Drawing lines through the invisibles: Mapping and reframing visibility of work through an ethnographic study

Larisa Sitorus


This article elaborates on an ethnographic effort of a workplace design project. Examples and analysis of fieldwork instances are presented with an emphasis on the issue visibility of work in relation to the dynamics of identity among members of a design research group at a university setting. Through further analysis of social interaction instances, the role of actors and space seems to be dynamically influenced by the ‘invisibles’ of a workplace: identity, quality, efficiency, social interactions, limitations, and power structure. Re-framing and mapping give insights to the dynamic and nuanced relationships of the invisibles and thus further challenges the rigid de- contextualization of notion visibility of work. This study has told us that visibility of work is a sensitive issue to the group and thus requires careful understanding of the invisibles. All these are put forth with hopes in a grounded starting point for participatory, user-centered efforts in this workplace design.

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