Authors: Elisabetta Crovara*, School of Geography, University of Melbourne
Topics: Cultural Geography
Keywords: everyday practices, care, emotional labour, regional coworking, affects
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 39
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
In this paper, I examine the effects of the practices of care that coworking hosts do as part of their everyday role in a coworking space. I understand these practices through sensory ethnographic fieldwork in a coworking space in Castlemaine, a small regional town in Victoria, Australia. Through in-depth life history and walk-along interviews with the two host co-founders, I explore how these practices of care intimately affect their lives. Literature on coworking explores the role of coworking hosts as curators, intermediaries, and managers. Whilst some authors recognise the affective and emotional labour that coworking hosts do to create and maintain a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in the space (Gregg, 2018; Merkel, 2015, 2019; Waters-Lynch and Duff, 2019), there is a paucity of research on the effects that this labour has on the hosts. By introducing the concept of care, this paper offers a novel contribution to the emerging literature on the affects and commons of coworking. Specifically, I consider care as a set of relational practices situated in the everyday (Mol, 2008). In doing so, I show how coworking hosts practice care in simple, often invisible, everyday actions, such as listening and proactive interest towards the members. I argue that the concept of care enables new understandings of how this affective work can negatively impact on the wellbeing of coworking hosts, which can have significant implications for the sustainability of coworking spaces.