Stories of Life and Work: Student Projects

In the course of the Master Project Stories of Life and Work students explored work ethics and diverse economies in and around Vienna and beyond by employing fiction as a method for research and vehicle for representation. The short movies that evolved from this research as well as the presentations and discussions of the projects can be accessed via the links below.

Untold Stories of Essential Workers of Public Life

Sebastian Damek​, ​Joel Herrnstadt​, ​Yana Tsarynnyk, ​Carla Weichselbaumer

This project came to be at the height of the measures against COVID-19 in 2020, when the streets were eerily empty, which led us to think about the people who were normally shaping their vitality. Most of the literature on public space focuses on the residents living close by or the people using the space for leisure, but not the people working in our public spaces. Since those employees spend a significant amount of time in these spaces, they can give valuable insight into the going ons, the functions and also dysfunctions of the space.

The ​direct ​production of the streetspace is shared between the city planners and the private owners of buildings and shops on the ground floor. The ​indirect ​production is created by the people who ​spend their time in place ​most often. Through the lens of the theory of the core economy, those are not the owners, not the city planners, but the ​essential workers of public space​: waiters, supermarkt employees, garbage collectors, etc.

In this research the question: “How do essential workers perceive the public space in their respective work locations”, was explored with the help of a qualitative interview, questionnaires and observations. The results were analysed and presented as “untold stories of essential workers of public life” in the form of a film and a short story. The imprints of reality were captured and collected. Hence the data was rethought in a way that does not coincide with the actual reality, but shapes it in accordance to the posed question. Four main topics were identified: THE NOISE, THE GAP, THE CYCLE and THE RULES.



Short Movie – Untold Stories of Essential Workers of Public Life

Online Presentation

Online Discussion


Home Office and Social Isolation

Nadine Bou Kheir, Federica Gattabuia, Tetyana Vorokhayeva

During the COVID-19 pandemic, living at “Home” has been transformed into a mental labyrinth that was previously, almost entirely, consumed by living in a city. Currently, the city can only be observed as a still-frame from our window. Moving on a daily-basis and alternating between school, the office, social events, public spaces, and our home has shaped for the longest time our understanding of daily life. The pandemic and its resulting advice, namely stay home if possible, avoid any form of interaction with people that don’t belong to your household, and refrain from any kind of close contacts, has rendered daily life, in all its different components a new experience that has shifted the pre-established balance.

Some people are alone, some with partners or families, some with pets. Some are working from home, some are not working at all. Some have made peace with the situation, some are grappling with anxiety. Some of us have learned that we do not need to be physically in a room with somebody to have a relationship or share a moment with them. Others have felt strongly alienated and had difficulty adapting to the new rules. Even within the same household, every individual had a different reaction and experience of being held at home. Many factors shaped each outtake on social isolation, such as psychological, social, and economic factors.

Our research aims to analyze domesticity during confinement, starting from the notion of homes as a space of intimacy. However, homes during quarantine suddenly become the center of our world. How does social isolation affect different aspects of daily life and the way we live at home? This question is composed of three different scales, that are interrelated. The study tackles social isolation on the urban scale of a city, passing through the intermediate scale of a household, and reaching the body of each individual, reflecting on different facets of each component and highlighting the balance between public and private and the effect quarantine has had and could potentially have on them.



Online Discussion


Daily Food and Everyday Life

Gan Hong, Li Shuai, Yao Shiyu

Covid-19 swept to the whole world which seemed to be the tremendous shock to us since 2020 and changed a lot to our everyday life. The country has to close its national borders so that the international trade is strongly influenced and suspended, at the same time it brings cross-border labor vacancy especially on the fundamental industry like food industry and lead to the imbalance in the whole industry-chain. Not only to the system, the social behaviors and environment are also greatly influenced, as an answer to strict law of keeping social distance, the governments ask people to reduce their social life to the fundamental level, while people are more and more afraid of going out due to the worries of being affected. 

The ‘resilience’ is often interpreted as the ability to adapt to more challenging conditions, as an outcome of extraordinary events and such capacity of a system responds to change or disturbance without changing its basic state. Although The term”resilience” is used in the ecological sphere at the beginning, as the definition and characteristic widens, we are witnessing a rather impressive increase of the fields where it could be widely used and such shifting leads to a considerable contribute to other spheres.

Connecting with the pandemics and resilience and considering the food issues, the project is aimed to find out how resilience could be performed to the food issues during quarantine.



Short Movie – Daily Food and Everyday Life

Online Presentation

Online Discussion

Extra Material