The family in question is my father’s and our story starts in the 1940s when my grandfather fought with energy and conviction alongside farm labourers from Basilicata to defend their rights as workers and improve their working conditions. For his entire life, my grandfather was in charge of what was once called a “camera del lavoro” or working room which inspired this tribute to my family and gave rise to a modern-day equivalent with the aim of really helping people to develop a positive rapport with work.
Employment, or rather unemployment, has always been and continues to be the bane of the small region of Southern Italy I come from. All too often, the only escape from the haunting spectre of unemployment is to flee the area.
I grew up with the notion that work is pivotal to personal freedom and dignity, that work is primarily a duty and that a job done well is a crucial source of satisfaction, gratification and recognition.
I was raised with the idea that working well demands serious study and a long climb up the professional ladder (a term I am not fond of but my father repeats often).
With these ideas swimming in my head, I worked and studied tirelessly for twenty years, abandoning the region I grew up in and reaping many rewards until the day I found myself without a job in the company that had employed me for several years.
I was jobless for the first time in my life. Yet, for the first time in my life, the spectre of unemployment did not haunt me.
Up until that moment, I had always been considered someone who generated work for myself and those around me, as well as an expert in helping people and organisations handle change.
Being out of work proved to be a vital testing ground for my competences and convictions.
In the solitude of my home, I spent my newfound free time reflecting on all the good and not-so-good things I had achieved at work and this kindled the desire to rediscover and cherish my family origins so that I could feel at one with and protected by the flow of history. I was forced to think about what I really wanted, what was really important to me, what I thought I could continue doing that would make me feel good.
I decided to buy some large whiteboards and I began covering them with pictures, words and objects representing my innermost thoughts and feelings.
This is how my Working Room Moodboards came to be. They expressed the spirit of this project and I used them to explain my ideas to close friends and family when asking for their support and advice.
The Working Room Moodboards gave rise to the Working Room mission and it is from the Moodboards that the entire project unfurled.
The rest of the story is waiting to be written.