Another of the Hive scholars, Lefteris, has written about his research – hopefully this will inspire others to share their research in progress.
My research looks at the lives of people working in the new media industry such as web designers, web developers and creative managers in new media companies in Brighton. Some of these people are working for companies while others are freelance workers, occasionally and temporarily employed by companies or running their own projects. The aim of this research is to explore how important work is for these new media workers and what impact their work has on the rest of their social lives. In particular I am interested in the phenomenon of socialising among new media workers outside of work and its relationship to identity, morality and insecurity. Another thing that my research looks at is the social environment within which these social relationships take place, which in this case is Brighton.
In order to understand these phenomena I look at factors that are out of the workers’ reach and that constrain their actions, such as technology, their positions in the industry and the organisation of new media work. I also look at how workers make sense of these factors, the meanings they attach to them and how these meanings become shaped through social interaction.
I collected data in three ways for this research. First, I conducted interviews with 35 workers in which we discussed life in Brighton, their work habits, whether they socialise with workers from other companies or other freelancers, what they do when they socialise, how satisfying they find their work and life in general. Second, I spent time in a company where new media freelancers rent desks and small new media companies rent offices, and can work close to other people engaged in similar activities. During a period of three months I observed their working and socialising habits, kept notes and talked to some of them regarding the boundaries between working and socialising in this context. Finally, I hung out with new media workers in social events, workshops and pubs where I talked to them about the challenges and opportunities of new media work and heard first-hand the things they discuss when they socialise.
The opportunity to win an Amazon token for blogging your research in progress ends on May 18th. We always welcome contributions to this blog from the Sussex research community. Research in Progress contributions and any other contributions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.