All posts by Sam

The Last Post

Up until now I’d never experienced one but let me tell you: caffeine hangovers are a thing. With only three weeks left until graduation I’m surprised my play-hard, procrastinate-harder lifestyle hasn’t thrown me one sooner. But sure enough, several recommended daily doses later and here I am, staring out the windows of The Edge’s basement at an eerily dark afternoon. The darkness is not only a blessing on my flaky eyeballs but it’s also set the mood for my final day at The Edge.

Before I emailed Beck with my application for the intern role I had no idea this space existed. It wasn’t until my mother linked me the ad for the position that I started to see some of the excellence that I’ve now come to expect  daily from The Edge.  (Holy hell it’s starting to rain. Dry bed sheets are overrated anyway.) During my time as a communications intern at The Edge I’ve edited and updated staff profiles (and subsequently gotten to know great people); I’ve gotten to learn about awesome events such as the Zombie Apocalypse Series; and sit in on great programs such as Creative Community Computing. I’ve also drafted radio ads, social media posts and of course there’s the editing (we will never forget the editing).

Unknown-26

Sunnier times.

However, during my time as gleeful imbecile at The Edge I’ve had the chance to get touchy feely with a 4000 year old Babylonian tablet as well as getting up close and personal with a preserved polar bear. I’ve discovered that green ghost drops are a no-go and that clothes can be grown from tea. Yesterday I was looking over Michelle’s shoulder as she took samples of her own blood for use in a music video and today I got to sit in on a seminar on the future of libraries (far from as boring despite what you might think).

For those applying to intern at The Edge: to say it’s a rewarding experience is like saying the sun is hot. You can’t anticipate the kind of shenanigans that you might experience in a week at The Edge, possibly because the staff can’t either. It’s the nature of the organisation and I fear it may be the kind of internship experience that many hope to find but most do not. If you are lucky enough to get called for an interview read up on as many of the events and programs as possible. Even if you don’t get the position you’ll be a far more interesting and knowledgeable person for it.

Anyway, technically I’ve finished my role as intern and am now just loitering in the office. Security has been notified. So for my final slice of cheese: you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.

Nailed it.


Cheers to Beck and cake.

Greetings. I’ll keep this brief for once.

It’s my second last week here at The Edge and I feel like my time here has gone by incredibly fast. I cannot attest the same for Beck and Tegan whom, having received the brunt of my rambunctious (and more often than not cringe-worthy) behaviour, are probably ready to break open the champagne.

Speaking of champagne, today was the last day for Sally so it was only fitting that we had some bubbly and cupcakes for lunch. Sophie and I thought that it was possibly a cruel joke, building up our expectations of ‘the real world’. Where else does your supervisor caution you to stop working as it’s time for cake?

party image

Cake has been a good friend to me this week given that I’ve returned to editing the first three case studies that I wrote up. It’s not that I don’t like editing; it’s just that I resent it for forcing me to look back at my own work, which I can never really come around to liking. (I’m fairly certain I briefly touched on this in an earlier post.)

Beck has also been friendly throughout the editing process having substituted her red pen for a less soul-smushing blue Staedtler. She’s still trying to beat the commas out of me (they’re my last wall of defence); fortunately I think that as a result some of her masterful ways are rubbing off.

Once again one of my biggest challenges was cutting down several paragraphs into a matter of lines. Four lines to be precise. It started off being quite difficult but became easier as I grew better at identifying the most important information. And I have to admit that seeing a page full of equal length paragraphs was quite rewarding.

That’s it.


A good week: kick in the face to self-worth included.

It’s been a bit of a slow week — actually it’s gone by incredibly fast. So fast in fact that I’m struggling to recall what I’ve gotten up to in the last few days (I think the trip to the museum has caused some permanent damage). Nevertheless, I’ll try and flesh it out.

The majority of this week has been dedicated to putting together the content for the case studies on the Mad Scientist Tea Parties and The Edge’s Science Fair. The first of the two was the precursor to the ongoing Clever Convention series and started in the Bioscience programming period, and due to it’s positive reception was extended into Cosmology. Throughout these two periods there were six events and eight guest speakers, including a Dr Tamara Davis. Google that name if you want to give your feelings of self-worth a good kick to the face or maybe a stabbing — something violent and messy in any case. All you have to know is that she is possibly some kind of superhuman achiever and is actually an expert astrophysicist so she can locate her home planet of Krypton. I’m sorry if I come across as bitterly jealous (I am a little), but I’m definitely feeling more like ‘Let me paint you’. So, Dr Tamara Davis, if you’re reading this, how about it? Most of my work is underground, having been burnt in fires and since absorbed into the earth, but I’m currently experimenting with finger painting and Etcha-Sketch. Would love to hear from you…

IMG_7022

It’s a volcano…

Moving on…

The Science Fair was essentially the culminating event of the Bioscience programming period and was a day of workshops and fun, from making liquid nitrogen sorbet to the Science Fair classic — the model volcano! Other activities for the day included, bio powered racing boats, making organic fashion textiles from bacterial cellulose and DIY jewellery workshops using preserved botanic samples. There was an award ceremony for each of these activities and the evening was capped off with the final Mad Scientist Tea Party for the Bioscience period. The hardest part about writing the case studies was trying to summarise them into a Tweetable (?) blurb — I don’t think I’ve ever really had to express myself in 140 characters or less. I was still using more characters than that when I had a Nokia 3310 and the only other time that I’m forced to be concise is when I’m talking to my dog (Mum says he has dementia). All that being said, given that I’m interested in copywriting, the ability to write concisely is essential. So it’s good practice.

In other news this week, I was allowed to sit in on one of the Creative Community Computing (CCC) workshops held by Andrei, The Edge’s Outreach Catalyst. Essentially the program aims to address the digital divide, a problem that is growing between cultures regarding competency with technology. It was definitely an intimidating experience, being told that I had to put back together a computer. I never played Operation as a kid so I was at a natural disadvantage, besides that my hands were shaking and Andrei told me that if I touched a part of the CPU (which I felt 95% sure I would) it would break. But with the help of fellow intern, Sophie, we prevailed and managed to put it back together — and with two screws to spare! Yay, team!

All in all, a good week.

 


Behind the scenes: books and dead stuff

I apologise in advance for any incoherence throughout this post — today was a little bit crazy and at the time my brain matter felt like a packet of strawberry clouds, however now that I’m coming back down to dirty Earth it feels more like a box of used matches. But let me start from the top…

Today I tagged along on a photo shoot for the next two Clever Conventions which saw us visit both State Library and the Queensland Museum.

First up, Emily the photographer, Tegan and I took a trip up to the John Oxley Library Reading Room on the 4th floor of the State Library to take a few photos and get a sneak peak at some of their artist book collection. These art-books are fairly awesome and vary in size and age. There was one that took two people to manoeuvre and another that was 4000 years old. There was a Steam Punk E-reader and a book made from hundreds of fish. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to post here, but keep an eye on The Edge’s social media or better yet book yourself a ticket to the next Clever Convention (Curated Collections), which will be held in the John Oxley Library Reading Room on Tuesday, 8th October (book here).

After finishing up at the State Library we moved next door to the Queensland Museum where we got to go behind the scenes into some of their preservation rooms. It was unreal! It was probably around this point that my nasal passage begun filling up with my fizzing brain matter. While we waited for another group to finish up, we casually chatted to one of the staff there as she de-meated (for lack of a better term) a Bandicoot —  even their lab was enough to make me feel like I was on a primary school excursion. However the real awesomeness was in the next room, their catalogues of sorts, where the majority of their specimens were kept. In here we got to see all kinds of preserved animals and skeletons. Peacocks, armadillos, dry wretch-inducing rattle snakes and all other types of preserved creatures were inside. Cue childish wonder.

Albatross

This is Albert. He is my BFF.

Elephant Skull

An elephant and I having an ‘elluva time.

And finally, the Pièce de résistance — none of us were prepared for this. I think I let out something between joy and terror.

samandbear

…it’s too much to bear.

What do we think? An Attenborough in the making?

 


Zombies and Screaming Bananas

Yesterday was the official start of my second half of interning. Due to some university jibber-jabber regarding my course, I was required to alter the focus of my position for the second half of my stay, and as such, now have a bigger focus on writing content. As I said in last week’s post, I’ll be beginning with writing up some case studies for the future website, the first of which was The Zombie Apocalypse series.

Between 2011-12, The Edge held three different Zombie Amockalypses, with the prototype, Future Cities: Zombie Climate Apocalypse, stemming from the 2011 Fringes Ideas Festival. The focus of The Edge’s undead debut was equally divided between surviving zombies and the environmental conditions of a hypothetically greenhouse-gassed planet. From there the program evolved with the influence of the Gaming programming period, and for the final two ‘Outbreaks’ the focus was cast upon the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) perspective.  Workshops were delivered prior to the final instalment, showing participants how to zombify themselves (make-up) and get the most bang for bullet out of their NERF guns.

Zombie Climate Apocalypse

Somebody give this guy a hand!

One of my favourite parts about reading up on the program was stumbling across survey responses (a part of the application process to participate as a survivor/’player’), particularly for the question: As you are fleeing your house, you pause to gather three things. What are they? Answers varied from, ‘Clothes, Food and my copy of Kevin Costner’s Water World, limited collectors edition’, to ‘Whiskey, the horse and string cheese’. These photos are just a few of the hundreds taken, if you want to see more I’d suggest checking out the Future Cities: Zombie Climate Apocalypse Facebook page.

Zombie Apocalypse

Why are all the good ones always taken?

Amongst all the writing about zombies, I did manage to sneak in a go on Mick’s Banana Piano.

Unfortunately I can’t really offer any explanation as to how it works. But essentially Mick (Programming team) had hooked up a bunch of wires to separate sections of banana, and then plugged those wires into his computer. With each different section of banana that I prodded, a different animated banana would jump out of its skin (fair enough really) and give an Autotuned scream.  The closest I can surmise to how it actually operates is that the wires project the bananas’ sunglasses-wearing souls onto the computer screen and that’s why they scream when I touch them.

Banana Piano

Beans are no longer the only musical fruit.

Please let me know if you have any technologically informed alternative suggestions.

 


You can’t have your glass half-empty and eat it too

I’m not sure that the title is exactly what I’m looking for in terms of thematic foreshadowing — but my life is full of mixed metaphors, so tough.

I’m proud to announce that I’ve officially hit the halfway mark of my internship with The Edge. 80 hours of intense literary mastication, and I’m beginning to feel like my shiny intern gloss is slowly being scraped away and the soft, mushy parts where my self-esteem used to be are now non-specific clusters of minerals and trauma… I’m completely joking mostly, so far it’s been awesome fun and a really great experience — exactly like the brochure said!

Amongst other things, I’ve finally put the staff profiles behind me. The whole process was quite in-depth and the last points of editing included tone, length (I edited them all to fit in the same amount of lines) and general avoidance of repetition between profiles (particularly members within the same team). I’m glad to be moving on to something new and I’m probably 70% happy with what I handed to Beck, but I suppose that’s always the way with one’s own work. As I’ve said in previous posts, one of the best things I’ve taken from the experience so far is to know when to let go of something, and to also place less emotion into my general work (note the aforementioned transition of mushy parts to non-specific clusters).

Coming up next week I’ll be starting work on writing content for current programs as well as a select few of the previous projects that have gone on here at The Edge. I got to choose from a list and naturally my first pick was the Zombie Climate Apocalypse. I’ll also be writing about the Mad Scientist Tea Party (a great party theme in my opinion) and the Science Fair, so keep your eyes peeled — or for a less coarse approach, pulped — for a look at some of the great stuff from The Edge’s past. I’ll also try to include a couple of the best photos I come across during my digital trawling.

zombie 1

One of the many photos documenting The Edge’s Zombie Climate Apocalypse

I suppose what I was trying to woefully allude to with the title, is that if you don’t have a positive outlook, chances are you’re not going to enjoy your internship/whatever you’re doing. And usually to get to the super-cool-fun-stuff you have to trudge through the tough and tedious, and remaining positive through the latter can sometimes be a mission. So far, that hasn’t been the case in my experience and whether it has been because of the people, the content or the general work environment, even usually menial tasks (e.g. capitalising) at The Edge result in stumbling across something new and interesting.

Wish me luck for the second half of my stay! I’m looking forward to it, but with the finish line imminent I’m not sure whether my own emotional glass is half-full or half-empty. Stay tuned for more self-cognitive epiphanies.

At this monumental point in time, a piece of advice for future interns: always eat the cake. If you don’t it will go stale — or sour if it’s a cheesecake.

 


HTML: Hurting Tegan’s Mind for Laughs

Hello again. Mid-way through week three I finally got my State Library ID (sky-punch!). Instantly, my credibility, acceptability, and I daresay vanity, are through the roof (the lime-green background really contrasts nicely with my awesomeness. Some disagree — colour-blind fools!). No more negotiating access with the cleaners! No more awkward inaudible intercom interactions! The possibilities are endless. Alas, I’m still yet to acquire printing privileges. (Slowly but surely I will build their trust…).

Interns at The Edge

Speaking of privileges, this week I was also instated as an editor for The Edge’s WordPress, as my workload this week included editing, editing, proof-reading and editing. This made for some interesting results.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with WordPress (those such as myself), when creating a new post you can either view it under a ‘visual’ or a ‘text’ tab. The former shows it as it will appear — usually — and things like bold or italicised text and images will be shown. However the latter shows everything thing in text — what I’ve been told is HTML.

To provide further context, and to elaborate on the ‘tasks’ I mentioned early, I’ve spent this week solely editing the blogs of the Residents and Catalysts here at The Edge. With the 39-page State Library style guide in hand, I set out on a crusade of correction, ‘em’ dashing instead of ‘en’ dashing and capitalising the ‘t’ in The Edge.

But back to my experience with HyperText Markup Language (or possibly more apt: Hurting Tegan’s Mind for Laughs), which has proven thus far to be a worthy adversary. So worthy in fact, that it’s given me a comprehensive ass-whoopin. The last time I had anything to do with HTML was in high school, when I wanted to make my Myspace page cool. (I have a sneaking suspicion that my incompetency with HTML directly correlated with my lack of friends. Then again, maybe not.) So naturally I managed to mutilate almost every blog I touched on one level or another — there were mysterious spaces after links, text rendering had a mind of its own, and paragraph and line spacing were non-existent. Thankfully, Tegan managed to solve it and re-introduced me to my first bit of HTML, with what is known as a ‘paragraph tag’ [pærəˌgrɑːf – tặ/g/].

Aside from generally sabotaging them, the blogs gave me an awesome insight into the kinds of projects that are going on behind the ‘behind the scenes’ at The Edge.

Anyway, I’m off to whisper sweet-nothings to my State Library pass — and then to laminate it so I can wear it in the shower…


Seeing Red

Copy editing

This week I got to sit in on my very first staff meeting at The Edge – I feel more professional already! The meeting was relocated upstairs because Tegan and Beck gave an official presentation of the new plans for the website. It was awesome to be involved in the planning of such a big project and to be given the chance to contribute. I’d delve into further detail but I’m afraid it’s all rather top secret. Needless to say, exciting things will be coming up in the near future.

With week one down, I started off the second feeling like I was starting to get into the swing of things; certainly with all of the official introductions sorted it was time for me to translate some lovely chats into something that looked like a Staff Profile. By Thursday I’d knocked off a large chunk of the profiles and had a consultation with Beck, the Communications Manager (and also my supervisor). Initially apprehensive, I came out relatively unscathed and could still see plenty of white amongst the red on the page.

Jokes aside, it was quite a helpful process and Beck was full of constructive criticism. It’s definitely made me more relaxed about seeking help or advice on my writing, and to be less emotionally invested in my day-to-day work.

In other news, I’ve written a draft for my very first radio ad! The ad will run on 4ZZZ and is advertising two of the Clever Conventions from the Spring Series. Although it’s still a while off, the suspense is killing me. If you can’t wait until then to hear about the upcoming Clever Conventions, have a look in our Programs section on the website.


INTERNal Dialogue: Thinking with words

Today marks the end of my first week as an intern with The Edge (I’ve been told my official title is negotiable, though business cards will not be provided. Check this space later for any further development.)

The first thing I noticed about The Edge was how fantastic the space is; nestled between State Library and the Queensland Art Gallery, you’d not be blamed for missing it. Although I’d moseyed along the boardwalk, right past the office windows countless times, I’d never had the foggiest as to what lay beyond the glass. Inside on the first level are are a bunch of wondrous spaces, filled with couches, beanbags and projector screens that appear out of the ceiling! Combine this with an awesome view of the city and you’ve got a recipe for collaboration and inspiration (or maybe just distraction). But the coolest area, I think, is the basement, where the offices and other dark and mysterious corners can be found.

At one end of the basement is Lab 4, where, amongst other things, you can find a batch of Kombucha Tea (see photo), which the team have used to manufacture a unique fashion line (I’m still trying to get my head around it). At the other end you can find a Nerf Gun surplus, left overs from the last Zombie Climate Apocalypse that the building suffered (I tried to hide my devastation when hearing it was unlikely there would be another during my time here. I may have failed). The Edge is full of the weird and wonderful and has me anxious to start next week.

kombucha tea sustainable clothing

More wonderful and slightly less weird, are the inhabitants of the basement: the staff. The first task I’ve been given is to begin re-drafting staff profiles for the new website. This meant I first needed to spend some time getting to know everyone. Although I could give you a spiel about the particularities of each of the staff I’ve spoken with thus far, it’s suffice to say that they’re about as clever and diverse a bunch of people as you’re likely to find in any basement. Aside from an excellent opportunity to introduce myself and get to know the team, my first task gives me an opportunity to use some of my skills (no one has challenged me to a staring competition yet) in a professional context. It’s very rewarding to be able to begin making connections between your university education and how you might be able to apply it in the real world (thank you QUT).

It’s Friday and 5pm is quickly approaching so you’ll have to wait to hear more about this creative-wonder-factory. Otherwise I’d suggest coming down and having a look for yourself.

Intern out.