Where I Work – Duke Studios

Posted in Writing.

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My desk

I’m often asked where I work and what I do – probably because I have a slightly unconventional set-up that’s maybe a bit intriguing. I’ve spoken about my job – freelance copywriter, community manager and general digital type – here, but since I wrote that post things have changed, so I thought it was about time for an update.

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Coasters and mouse mats | Graphics in the co-working space | Desk area

I’m still a freelance copywriter, community manager and general digital type, but these days I enjoy much nicer surroundings than the desk in my spare bedroom. In February 2012, I moved into Duke Studios – a shared creative workspace in central Leeds. Back then it was still in development, but now its almost finished and its looking rather beautiful.

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Desk area cardboard stag | My desk with postcard print by Kris Atomic | Print in The Snug

Duke is a multi-purpose kinda place – there are cardboard studios housing small digital, design and creative agencies, there’s a co-working space where people sit on big picnic benches with laptops, and there’s the desk area – or Freelance Family Corner, as its affectionately known.

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Co-working area | Little gift made for me by Family Corner when I didn’t win a Cosmo Blog Award 😉 | Cardboard studios

I rent a desk space and sit in Family Corner with five (we were once six – miss you, Lauren!) amazing freelancers who’ve become close friends. It’s a more permanent set-up for the single freelancer who doesn’t need a whole office, just some space to spread out.

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Kitchen door | Flowers on the co-working benches | Vintage cameras in the kitchen

As well as our desks and a secure storage area, we have a lovely little kitchen with an AMAZING instant hot/cold water device, a private meeting room (the Not Bored Room) where we can take clients and access to a whole host of wonderful creative resources, like an almost-finished photography studio, workshop and laser cutter.

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Coloured thread in The Snug | Comfy sofa in The Snug | The Snug door

There’s even a cosy little room (aptly named ‘The Snug’) for private calls and Skype conversations.

Duke is a truly wonderful place – after almost a year of working from home, on my own, every day I was starting to consider a full-time job again, just to experience some human interaction. But then I joined Duke, and quickly slotted into a routine. When you work from home, your job and your spare time can become blurry – it’s really hard to escape the office when it happens to be at the end of your bed.

Going out to work and coming home every night is a great way to separate those two parts of life. And an office doesn’t always mean carpet tiles and water coolers – working in such a creative environment is hugely inspiring and I honestly think I work harder when I’m at my desk!

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Books in The Snug | Glimpse of Alan’s desk

So – this is where I spend my days, Monday-Friday from about 9.30am ’til 6pm. With a long lunch in The Wardrobe (which is just around the corner) on Friday afternoon. If you’re a freelancer and fancy joining our super-cool crew, check out Duke Studios here.


Kathy B

Your office space is absolutely bloody marvellous. I can imagine that working in this environment is super good for your creative health. (And your sanity; standard office spaces are very good at turning normal people bonkers.) It reminds me a bit of Fruit Towers, where Innocent Smoothie are based.

I love your desk and all of your little personal touches too! Xx



It sounds amazing – it must really help to keep you creative and inspired, being in such a nice space with great people!


This looks amazing. If I was closer I would hire an office space for sure. Working from home has its perks but you do have to be very disciplined with routines, health and social activities. Thanks for sharing with us. So glad it’s all going well xx

Panty Buns

Fascinating! How true it is that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s nice seeing what your workplace looks like, It’s quite different than anyplace I ever worked – obliviously [sic], since – I’ve never done any work even similar to what you do). It’s very interesting visually and in the physical and functional arrangements. Thank you for the look at your work world – one that I know so little about.



I definitely agree with you about finding it hard to switch off, that’s the main reason I refuse to have a computer or internet connection at home. I know that I wouldn’t ever stop doing work, checking emails, trying to get ahead.

Jet Shanahan

Oh, so jealous. I am a freelancer and I’m desperate for a beautiful co-working space like this. I’m in Norwich but there’s not really anything available here that’s this awesome. I find myself getting cabin fever working from home all the time. Although, I am currently working from my boyfriend’s office. It’s fun and there are people but it’s not inspiring.

Maybe I should start something like this in my home city…


This looks like such a wonderful, creative place to work. I’ve been doing independent study for the last three years and when I’m not teaching, I do feel the way you described. I love seeing this kind of thing going on “up North”; it reminds me how much creative talent we have. You have inspired me to look out for something similar. Also, your photographs are beautiful.

Jessica in your ear

This is amazing – I’ve been hoping you would post about your job because, now I am in my second year of university, I am looking for a career in editing and copywriting. Your job is my dream!
Although it’s a little nosy, I’d love to hear more about your career pre-freelance. For someone who hasn’t even finished their degree yet, it would be interesting to hear how you got to that point.
I can only hope to have an ‘office’ like yours one day – love the cardboard deer!


Sheridan and Rose

This looks like a great place to work, I’m a stay at home mum just starting a jewellery business and I go a bit stir crazy at home, a place like this with a communal workshop would be fab!
Thanks for the post Jen

Sophie x


Your workspace is absolutely gorgeous! I love the idea of creative spaces for freelancers and totally get why you would choose to utilise one to help balance that work/real life separation.
Must be lovely working in such a visually stimulating place like this, especially when surrounded by freelancers just like you 🙂
Brilliant post Jen, thanks for sharing! xoxo


Wow I love your work space Jen! I love seeing where people work and the office space is amaaazing and really inspiring! I love that you have a group of fellow freelancers that have now turned into your freelance family.


I’m a long time fan of Duke Studios, but I watch from afar unfortunately! One day I’d love a space there, but I’m not quite ready yet 😉

I definitely agree that working from home can blur the lines a bit too much!

Gorgeous photos 🙂

Sophie | onetenzeroseven.com/blog

Sarah @ Elettravelle

That’s such a great idea and it looks like a wonderful place to work. I’ve only been freelancing for six months and as much as I love what I do, it’s hard to deal with being alone all day every day.


What an awesome concept for freelancers, your workplace is so incredible I bet it triggers tons of inspiration! xo


What a brilliant space you work in, must be a pleasure to work there with other like minded peeps

nayar ali

This is just awesome! Im from Bradford and a freelance writer (slowly transitioning to copywriter) and working from home can get so boring!
I’ve been looking for a co-working space for some time now and thought it was a lost cause, I’m so grateful to you for showing me this as I was about to give up! And i was getting rather tired of using my local drab library!
Now i can work in a much more creative space, i might even bump into you some day hahaha.


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