Bodies of Work, LIFT 2014

Developing some of George’s research on automation, gender, and the future of work, the three of us ran a workshop at LIFT 14, in February 2014.

"With an eye to 2040, this workshop explores the role and status of the human body at work. Projecting forward from current trends around automation, outsourcing, identity and employment to develop a set of scenarios, and drawing on contemporary artefacts, artworks, fictions, and our own experiences of workplace and labour practices, participants will work together to prototype a series of interventions appropriate to the specific needs and circumstances of these future worlds."

Looking 25 years in the future, we worked with participants to explore the changing role and status of the human body at work – identifying critical uncertainties, and grappling with questions around automation, outsourcing, and looming structural unemployment.

Working in groups in explore possible future interactions between emerging social, technological, and economic trends, participants drew on fiction, pop culture, and their own experiences of the workplace to develop four future scenarios – looking at resource extraction, personal data, professional identity, and the body in competitive sport.