Adastral is an ongoing collaboration between Noel Bowler and BT that explores the history of Adastral Park as a place of work and cultural significance for the East of England region and the telecoms industry. For the past two years, photographer Noel Bowler (University of Suffolk – Senior Photography Lecturer) has worked with Meral Bence (BT- Adastral Park Vision and Strategy manager) and the full backing of BT to access this famous site looking at the office spaces, the people, the histories and the innovations that occurred here.
We tend to remember the people that brought innovation to our workplace but over time we slowly erase the very spaces that allowed these innovations to flourish. Adastral is a visual record of these spaces, a celebration of British technological innovation and a workforce that has spanned over five decades. These workspaces, desks, labs and workshops of the thousands of ordinary women and men whose tireless efforts and years of service has contributed to today’s legacy of innovation.
In the ever-changing face of the work and the workforce, these spaces and locations are evolving, and in a post Covid world this has only been accelerated. Adastral is one small part of a much broader project that aims to create a permanent visual archive of these workspaces before they change forever. This archive will not only be a lasting legacy of our achievements but will represent a cross-section of how we worked throughout the late 20th Century.