Manual Labours

Manual Labours is a research project exploring physical and emotional relationships to work, initiated by Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope. This project reconsiders current time-based structures of work (when does work start and end?) and reasserts the significance of the physical (manual) aspect of immaterial, affective and emotional labour.
Manual Labours started in April 2013 with a 35 hour ‘working week’-long investigation into the embodied, sensory, emotional affects of work which included meetings with our co-workers, a 9 mile walk to work, hosting a film screening and eating together during a Public Lunch Hour. This initial stage of the research was documented in Manual Labours Manual #1.
In Autumn 2013 we held a series of reading groups that explored issues addressed within the Manual within different sites of work including an artist studio, a hospital and a bank.
In 2014 we carried out a programme of workshops with a local London council’s complaints team and workshops with cultural workers in Melbourne, Helsinki and Stockholm. The material from these workshops formed Manual Labours Manual #2.