Editor’s note: Nancy Cox is the founder of Research Story Consulting and former CPG corporate researcher. Her work and play include words, sketchpads, cooking (not baking) and the occasional sock puppet.

Passions, hobbies, healthy distractions and even guilty pleasures – discover how the research community plays and how that plays out in their work life. In the Venn diagram of work and play, what happens when work and play overlap? Research colleagues share their work and play stories in this interview series by Nancy Cox. 

The play in my life has evolved but has always been related to art – painting when I was young, theatre groups in school. When I was in an area without theatre groups, my interest drifted to photography and videography. Lens-based art. I became the family photographer for gatherings and holidays. Then I wrote my ethno-anthropologist bachelor’s thesis on a performance artist in Madrid where I was studying at the time. My thesis included visual art and deepened my understanding of the connection between art and anthropology. As I worked on a practical-based master’s degree in applied cultural analysis, I kept cultivating photography as a hobby. 

After graduation, I did an anthropological project titled “Human Refugees,” on the 2015-2016 refugee wave in Denmark. Instead of doing only interviews, I structured the interviews around the visual story of an object. That was important to the refugees. Objects that the refugees brought with them such as a cloth item that they wore during the journey, or something that reminded them of home, such as a perfume. The resulting highly visual artifact became a representation or encapsulation of their refugee journey. For each person, I included the story and photo of the object, a map, a photo portrait. The result was an exhibition I co-curated for The Danish Immigration Museum then ended up traveling then went into public space – a metro (mass ...