*NOTE: In line with the Real London Living Wage, my hourly Barbican pay was raised to £10.93 per hour (inc. holiday pay) on the 31st March 2017. From here onwards, I will calculate my remaining working time on this new wage.

Original remaining time = 64 hours, 17 minute.

Remaining money = £680.92

New remaining working time = 62 hours, 17 minutes

Expenses are highlighted with >, and presented as equivalent working hours. These costs are deducted from the working time target, as they constitute a decrease in the remaining grant value.

Labour highlighted in italics is labour carried while on shift, and therefore double-paid.

Labour highlighted with < is labour carried out while performing an unpaid labour commitment for the Barbican (commuting)


03/04/17 – Interviewing Louise about her commute – the Elephant and Castle pub – 17.01 – 21.54. TOTAL WORK: 4.53

03/04/17 – Interviewing Louise about her commute – the Elephant and Castle pub – 2x Goram IPA, 2x half Sagres, 1x Fries. TOTAL COSTS: £16.50. EQUIVALENT TOTAL WORK: 1.31 >

05/04/17 – Writing up Louise interview – The Barbican foyer before shift – 14.32 – 15.23. TOTAL WORK: 0.49 <

06/04/17 – Writing up Louise interview – my flat – 14.03 – 14.55. TOTAL WORK: 0.52

06/04/17 – Interviewing Karen about her commute – Island Queen Pub and The Winchester Bar – 19.09 – 23.55. TOTAL WORK: 4.44

06/04/17 – Interviewing Karen about her commute – Island Queen Pub and The Winchester Bar – 2x Timothy Taylor, 1x Aspall, 1x Lagunitas, 1x Kraken, 1x mixer. TOTAL COSTS: £29.45. EQUIVALENT TOTAL WORK: 2.41 >

10/04/17 – Writing up Karen interview – my flat – 13.18 – 14.23. TOTAL WORK: 1.05

10/04/17 – Writing up Karen interview – my flat – 16.34 – 18.12. TOTAL WORK: 1.38

13/04/17 – Writing blogs and research – The Barbican foyer before shift – 08.56 – 09.30. TOTAL WORK: 0.34 <

20/04/17 – Writing up Hackney research – my flat – 14.21 – 14.52. TOTAL WORK: 0.31

20/04/17 – Final Hackney outdoor camera observation – commute – 15.18 – 15.27. TOTAL WORK: 0.09

APRIL TOTAL WORK: 18 hours 27 minutes

Spending total: £201.66

Remaining funds: £479.26

Remaining working time: 43 hours, 50 minutes


A 5-minute walk from my flat in Hackney Central to Hackney Downs Overground Station. The land is owned by Hackney Borough Council.


CCTV OPERATORS: NSL Services Group on behalf of Hackney Council


CAMERAS WATCHED LIVE: Yes. Images are watched live, at regular intervals, from Hackney Council’s CCTV headquarters below Stoke Newington Town Hall, 184, Stoke Newington Church Street, N16



The Cameras encountered on route are Oculus Compact, Rugged, Continuous Rotation PTZ

These cameras are manufactured by a company called Silent Sentinel

All cameras can pan, tilt and zoom. They have night vision capacity and motion detection software. They cannot detect/record sound.

There are no hidden/covert cameras en route.

All encountered cameras are real.



ENCOUNTERED CCTV NUMBERS: 334, 337, 331, 330, 33, 116, 32



Silent Sentinal Information:



Hackney Council CCTV Policy and basic map of coverage:


CCTV Centre in Stoke Newington:





CCTV Operators are paid Real London Living Wage and work a 48 hour week, shift pattern 6 days on 2 days off. See below job advert (now removed).

CCTV Public Space Surveillance Operator

NSL is the UK’s leading enforcement services company. Due to continued growth we are currently recruiting for a CCTV Public Space Surveillance Operator in Hackney.

The role will require you to monitor CCTV Operations and provide a professional, efficient and effective CCTV surveillance service. You will work as part of a team and be responsible for gathering intelligence and evidence to help reduce disorder objectives.

Key elements of the role:

To accurately and promptly observe, monitor and operate closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and related equipment, and, where necessary direct Police Officers, by radio, to real time incidents
To identify, report, and record anything suspicious, in line with agreed procedures
To operate the cameras and equipment effectively ensuring that best possible evidential quality images are recorded

To be able to make written reports or witness statements, attending court if required, as supporting evidence to CCTV images
To ensure that integrity and confidentiality of all information gained is secure at all times by strict compliance with the principles of both the Data Protection and Human Rights Acts
To operate surveillance equipment ethically and in accordance with training, policy and procedures, manufacturer’s instructions and relevant legislation
To ensure all equipment is functioning correctly, carry out equipment checks as required and report all faults to relevant personnel, carry out basic non technical system maintenance as required
To effectively liaise with stakeholders visiting the site and to maintain the integrity of the operational area at all times

You will be required to work 48 hours per week, including weekends and nights 6 days on, 2 days off shift pattern. Flexibility for the role is essential.

The ideal candidate:

Competent using a computer
Holds a ECDL certificate (desirable)
Able to operate two-way radio equipment
Exceptional written and oral skills
Ability to write simple reports
Familiarity with the relevant Data Protection Act, CCTV Codes of Practice and other relevant legislation Good knowledge of local area and restrictions
Must have full UK driving licenceMust have an SIA Public Space Surveillance Licence

In return for your time & hard work:


22 days annual leave plus bank holidays

Free uniform

Award scheme

Discount scheme

Training & development

Employee Consultative Committee to represent the voice of colleagues

Interested? Apply Now!



I live in a 1930’s housing estate in Hackney Central. My commute to the Barbican takes me approximately 30 – 40 minutes, depending on how long I need to wait for an Overground train to Liverpool Street Station. I never look up/learn the train departure times, as the longest wait will only be 10 minutes. I always take an identical route.

For the purposes of this observation exercise I will only be looking at this commuting route in one direction, from Hackney to The Barbican. This is for my own convenience, as the return route is essentially a mirror of this one. I am planning to split this trip into five legs, each of which will be approached in detail:


A 5-minute walk from my flat in Hackney Central to Hackney Downs Overground Station. The land is owned by Hackney Borough Council.


A 2-minute walk from the entrance of the National Rail/Overground Station to either Platform 1 or 3, depending on which train is arriving first. The return route brings me into either Platform 2 or 4. The station is run and managed by London Overground.


The train from Hackney Downs Overground Station to Liverpool Street Station can take between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on which train I take. Most of these trains are run by London Overground, but a minority are Abelio Greater Anglia trains.


I have a 3-4 minute walk to get from my platform at Liverpool Street Station to the exit at Eldon Street.


A 10-minute walk from my exit from Liverpool Street Station to The Barbican Centre, taking me across land owned by Broadgate, The City of London Corporation and CityPoint.


Initially I had expected to approach research into each leg in order, completing Hackney Outdoor before moving onto Hackney Downs Station etc. But it quickly became apparent to me that this approach meant I was only engaged for a small portion of each of my commutes. Instead what has emerged, not being able to switch off, is that I’m conducting field research into all of the legs whenever I travel the route. So the resulting research will probably be presented out-of-order, mostly dictated by ease of accessible information, before being collated back together and rationalised on completion of this project.


I have decided to maintain a record of my working hours on this research project, as a part of an approach towards labour demystification and transparency that I’m trying to develop through this work.

I will be structuring my working time on this project in reference to my Barbican invigilation hourly wage, and highlighting through this record any instances when these two nominally separate labours take place concurrently. I will share a new labour diary each month.

L A B O U R   D I A R Y

a-n Grant Value = £750.00

Barbican hourly wage = £10.53 (inc. holiday pay)

Therefore, target working hours on CAMERA CATALOGUE = 71 Hours, 13 Minutes and 8 Seconds

Labour highlighted in italics is labour carried while on shift, and therefore double-paid.

Labour highlighted with < is labour carried out while performing an unpaid labour commitment for the Barbican (commuting)


09/03/17 – Initial planning on paper – my flat – 13.00 – 14.00. TOTAL WORK: 1.00

10/03/17 – First informal Camera Count – on my commute – 12.08 – 12.41. TOTAL WORK: 0.33  <

10/03/17 – Note making – while on shift – 15.40 – 14.48. TOTAL WORK: 0.08

13/03/17 – Note making – while on shift – 17.01 – 17.07. TOTAL WORK: 0.06

15/03/17 – General research online – my flat – 16.38 – 17.28. TOTAL WORK: 0.50

16/03/17 – Writing up research and plans – my flat – 11.34 – 11.53. TOTAL WORK: 0.19

16/03/17 – Research Hackney Council’s camera models online – my flat – 16.33 – 17.59. TOTAL WORK: 1.26

17/03/17 – Writing up Hackney Council research – my flat – 12.51 – 13.43. TOTAL WORK: 0.52

20/03/17 – Researching Overground online – my flat – 10.28 – 10.59. TOTAL WORK: 0.31

20/03/17 – Reading article ‘The commuters who enjoy being creative with their time’ – train – 12.19 – 12.28. TOTAL WORK: 0.09 <

21/03/17 – Researching CCTV camera models online – my flat – 14.11 – 14.29. TOTAL WORK: 0.18

21/03/17 – Observing CCTV locations in Hackney Downs Station – commute – 16.01 – 16.04. TOTAL WORK: 0.03 <

22/03/17 – Researching CityPoint’s camera models online – my flat – 14.23 – 15.03. TOTAL WORK: 0.40

22/03/17 –  Observing CCTV locations in Hackney Downs Station – commute – 15.42 – 15.45. TOTAL WORK: 0.03 <

MARCH TOTAL WORK: 6 Hours 56 Minutes(9.74%)


I’ve realised it would be useful for me to clarify at the beginning of this project that this work is not intended as an anti-CCTV gesture. While I have a generally skeptical attitude to an overabundance of surveillance and security architectures, I am well aware that CCTV can and does perform an important role in contributing to a feeling of safety when one is alone and/or in a vulnerable position.

Rather this research in an exercise in seeing things more clearly. The commuting route I am focusing on is a route I travel along well over 100 times a year. Each of these times, I am documented by all the cameras on this route, for Hackney Council, TfL, The Barbican and a number of private businesses. While I am broadly aware that this takes place, at this stage I have no idea of the specifics; how many cameras, who owns them, who is looking.

For my own interest, I would like to know the answers to these specifics. But wider, I think it is good practice to try to be more aware of ones’ surroundings, to get to know better the networks of power that one negotiates each day. I’m just trying to look back.