Cultural Artefacts


60 minutes

What you need

Camera or smartphone

You can use Cultural Artefacts to open up important discussions about power in the workplace. By focusing on particular items from the work environment, participants can reveal to themselves previously implicit knowledge. Chosen items might also generate further questions for participants about power and identity. The idea is to see how 'everyday' objects can structure and shape our workplaces.



  1. Ask participants to bring objects which represent their working identities and experiences.  These might be ID cards, tools (particularly those indicative of identity), items related to personalisation of working environments, or items related to management practices.
  2. Photograph or scan these objects.
  3. Discuss these objects with the rest of the group. What do they tell you about power within the workplace?


For example, within a school setting, a collect photingos of school staffroom signs is a handy way of mapping private/public and staff/pupil spaces. For example:

  • Staffroom
  • Staff Only
  • Teaching Staff Only
  • No Children Beyond This Point

This kind of technique usefully conveys hierarchy within the school in its spatial dimensions.