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Speaking for Ourselves

Working the night shift: Episode 3

Working the night shift: Episode 3

Julius-Cezar MacQuarie | N!GHTSPARKS

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Working the night shift: Episode 3

NightWorkPod (NWP) documents experiences while working the night shift. NWP is inspired by my research into the sociology of the invisible migrant night shift workers in London. I am Julius-Cezar MacQuarie, and I am an anthropologist. I took up research at night when I learnt that night shift workers were invisible in the scholarly literature (mostly focusing on night life), as well as from public debates. Seven years later, NWP was born.

NWP does not focus on night life in global cities, but it acknowledges that in such cities that never sleep revellers and party-goers enjoy night entertainment which is sustained and maintained night-by-night by those up and working – the nocturnal people. The workers who appear in the NWP are the folks who keep these cities awake, spinning at an incessant speed and consuming round-the-clock, night-in, day-out.

Why a Podcast on Working the Night Shift?

This podcast series seeks to bring out to the diurnal (daytime) and nocturnal listeners alike the inaudible voices of migrants working the night shift in cities, like London, Birmingham or Glasgow. The NWP brings to light the invisible lives of night shift workers and gives voice to those up and working at night. Who are these workers? Why do they do the night shift? How do they experience the city at night when working while the rest of the city enjoys the night life or sleep? What does it mean to their families and households inhabited by night workers? And when do night workers socialise with the rest of the (diurnal) society?

As this series of podcasts uncover the invisible lives of migrants, their precarious working conditions, the battles they fight every night to stay awake and alert while working, we aim to reach to the ear buds of all those curious on all things nightwork and night workers. We hope that you, our listeners and readers, will join the journeys of night workers appearing in these podcasts as we explore the reasons, motivations (individual), and factors (structural) behind the root causes of labour exploitation among migrant night workers.

Episode: 03

Time: 21’45”

Date: Nov 2018

Place: Interview recorded in Sofia, Bulgaria. Produced in London @nightsparkslab

Guest: Marion Roberts, Emeritus Professor in Urban Design, University of Westminster | UK

Synopsis: In this third and last episode of the series called “London the Glocturnal City, and its 'other workers' “our first guest, Marion Roberts, Emeritus Professor in Urban Design at the University of Westminster talks about her invested interest and research that she has carried out on various themes related to the night-time city since 2001. Currently she serves on the board of Data and Research sub-committee of the Greater London Authority, the sub-committee on London's night-time commission.

Roberts and colleagues (2018) have published a report on the scale and importance of London’s Evening and Night Time Economy that was commissioned by the Greater London Authority, April 2016. The authors’ (Roberts et al, 2018) report provides a snapshot of London’s evening and night-time economies. It scrutinises the regulatory policies of licensing and planning, investigates crime and anti-social behaviour and drills down into the economic contribution of night-time activities. 

These outputs helped inform and shape the Greater London Authority’s policy and vision of London as a 24-hour City - 24-hour London – and subsequent publication, From Good Night to Great Night: A Vision For London as a 24-hour City. For full text click: http://bit.ly/LENTE_report2018

Click here to listen to the full podcast episode 

To see a photo grid of some of the night workers, please click here

About the author and this collaboration with MV

Julius-Cezar MacQuarie is the creator of NightWorkPod and founder of N!GHTSPARKS. He graduated in 2018 with a PhD in Sociology and Social Anthropology from the Central European University. As Nightlaboratory collaborator and filmmaker, he co-directed “Invisible Lives” with Tim Marrinan (UK, 2013).  Watch the trailer of his next short film: The Sleepless Bat. To get in touch please tweet: @tweetsfromdrjc // Web Profile: www.nightsparks.london

Migrant Voice and N!GHTSPARKS collaboration began through conversations in a shared kitchen at Ladbroke Grove, West London, over six years ago. We discussed our interests and potential projects to collaborate on. Fast forward to 2018. An exciting opportunity to produce a podcast series arrived. Combined, our work rests upon Migrant’s Voice experience in providing platforms for migrants to speak out and the research rigour behind the doctoral study on bodily precariousness and cooperation among manual labourers in the New Spitalfields market, East London. Our plans for future collaboration are exciting and in-the-making. Stay tuned and watch it as our story unravels.