on P-D) was setting up to work at the back of the room and space was limited. I had a sandwich (any opportunity) and as the meeting began simply snapped away.
What emerged was a set of portraits of the group as I had a great time getting shots of Marie, her co-facilitator Anne Marie McEwan of The Smart Work Company, the keynote speakers and all but one of the group (sorry, Sarah, the light where you were sitting just wasn't working for me!)
The aim of the network is to begin to understand the effect of new technologies and social changes on how we use our workspaces.
Modern IT offers us the opportunity to move away from large office blocks and conventional workplaces. (I hope that I never have to work in an office again...;-) But as organisations and groups disperse and adopt more flexible working relationships so our sense of identity and culture is challenged.
We might still need to come together to work but groups will need to form and reform quickly within a shifting, fluid set of relationships. It's a promise that has been on the cards for several years...
Sadly, there is a long list of reasons to support our daily commute to work in static arrangements in BIG buildings but I'm increasingly interested in how images, and in particular photographic images can help, groups form and gel quickly.
A critical component of identity is how or, increasingly, whether we feel 'seen' in our social circles and work groups. Yet photographs give us this facility in spades... John Berger, in 'About Looking' says,
“Unlike any other visual image, a photograph is not a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace of it. No painting or drawing, however naturalist, belongs to its subject in the way that a photograph does.”
Photographic portraits honour and affirm people; they are inevitably 'seen' by others. Portraits cement together our sense of 'group' even in the most distant circumstances. If this sounds curious, take a look in your wallet or pocketbook; whose photograph do you carry with you and why?
But back to the GMN conversation. An excellent summary of the day has been posted here by 'KJ' Kristensen. One of KJ's key points is that 'a really good workplace is one that enables you to do something which you cannot do anywhere else.'
Yep, definitely, and it would take a really good workplace to inspire me to return to the morning commute...!
There will be another series of GMN gatherings next year - watch their website for details.