The Mobile Office:

An autoenthnographic account


  • Emma Gieben-Gamal University of Edinburgh
  • Juliette MacDonald University of Edinburgh



Mobile office, Spatial design, Interior architecture


This paper examines the ways in which women use laptops to construct a flexible workspace in multiple environments. This phenomenon of the mobile office raises questions about the psychology of space with respect to domestic and public spaces, the role ‘things’ play in creating ‘place’, and the implications for interior design. An autoethnographic approach provides the stimulus for this analysis.


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Author Biographies

Emma Gieben-Gamal, University of Edinburgh

Emma Gieben-Gamal is a lecturer in Design History and Context within the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. Prior to this she worked as a Research Fellow in the History of Art Department at The Open University and lectured at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design. Emma also used to run my own research company providing research, curatorial and writing services for a range of clients across the cultural sector. She has published on a variety of topics, all bound together by her interest in identity and the social and cultural construction of space.

Juliette MacDonald, University of Edinburgh

Dr Juliette MacDonald is Deputy Head in the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art. As a historian and theorist, she enjoys taking the opportunity to consider an everyday object’s relationship with the world, and the socio-cultural implications which might arise from such scrutiny. She has published chapters and articles on 20th century and contemporary design and cultural identity, and contemporary craft and design practice and process.




How to Cite

Gieben-Gamal, Emma, and Juliette MacDonald. 2011. “The Mobile Office:: An Autoenthnographic Account”. Idea Journal 11 (1):90-101.



Design Research Paper