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At the beginning of yesterday I was wondering what the protocol that Val was bringing to the studio actually was. As I thought it was the plan: a systematic preparation and way of working to ensure that everything that needs to be recorded is. Detailing timings, how often measurements might be taken or questions about pain and discomfort asked. It combines the subjective (verbal protocol analysis – a description of what the user is doing in their own words) and objective (measurements of angles, temperature, noise).

We tested the protocol: I sat re-enacting Finger Collars and Val observed, took photographs, notes and asked questions. Actions were named: picking up, cutting, threading, knotting – each of which has a different posture and a different risk. Areas of the body were observed: neck, shoulders / wrists / fingers (mainly right side), upper back and upper arm in the later stages of the artwork as the movements become more unusual. The lower back didn’t really move throughout. Val thought nothing seemed to be excessive, and it doesn’t feel excessive as it’s not a task I would be repeating all day or even each week. Very different from some of the tasks that Val has studied in the past, where repetition has been a key feature found in jobs such as intensive data processing.

It was very difficult to measure angles during the task, the baseline finger goniometer we had ordered was heavy and hard to use. The finger collars also got in the way. Taking measurements from the video footage is a possibility and also staging some postures, removing the finger collars so accurate measurements can be taken. That said, Val’s experience is such that she can estimate angles of flexion and extension, radial deviation and ulnar deviation. Val took lots of notes over the course of the day, and together we worked on a large mind map / ideas map to record the things we were talking about. Val will be reviewing and amending the protocol ready for January when we will next meet up.

Our wider conversation over the course of the day was interesting and wide ranging: sharing information about particular artist’s work, ergonomic studies, other professions and job titles which we could investigate and connect to our study. Next week I have time in the studio to start developing some initial visuals, and to investigate some new processes.