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As a company grows and changes things become automatic and invisible. 






Hidden in plain sight

We use an inquisitive process to study the workplace that is based on rigorous research methods. We use photography, interviews and observation to hold up a mirror to the way people live and work. We do this to shed new light on old habits, cultural things that have become ingrained and no longer serve their intended purpose, things that are invisible because they are passed everyday, and things that are automatic. We hold up a mirror so that companies can see the thick detail of their everyday work life that is often hidden in plain sight.

Helping companies notice things

The value is in unearthing all the beliefs, behaviours and values that make up a companies culture. The implication is that once the culture is understood, meaningful choices can be made about what can be done.

Do one thing well

At Fieldwork, we listen and observe people at work. That's the crux of what we do. We do this because we know it's hard to see what's going on in your own working life from the inside. We focus on listening and observing because we don't want our judgement to be effected by considering how we can fix things. That way, it's clear when we share our findings with a company that we are not trying to steer them in a particular direction so we can sell them a truckload of happiness workshops or whatever the new training zeitgeist is.

If you don’t try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
— Ed Catmull - Pixar


The Fieldwork Portable Lab

For Companies and Teams

Our research is highly versatile, and can provide extremely rich insight into ‘real life’ practice.  Our studies can vary notably in focus – they can be company-wide, or aim at a particular department or small group of people.

The objectives can range from very broad, to gauge culture, to very specific, focusing on particular issues. The Fieldwork portable lab is set up in your office and we run our collaborative ethnographic studies in your company.

We help you create an exhibition of the findings and artefacts on the walls of your offices which is also published as a physical and digital book full of insight for you to use.




One To One

We specialise in research and telling stories about what it is like to live and work in your company, stories about what you do and how it fits within your life, bringing you a closer, fresher look at the actual experience of your working life.

We use our DIY kits, rapid ethnographic observation and photography to study your day to day working life, roles and responsibilities.

The data derived from our research is rigorously analysed, drawing connections between different patterns and behaviours observed. The ultimate goal of ethnographic research is to develop an understanding of the meaning of the behaviours, objects, environments, social interactions, beliefs, values, and communications observed.

At the end of our analysis, we deliver a full report detailing your current status of work.


DIY Kits

DIY, Groups

We believe that to really see the invisible and automatic in your working life takes a different kind of looking.

We've designed a self documentation kit full of mini assignments to help you see your life with beginners eyes. The kit contains a disposable camera with 27 exposures and an assignment book with 27 prompts to inspire you to find the invisible and automatic in your life. We've designed a workshop to help you analyse the photographs and decide on what to do next.




Using some of our ethnography methods, we photograph the working lives of people and companies in a documentary style.

We can help you with what the end result might be. You may just need some brilliant photographs for your website, or you might need help turning your photographs into a physical thing to help share the story of your work. We work closely with designers Stanley James Press who specialise in design for physical and print work.

Our story

Curtis James founded Fieldwork in 2014 after 6 years of helping companies with tactical and practical consultancy with his previous company People Who Do. Curtis came up against resistance with some of this previous work and began to realise this brick wall was connected to culture.

At the same time he had been working on a personal photography project Beyond Work documenting people at work. This project was all about documenting the working lives of people in companies, and he found that some of the things that were being captured offered real insight into the culture of a company. The interesting thing about culture is that it's very difficult to see, especially from the inside, so Curtis's independent beginners eyes enabled him to capture the thick detail of everyday life that was hidden in plain sight to the people that spent everyday at the company.

Fieldwork takes the experience gained during the People Who Do years, adds the fresh insight and documentation from Beyond Work and brings together a team of experienced ethnographers, business designers, documentary makers and photographers to help companies understand what their culture is and how it effects every choice made. 

Read more about the people involved in Fieldwork.