Use of time as a measure of occupation

I have just returned from a presentation by a prominent Exercise physiology researcher, who heads up a research concentration at UniSA. He talked a lot about ‘use of time’ as a measure of activity and implied it might be a useful indirect measure of health. I attended an Occupational Science symposium at Charles Sturt Uni a few years ago and use of time and time itself was talked about extensively at that symposium, so I know it has a history amongst occupational scientists, but it is not without its problems. Dr Mandy Stanley just reminded me that a time-diary doesn’t usually measure the complexity of how we use time, and that often we are doing multiple ‘enfolded’ occupations and run into the quandary of how to represent that on a traditional time diary where one must give one activity for each time period. However, this presentation today piqued my interest because the researcher talked about time use in interesting ways, referring to an economy of time and was using some economic models for describing the processes one uses to decide to spend time doing one thing instead of another, particularly in terms of change to so-called healthy activities. He called it ‘cross-elasticity of demand’ which sounded very impressive. Introducing economic theory is interesting and my mind went immediately to the book “Freakonomics” which was published a few years ago and the authors’ radical and interesting use of economic research to answer fundamental questions, like how to parent children or how to deal with crime. The UniSA researcher introduced a project which was looking at a market approach to time allocation, as well as what he called ‘ripples’ in our allocation of time. He described fitting a new activity into our already crowded life and how it has a ripple effect of tending to change our behaviour so we do a range of other activities which are not obviously related. The example he gave was of starting an exercise regime which had the impact of changing eating and sleeping behaviours amongst others. I liked the application of research from economics to what is essentially research on occupation. 

Hugh Stewart


CSOS Conference May 2012 – Call for Papers


The call for abstracts for our 2012 CSOS Conference in Edmonton, Alberta is out. The overarching theme of the conference is ‘Fostering Interdisciplinarity and Interprofessional Excellence in Occupation.’

If you have any questions email Mike Ravenek (CSOS Executive Director) directly at

Occupational Therapists Owning Occupation: international conference 8th/9th September

Dear All,
I am delighted to be able to send you information about this important conference, now that the programme of international speakers is confirmed. The full programme is available at Please forward to anyone you think may be interested. Hope to see you there!
Best Wishes, Anne Roberts.

Spotlight on Occupation Newsletter

The new newsletter “Spotlight on Occupation” has been posted by the Department of Occupational Science and Therapy from AUT University.  Go to the AUT webiste to have a look.

Project V.O.I.C.E

from their website…

“Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression) is a national movement that celebrates and inspires youth self-expression through Spoken Word Poetry.  Conceived in 2004, Project V.O.I.C.E. encourages young people to engage with the world around them and use Spoken Word Poetry as an instrument through which they can explore and better understand their culture, their society, and ultimately themselves.  Project V.O.I.C.E. brings together performance, writing, and a supportive environment to inspire youth to recognize that their views are significant, valid, and necessary.”

I came across this website after watching a TED talk video by Sarah Kay.  From Sarah’s bio I found the Project V.O.I.C.E website.  To me, this project shines yet another light on the power of occupation and its ability to postively impact on health, wellbeing, and life satisfaction.

ABC Open and other interesting projects

ABC Open have been doing some great projects recently.  The Portrait Of A Stranger project is “A photography project that challenges you to talk to strangers and to capture each subject in a portrait and short written story.”

It could be interesting to take some ideas from projects like this and expand the narrative to include the everyday occupations of the individuals involved.  The possibilities are endless.

Another person doing some really interesting projects is Jonathon Harris.  I commented on one of his projects in a previous ASOS newsletter.  If you aren’t familiar with his work check out his website

We Feel Fine Project


ASOS is keeping up with current social networking trends.

This Blog is designed to facilitate interaction between and engagement with ASOS members as well as with others interested in the study of occupation.

As an informal facility, the Blog will provide opportunity for members and others to post brief comments, questions and relevant information.

ASOS anticipates the Blog will provide many benefits: fast and efficient sharing of information; effective dissemination of the latest news and updates from around the world; convenient access to items of interest.

As an ASOS Blogger, you can choose when and how frequently you are notified of postings.

Although the Blog will be replacing the ASOS newsletter, similar information will be provided, for example: book and movie reviews, conference details, member profiles.  However, now members can be much more active in choosing what they want to read and share.

Over to you Bloggers!!

Alison Wicks – President