Fieldnote Feb 13 2024 - 7:57am

Vignette #11

I take the train from my apartment in the inner city north, towards the University campus for natural sciences. The campus has its own metro station from which I walk approximately 10 minutes to the lab. On my first day, finding the lab itself proved to be rather difficult. The institute’s building to which the lab belongs sits hidden and attached to a much bigger building, mostly inhabited by teaching staff and students going to their classes or the cafeteria that I located in the building as well. However, I cannot access the building where my lab is located through the big building to which it is somewhat attached. Instead, I have to step outside again and walk all the way around it. The maze-like structure of both of the buildings, but also of inside the buildings and the campus as a whole seems emblematic for the university.  I vividly remember the same feeling I had when I started my studies on a different campus from this very university several years ago.

Apart from the affection the campus offers me, university life here seems to be slightly different from what I am used to. The lab I temporally visit is only designated for employers of the university, which also excludes students. But even though only employers should be able to enter the building, practically everyone could do it, as – during my first two weeks – none of the doors in the building, but also more specifically none of the doors in and to the lab are locked. Until this point, my employees’ key card has proven to be absolutely useless. Furthermore, none of the scientists who work in the lab I visit have teaching obligations, which means that the mostly stay in the lab and only sometimes migrate to the medical campus in the south of the city, where half of the lab is located.

I wander around the campus trying to find a café, where I can sit down, have a cup of coffee and reflect on the morning. After losing my way twice, I finally find the small café Gabriel told me about on the ground floor of the main lecture hall of the campus. However, it is smaller than I imagined it, squeezed into a corner of the remaining space and not offering a feeling of hospitality, but rather that of a hospital cafeteria. Apart from me, there are only two older men eating lunch. On one of the walls, I notice a sign that says “Please be aware of other people’s needs: Don’t wear a lab coat in the café due to odor nuisance”. This, again, is a reminder that albeit I work for the same institution, things on this campus go a little different.


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Contributed date

February 13, 2024 - 7:57am


Fieldnote by Vione Hartmann

Group Audience

Cite as

Anonymous, "Fieldnote Feb 13 2024 - 7:57am", contributed by Viona Hartmann, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 13 February 2024, accessed 22 July 2024.