Welcome to my Workspace - Duncan Fielden, Director of Undergraduate Studies (Music)

As experimenting and creating music from home becomes the new norm, our ‘Welcome to my Workspace’ feature reflects the change in the working environments of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s staff. This week we talk to Director of Undergraduate Studies (Music), Duncan Fielden...

Duncan Fielden

Duncan works in the tranquillity of his beautiful back garden in Harborne, while partner Jan potters and the family of long-tailed tits enjoy the food on offer.

My home workspace is... my back garden in Harborne. During this lovely weather, I work there as much as possible — whenever it’s not actually raining. In fact, I’ve installed a ‘mesh’ network, so that my online access is just as strong outside as in the house.

My favourite thing about my workspace is... the delightful family of seven long-tailed tits that come daily and dine on the fat balls and nuts hanging only a few feet away from my head. My least favourite thing is that lockdown seems to have initiated a surfeit of DIY and house extensions, so the plentiful fresh air is often tempered with the sound of drills and circular saws. I sometimes have to retreat inside for MS Teams meetings.

My workspace companions are... my partner Jan, who potters continuously in the garden now he’s retired, and our two gorgeous rescue cats, Georgie and Lulu, who are siblings and coming up to their third birthday. Fortunately, the long-tailed tits seem always to have one of their number on lookout duty and we’ve not had any unpleasantness so far.

While working, I like to listen to... silence. You’ll not be surprised to hear – given my job – that music is my passion. We probably have close to 10,000 CDs split between my office at work and home — and for the last several years I’ve not bought any new ones since streaming came of age. But the weird thing is that I can’t listen to music whilst I’m properly working — it’s very hard for me to have something on in the background, as never mind what it is, it will always demand attention.

Since working from home, I’ve discovered...
that past series of Masterchef are available on Netflix. That’s sorted the evening’s viewing for some little while now.