RMIT Culture internships go digital

In 2020, RMIT Culture instigated digital work-integrated learning (WIL) placements, so students could continue to complete internships during the pandemic.

The Student Engagement Program provides opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate RMIT students. It has raised awareness of museums and galleries as effective vehicles for engagement with ideas and communities by providing graduation pathways for RMIT students who had been unable to secure internships and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placements due to COVID-19.  With some of RMIT’s WIL placements being affected by industry restrictions, the digital internships enabled students to apply knowledge and skills in a workplace context.

The enterprise-wide framework for virtually delivered internships devised by Engagement Manager Dr Evelyn Tsitas fostered collaboration and engagement with students from Arts Management, Communications, Design, Advertising and the Sound Design specialisation in the Digital Media Program.

Students were provided guidance and advice about best practice project management frameworks and principles; museum standard protocols for accessing and using collections; developing key media messages, writing media releases and news stories, market research, interview techniques and social media and web-publishing; enabling their successful attainment of project deliverables, learning outcomes and graduation.

The intern projects included two RMIT Gallery virtual exhibitions – Museum of Me (with Collections & Archives) and Skilled Hands, Shared Culture (with RMIT’s CAST Research Group, School of Art, and Vietnamese stakeholders VICAS, VietCraft and RMIT Vietnam); a Collections & Archives student survey, an RMIT Culture Learn teacher survey, an RMIT Culture social media marketing plan; Collections & Archives advertising campaigns; an RMIT Culture Quiz (running over nine weeks and featuring all areas in RMIT Culture), RMIT Art Collection art trail maps, an art trail video, and Collections video branding (Unpacked series) and sound.

In Semester One, Bachelor of Communications interns Sarah Shahaz and Kate Tranter worked on developing a digital Art Map of publicly accessible works in the RMIT Art Collection, and supporting communications for a timely RMIT Gallery collaborative online art exhibition The New AbNormal, featuring work by students and staff from the School of Art.

An international student from Malaysia, Sarah Shahaz said the virtual internship was an opportunity she had to grab.

“The ongoing public health concern has made the search for my internship placement a rollercoaster ride and by the time my application as an intern was approved by RMIT Culture, suddenly my life did not feel so bad after all.

“Not only does this internship program motivate me to being more alternatively in tune with the latest digital marketing strategies, but also made me realise that my academic background in publicity and media, innovative media and contemporary research could be put to use and further developed.”

Kate Tranter said that while the pandemic was an unusual time to complete an internship, it also made the placement unique and exciting, offering the opportunity “to work alongside people who are just as passionate and interested in the Arts as I am.”

This is what some of our interns had to say about their RMIT Culture internships:

Cristina Ulloa Sobarzo

RMIT Bachelor of Communications (Media) student, Cristina Ulloa Sobarzo was part of the collaborative enterprise-wide intern team that led the curation and organisation of RMIT Gallery’s Museum of Me online exhibition, bringing together 40 students from across the University to showcase their work alongside inspiring pieces from RMIT’s own Cultural Collections.

Amy Bartholomeusz

Amy Bartholomeusz, is an RMIT Master of Arts (Arts Management) student and part of RMIT Gallery’s creative intern team for the online student exhibition Museum of Me. She said that incorporating works into the exhibition from RMIT’s impressive Cultural Collections, and presenting them alongside students’ creative practice, celebrated resilience and the connection we have with each other throughout this pandemic.

Natasha Nicole

RMIT Culture Work Integrated Learning intern Natasha Nicole (Bachelor of Communications) conducted a University wide survey with 720 student respondents in 2020, profiling attitudes and awareness of RMIT’s Cultural Collections, and then developed a subsequent marketing plan.

Tierra Boudsingkhone D’sousa

For her internship at RMIT Culture, Tierra Boudsingkhone D’sousa developed Take Over Tuesdays and a series of Instagram stories and profiles for the RMIT Culture Instagram account to foster cross-promotion, allowing for a greater range of content and appealing to students interested in more than one resource, resulting in doubling new users in three months.

As well as growing our online audience, the Student Engagement Program has broadened our impact with students and our own understanding of student customer needs. We look forward to continuing our internship program across RMIT Culture, with Summer 2020 digital placements, and 2021 placements that will hopefully be both blended and digital, as circumstances permit.

Main image – left to right: interns Kate Tranter and Sarah Shahidah Binti Shahaz

Story by Evelyn Tsitas


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