Four months ago, when I started working as an intern at Proboscis, I wrote how pleasantly surprised and perplexed I was in finding myself in such a stimulating and challenging environment. My disorientation sprang from my own unfamiliarity with workplaces in general, having spent most of my adult life either at University or in the company of books, and from the inherent shifting quality peculiar to Proboscis. This crossdisciplinarity allowed me to try my hand at activities I could hardly have done anywhere else: projects I was more aware of and versed in, and a project I was less skilled at.
The outcome of my months spent here at Proboscis are a series of eBooks extrapolated from the visual essay I composed on Proboscis’ wall, loosely based on their work and enriched by my own series of allusions, suggestions and relations. First it developed as a concise mind map which outlined the fundamental design underpinning Proboscis’ long journey and then evolved in different and unexpected directions, feeding on my past knowledge, fortuitous connections and new sources of inspiration. It was elaborated following different paths and along the way I published several posts about themes I found fascinating and prominent. Unfortunately, the result of the other project I followed, Pic(k)ing out London, was less fortunate and successful in terms of stimulating participation but the reflections that were stirred proved to be neat and helpful for future research. Alongside I had the chance to grow more and more familiar and feel more comfortable with Bookleteer platform (absolutely brilliant!), Flickr and posting on blogs.
I want to deeply thank Giles and Alice and everyone at Proboscis for hosting me these months. I am confident and optimistic that my experience here will mature and take shape and, even retrospectively, will prove to be valuable and irreplaceable.
Last August I started planning and outlining the details of my personal project named Pic(k)ing out London. Alice and Giles helped me adjust and refine my initial blurred design, propelling questions and making objections in order to show me how intricate and elaborate planning even a simple project like this is. At first I was pretty enthusiastic about that as I thought I would have had the chance to test my ideas – how ever scattered and ephemeral they might have appeared – about urban interaction against the merciless reality. My aim was to select people from different backgrounds who have diametrically opposed points of view of London. That meant avoiding close friends or at least I meant to pick only a few and try to differentiate my recipients as much as possible. That again meant that I should run through different channels in order to recruit people who could possibly match my criteria and expectations. At first I sent emails to contacts I was provided by Giles and Alice and although the response was quite poor from the beginning I was at least pretty satisfied with the initial goal achieved: yes I had found six people willing to take part in the project (being six the minimum threshold we had set) and even if among those six there were some acquaintances or some friends of a friend they altogether formed a varied lot!
How ever promising it could be, it was not destined to last long. People disappear, they don’t get in touch or, when they do, they vainly assure me they will eventually do it. People then abandon the project along the way for various reasons and I should say I soon realized I was not in a favourable junction at all as all sort of unfortunate circumstances seemed to come together: computer crashes, camera breakdown, memory card not inserted and many other personal misfortunes.
In order to compensate for this ever weaker inflow of material Alice and Giles advised me to enlarge both the scales of time of the project and the spectrum of potential participants by adopting less-beaten methods to recruit and involve people. We cut the days people had to commit and proposed a 5-days, one-weekend or even a one-day involvement. Besides I tried to broaden my horizons by contacting associations and various community clubs, posting on different websites, boosting the group Facebook and Flickr pages, approaching strangers on the streets and handing out flyers. I should admit that I also went back to those very friends I had at first neglected and begged for help. However, as hard as I tried, it just did not work!
After the inevitable discouragement and frustration, I became aware that a reflection about the reasons why the outcome shattered my anticipation was absolutely indispensable and, all things considered, it was the only thing left to do. Giles and Alice were not of secondary importance in this process, as they always tried to make me understand that a marginal failure is unavoidable and predictable when doing projects that require the involvement of people. As long as you stick to your ‘sacred cows’, you have to be flexible and adapt your ideas to any change of circumstances which may occur.
As the project was initially designed, it was perhaps too demanding, too specific and not so straightforward as I thought it was if you consider working with people from a distance. This implies an autonomous effort from their part and if the tasks are a bit challenging they may easily get lost and lose interest in the project. Then it is mandatory to understand how people have their own concerns and duties to care. Therefore in a situation where the participants feel no obligation whatsoever, apart from being a mere act of helpfulness, and they see no reward in actually accomplishing the task, it is too tricky to trust in their complete commitment. Now I guess that having worked with a closed community would have made a great difference as people might have felt duty bound to carry out the research and might have found mutual help and support.
I have also reflected about my own attitude towards the whole project and in particular the strategies I adopted to convince people not just to say ‘yes, I’ll do it’ but to feel positive and intrigued by the principles and values of the whole plan. I therefore recognize in my own approach some flaws due not so much to a lack of faith in what theoretically underpins what I was doing, but mainly due to my own inexperience in translating some abstract concepts to a more varied audience. I feel that people outside the ‘field’ may find this sort of engagements quite silly or, at least, useless and unfruitful. So the puzzle, still unsolved, is: how to connect with people who may be, initially and on principle, suspicious and uninterested? How to make my aim and desire be understandable to a wider arena?
This enigma and my own unfamiliarity obviously made my conviction in the project be full of ups and downs and inevitably led to a poor and visible self-confidence. And that is not the ideal tack to prompt someone to complete a task! Moreover, the continuous alterations on strategies adopted, in order to make up for the scarce response, did nothing but weaken my ease. To be honest, one should take into consideration other factors to explain why it did not work as expected, such as the time of the year (it started in August when most people are on holiday) and a bare series of misfortunes which had diverted my initial idea. Anyway, I think it is essential to be critical and analytic towards both the context and one’s own faults. What I can say is that I would definitely like to put myself on the line again and test my unresolved issues if the occasion arises in the future and now I am confident that from this disastrous experience I may learn something precious. Most of all, I should learn not to take for granted what I used to and to ask myself those very questions that the project helped to bring to the surface.
Finally, I want to thank those who, despite snags, helped and supported me and those who did contribute to the project by sending me pictures and diary entries.
This is the new project I am undertaking as part of my internship with Proboscis.
‘Pic(k)ing out London’ wants to prompt reflection about the ongoing interaction with the urban environment and how this affects people’s feelings and shapes their daily life. By collecting some of these unique gazes on the city and some of its multiple expressions I intend to compose an emotional map which will tell the story of the many moods that daily mingle and overlap in London.
Because of its variegated population, its vastness, its contradictions, London is made of contrasting voices, dissimilar faces, peculiar places and each individual is an irreplaceable tassel which contributes to compose an outstanding mosaic.
Participants will be asked to take three pictures a day and to keep a short diary for ten days. The pictures should be about a place, a thing or a situation they encounter, anything that catches their attention, both familiar or unfamiliar, usual or unusual in their daily life, and about a place or a situation they respectively enjoy or dislike in the urban environment. The pictures do not need to be technically perfect because what I value most important is the act of taking the picture itself, of being a little more aware and awake to our own surroundings.
“London is over-lit, its streets are monitored by CCTV and the avian police, its inhabitants monitor themselves using webcams, digicams and mobile-phone cameras; yet the nocturnal city can never be wholly regulated. […] 3am is the dark heart of the city, when the carefully repressed anxieties, aspirations and dreams of its emotionally parched inhabitants can no longer be contained”. (Night Haunts: A Journey Through the London Night, Sukhdev Sandhu).
The streets carry a note of elusive, disturbing, electrifying mystery that is not concealed by its supposed complete regulation. The layers underneath, piling up little by little, create a dense bundle of voices and meanings to be heard and interpreted. The street is a site to enjoy and play, a site to survey and describe, to contest, claim and reinscribe. The street stands for the fortuitous and the transient, for wandering, mobility, arrival and departure, a proper metaphor for the travelling poetics of the postmodern migrant condition.
Mapping is not only about exploring and depicting a portion of territory but it can also entail travelling into, investigating and representing some unfamiliar trails inside people’s mind: setting the boundaries and drawing the many trajectories collective consciousness can cover. “The human landscape can be read as a landscape of exclusion”, starts David Sibley in Geographies of Exclusion, and the same organization and orchestration of space follows the construction and position of the self related to the category of the other and the wider context of society. If we look at our surroundings as the phenomenal embodiment of our shared imagination, then we will decipher not only the imprint of power in its many forms but also the scattered marks left by individual imageries. Alternative, subaltern stories, all those visions that are thought not to fit in, because they belong to the other side of the fence, where all that is not pure enough, according to a set of ready-made prerequisites, is dropped off.
“Space is a part of an ever-shifting social geometry of power and signification”, this is an inspiring quotation drawn from Doreen Massey’s Space, Place and Gender and immediately it puts light on two major ideas underpinning the understanding of space: its non-neutral and non semantically univocal essence, and its intrinsic conflict. Space harbours a wide spectrum of semantic nuances and potential political definitions and thus produces continual challenges in terms of interpretation and agency. “The map is not the territory”, even if it is thought to be so, but an interpretation, a graphic and linguistic exposition of a portion of territory and how ever it strains to be scientifically irrefutable, the discursive component shines through mainly in the very moment such codes are disrupted. The elaboration of alternative maps make overt that “maps, like art, far from being a transparent opening to the world, are but a particular human way of looking at the world”. The idea of embracing alternative tube maps came to my mind because I was already familiar with Alex Roggero’s Underground to Everywhere map where he replaced the tube stations with the immigrants’ city according to the main ethnic minority living in a specific area. This travel book is in every aspect an homage to the author’s wanderings across the city and a sincere admiration to the vibrant, Babylonic and multicultural London. The author himself mentions several alternative tube maps which have been produced during the years. The tube map itself is not scientifically accurate but it was designed in such a way, so readable and clear, that has become hugely popular and iconic. Moreover, a recent visit to the Museum of London gave me the idea to insert in my visual essay some samples of hand-drawn maps which are displayed at the museum entrance in order to further underline the discursive, subjective aspect of the act of mapping. In partnership with Londonist, readers were encouraged to submit hand-drawn maps, focussing on their own experiences and connections with certain areas of London and obviously the aim was not to provide a factual representation of the city but to capture the different and variegated personal projections on the cityscape. The galleries themselves, which go through London’s history from when London was just a piece of desert land to the very present, are full of fascinating maps, each revealing a peculiar sphere of London according to the point of view and the intention of the composer. Booth’s poverty maps, based on his survey into life and labour in London from 1886 to 1903, assess varying levels of indigence and criminality in different districts across London, graphically accessible through a colour code, so for example, dark blue stands for ‘Very poor. Casual, chronic want’, while black stands for ‘Lowest class. Vicious, semi criminal.’ The textual level of the mapping process discloses diverse perspectives on the emotional and biased degree involved in any act of representation and this leads us to think that the entity represented, in this case the city of London or at least a portion of it, is to be found where more or less codified and official discourses and a multitude of singular experiences meet. Regarding this, it is very illuminating to address Proboscis’ Urban Tapestries project which, combining mobile and internet technologies with geographic information systems, looked at how people could actively map the environment around them and earnestly share this ever-evolving body of knowledge. This kind of collaborative mapping hints at another aspect implicit in the mapping process: its blatant lack of innocence suggests a potential political use, either as a tool of coercion and possession – unequivocal, for instance, is the case of Imperialism as Edward Said suggests – and as an instrument to reclaim and re-conquer one’s own right to the city and to build an alternative organic mutuality.
I see mapping as a central issue in Proboscis’ work not only because several projects have focussed on contemporary perceptions of the human, social and natural landscape around us – see for example the Liquid Geography ebooks series – as well as on fertile and rewarding ways to affect it, but their general conceptualization follows the mapping procedure. Proboscis’ approach simulates an unexpected plot, a thorough exploration, rich in ramifications, bends and junctions, sudden and unpredictable directions.
This is my third week here at Proboscis, still pleasantly stunned as I found myself catapulted in such a fertile and constructive milieu. My name is Elena and I come from Italy, and although I lived in London before, this new dimension I am going through here has an inspiring as well as touching nuance. A little more than two months ago I eventually got an European Phd in Comparative Literature and Culture from Università Roma Tre including a semester spent at the School of English and Humanities at Birkbeck College. My dissertation was about the representation of London in postcolonial and contemporary European Literature and my analysis basically started from the assumption that urban space is not an inactive and semantically univocal dimension, but a text marked by conflict and personal memories which requires different readings, interpretations and models of literary and political
agency. This in part explains how keen I am on Proboscis’ approach on certain issues such as geography and identity, the relationship between private and public spaces and public authoring. And then this Spring I was lucky enough to be awarded a 4 month internship grant under the EU Leonardo da Vinci scheme and, especially, lucky enough to have a positive response by Proboscis. So here I am, reading and taking notes – I feel quite at ease with this kind of task actually – about the astounding story of Proboscis, running through their brilliant projects, trying to compose a coherent idea in my mind of their peculiar work. Before coming here, peeking at their immense website, I was thrilled to find words and concepts, the harsh terminology of academia simplified and brightly expressed in concrete projects. The more I read and the more I observe the activity going on in the studio – something is still shifty for me to tell the truth – the more the ability to combine thoughts and facts, art and society, the beautiful and the functional strikes me. I am particularly interested in their work and reflection about people’s emotional geography and the individual potential of positively and confidently affecting the texture of urban space so that a more equal society could emerge. I tried to outline the fundamental design underpinning Proboscis’ long journey – according to me obviously – in a concise mind map (see picture below).. yes I know there is a childish tone in it, hopefully I will improve. In fact, one thing I am sure I would be invited to do during my time here is to explore other ways – creative, artistic, ‘technological’ – to translate intangible ideas and make them real and touchable (and hence more effective).
For the time being, this is just a kind of vague proposal from my part to read Proboscis’ work along a trajectory that departs from the individual, who belongs to a society which is always and inevitably locally specific and geographically defined, and comes full circle to the very place we inhabit. In between – what I think Proboscis’ aim is mainly about – the subject is warmly invited to expand his/her creative potential in order to develop personal agency, to challenge monolithic received notions of space and time and collectively exert a positive, autonomous influence on culture and society. This basic map is just the core of a so-called work in progress which will be spreading out unexpectedly and, hopefully, entertainingly as well, with multiple suggestions and influences – I’ll keep you posted about any progression!
Finally, I’d love to thank Giles and Alice for giving me the opportunity in the first place to live this challenging experience and I thank as well my fellow colleagues at Proboscis for the warm welcome. The atmosphere here is unique, calm and relaxing with an electrifying vein streaming underneath.
The wall of visual interpretations have expanded! Soon I will invade another side of the wall with my sketches.
In my previous post, I mentioned a major part of my work is creating visual interpretations as research for Public Goods, Proboscis’ new programme of projects exploring the intangible things we value most about the people, places and communities we live in. So far I’ve been creating sketches using images found online combined with my own knowledge. We decided that it would help to gather inspiration from the ‘real’ world in both drawings and photographs, to be surrounded by people and absorb the atmosphere of everyday life.
Usually shying away behind the PC, I agreed to take on the challenge and chose the Science Museum as my first destination. Upon entry there were many objects on display, from steam engines to planes to the evolution of technology. All these objects were traces of what used to be; evidence that reflected on the lifestyle of those that once lived. The objects were categorised in a time-line, indicating the different notable era’s in society such as mass production and the industrial revolution, it demonstrated the changes and evolution stages of specific objects and introduced new theories and materials that were readily available of that time and also the trends that influenced them. As I made my way through the different displays, I was overwhelmed by the thought that all these inventions were the stepping stone to today’s technology. If it wasn’t for these people, our world of convenience wouldn’t have advanced so much.
The next exhibition was the exploration of outer space, whilst looking at the different satellite and shuttle parts on display it hit me that curiosity is a big part of our human nature. Creating theories and exploring methods to prove them and making new discoveries. But it is science that makes it all happen, by making the intangible into tangible with the use of devices and tools; such as light or the ability to fly.
Going upstairs, leaving the historical part of science behind me, I came to the “Who am I?” exhibition. It delved into our biological make up with displays about how our brain is wired and exploration of dreams. The next few displays were about aspects that make us unique individuals such as our exposure to cultures and the environment we grew up in and how such aspects affect us psychologically. I really enjoyed my visit here, and appreciated objects which were the greatest inventions of their time. Although behind glass and never to be used again, just imagining the stories that accompanied it makes each object that more valuable.
During my time at the Science Museum I focused on photographing of objects so for the next outing, I headed to Westfield Shopping Center to create first hand observations of people in a public space.
From being used to sketching still life or just from imagination it was challenging to draw people that wouldn’t stay still! The aim for such an exercise is to capture the moment, through speed sketching; with enough detail to illustrate the subject’s form. As an artist who loves details, I struggled at first to sketch simplified drawings of people but because there was a chance that the person would suddenly move, I was forced to note down their action quickly.
I managed to spend some time just watching how people behaved, the gestures they made when with others and the body language they displayed. But one thing I noticed whilst in the center was; there was no concept of time – with no visible clock anywhere it made the experience feel so timeless and surreal with very little natural lighting. People would often check their mobiles or they too would stop and observe others from the upper levels of the center, whilst waiting for their companion. I’ll be doing more observational sketches later on but at places where people might not move around as often as they would in a shopping center!!
Neighbourhood radio is a project aimed at opening lines of communication amongst neighbours and form community connections by breaking down social distance and barriers.
New digital media and online culture is now widely accepted as the norm however it is still restricted by on age and price. Analogue radio use spans generations and affluence, making it the perfect medium to bridge these gaps. In this digital age, radio is fast becoming old media. Considering the changes that have happened to broadcasting over the recent years, such as digital and satellite communications, it’s important to look at the way we use older technologies and re-evaluate their purposes.
The every expanding digital presence has also heralded the way for new communication ideologies. Open source and hacktivist culture was born out of a global information gift economy, made possible through internet connection. This has given power to the people, creating a social need to make, repurpose and share technology.
This project seeks to repurpose current technologies to make them more socially relevant and to do so through an open source, easy to use model.
Radio is also a highly regulated system and to challenge this would deservingly called into question broadcast laws opening the way for new creative thinking and activity within the medium.
I undertook research into how Proboscis might create an online/off line ‘radio’ station as part of professional development commission. The commission was a way of me working with Proboscis in a professional manner to enable me to develop my individual artistic practice and freelance work as a recent graduate.
This project has helped me understand the depth of research required before undertaking artistic interaction design projects as a part of a functioning arts company. It has led me to develop my freelance work and helped me understand project management in the arts world. I have also been able to advance my understanding of technology, leading me to courses in programming to help me further my understanding of this subject area.
I hope to develop the project into a working prototype with the help of the Proboscis team and technology partners as I believe the project would be of great social benefit to community projects.
Download the Project Report PDF 3.3Mb
My background is interior architecture, and furniture design, which I’ve practiced in Beirut, Lebanon, before coming to London to do my MA in Design, Critical Practice at Goldsmiths in 2008. I am interested in design work that may function as a device which has impact on people’s lives within both the public and private space, in relation to social, cultural, and political concerns.
In my six months internship at Proboscis (supported in part via an LDA Innovation Placement grant), I had the opportunity to explore further ideas which were of importance to me, through working and assisting the Proboscis team in multidisciplinary art projects. One project I was took part in was Sutton Grapevine, where I was involved in the research and production. The project looked at issues like geography, identity, migration and sense of belonging through using story telling as a medium for creating social spaces, a theme which is of interest to me, and was the theme of my work. Cart-og-ra-phy, a research project based in the Palestinian Refugee camp of Shatila in Beirut. It was fascinating to note the differences between working with communities of two different cultures, that of Sutton-in-the-Isle, and Shatila Camp in Beirut, where issues like perception of privacy, ownership and space are completely different. Story telling however is a common art, and working on ways to record those and creating spaces with them is always very intriguing.
The other project I was part of was Sensory Threads, for which I worked on the identity design as well as designing and building the housing for the ‘Rumbler’, a piece used as a medium to experience in vibration, sound and image the journeys of four sensors in a space. It was quite a challenge for me, as I’ve never been involved in working on pieces for technology projects before, and the chance of interacting and working with people from Birkbeck College, University of Nottingham and Queen Mary was a great experience.
Being part of the Proboscis team was my first professional experience in London, I learned a lot, and acquired more confidence through taking part in discussions, idea generating and engaging in different processes to create a narrative. It was a great opportunity for me to work closely with such great people from different backgrounds, leading to an interesting take on projects, where the intervention intriguingly moves across art and design.
September – November 2009
Deadline 21 September 2009
This internship will be linked to a new commission Proboscis is undertaking that explores peoples’ perceptions and understandings of their community. It will result in a highly visual publication/bookwork.
The internship will involve working with Proboscis on the design of the publication and would suit someone who has an interest in new approaches to communications and design, understanding of design for print, creativity, and willingness to work within a team. You would be part of a small team based in Farringdon.
You can read reports from past interns and view other internship opportunities here.
3 months starting September 2009 part time 2 – 3 days per week.
This internship is paid (details on application).
Selection is made on the basis of interest and motivation in working for Proboscis, ability to contribute and commitment to gaining a meaningful work experience.
Proboscis positively encourages applications from all sections of the community.
Please email [interns (at) proboscis.org.uk], post, or fax the following. Please note that applications without the covering letter may not be considered. Interns may be undergraduate or graduate students, in part-time employment, unemployed or freelance.
* An up to date CV
* Brief covering letter explaining:
- your interest in this internship;
- what interests you about working for Proboscis;
- what you can bring to the internship and,
- what you hope to achieve from it.
* 2 References
Internship at Proboscis, July 2008 to March 2009
I am a visual communication designer. I graduated from The Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore in 2006. I am currently completing my masters in ‘Creative Practice for Narrative Environments’ at Central Saint Martins London.
As a part of my study at Central Saint Martins, I interned at Proboscis from July 2008 to March 2009. Working with Proboscis has enabled me to gain a global-local exposure and an insight into the art and design scenario in London.
- As a design student, I have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of multi-disciplinary projects and intend to pursue this approach to my work. Proboscis is an open space that employs such an approach and collaborates with a range of professionals outside the field of design.
- Working as part of an organization that deals with a range of projects from artistic performances to technological mapping, has opened up different avenues of thought, processes and understanding for me as a creative practitioner.
- Being a close knit and well established organization, Proboscis has enabled me to directly participate and gain first hand experience of their diverse work systems.
- Proboscis has enabled me to interact with other practitioners of design, allowing me to acquire knowledge of the art and design industry in London through the experience of others.
- At Proboscis I was given the opportunity to actively participate in workshops and client meetings (Perception Peterborough workshop and Being in Common) which has provided me with invaluable experience.
I was involved in the research and production which gave me the opportunity to work and interact with fellow professionals from the industry. I also gained first-hand experience in developing interesting and innovative research methodologies and documentation techniques. This provided me with the confidence to see a project through all its stages right from its inception to final production. I also gained experience in working with a wide range of mediums. For the Perception Peterborough project I worked with moving images and for the Being in Common project we constructed art pieces for installation in Gunpowder Park.
Although, my internship at Proboscis was significant in all respects, two aspects deserve specific mention.
Firstly, the artist versus designer debate. What is art and what is design? How are they related? What are the boundaries that define the two practices? Proboscis is an art organization and their work shifts between design- problem solving narratives to artistic explorations. As a design student over the years my process had slowly become devoid of artistic empathy. Being at Proboscis I have learned to incorporate ‘Art’ into my work again.
During summer 2008 I worked on Perception Peterborough, a project aimed at creating ‘impressions’ of what the city might evolve to become in the following 15-20 years. My approach here was driven by raising issues and providing possible design based solutions. Proboscis viewed the ‘impressions’ more ‘artistically’. They aimed at creating images and narratives that would inspire and evoke thought from the audience. This was an important realization for me, as I had been addressing the briefs from a solution driven perspective. Working with artists enabled me to work with more fluid and experimental concepts.
Proboscis has also given me an insight into London and its people. Through the course of many lunches and tea conversations, I have learnt about the English lifestyle, history, landmarks in London (some that I had walked past unknowingly!). I have had the opportunity to travel out of London, to Peterborough as well as Enfield (Gunpowder Park) and allowing me to learn about experiences and daily lives of people living outside the cosmopolitan city.
I am keen on developing my work in the arena of education in the future. Through my conversations with Giles who is a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths’ College Design Department, I have gained valuable knowledge in this regard.
My work with Proboscis has enabled me to observe how a studio functions at a systems level, which will be undoubtedly be useful in my career.
Finally, as a multi-disciplinary designer, I have always been interested in being part of spaces that allow participation through different processes. Proboscis allows for involvement and contribution to various aspects of a project which may not necessarily be related to one’s specialization. This allows for a larger learning spectrum in a variety of fields related and non-related to art and design.
I feel, from the above, that my internship and learning at Proboscis will be a valuable starting point for my future projects, goals, and growth as an artist and a designer, in the years to come.
MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments, Central Saint Martins, June, 2009
As part of our internships programme we are initiating a new series of commissions for recent graduates – of vocational courses as well as higher education. The commissions are designed to offer an exciting opportunity for emerging practitioners to work alongside the Proboscis team on a modest project of their own, but where it is not possible or practical for them to complete an internship in the studio. We anticipate offering four commissions a year, two of which will be open submission with one deadline per year (date tbc).
More details will be posted in the summer.
Internship Experience at Proboscis, January to June 2008
I heard about Proboscis while the research stage of an information design project at college. I was looking for interesting approaches into social and communication studies, and I noticed them as a group specially involved into different social areas and communities. At that point I didn’t get to understand much of what I was reading about their projects, but their singular way of working, variety of approaches and concepts made me really interested to know about that “small” group of people with lots of work done. At that stage, trying to classify Proboscis was hard to me and I assumed for most of the people who first get in touch with them. They work across disciplines, with high social involvement and lots of collaborative practice. They have a non-commercial look at design and communication and a tactile and playful way to look at either complex concepts or at everyday life. After being with them, working, collaborating, talking, drawing… Is still not easy to classify Proboscis, but I feel I understand them better, not only their work but also the way they have to look at the world surrounding. The environment in the studio is anything but tense or awkward, is an open space and a place for talking, discussing and listening new thoughts, connections or ideas.
During my time as an intern I used to work from two to four days a week, during a period of about four months. My main intention when I applied for it was to get a first contact with a studio in the city, to get confidence in my work while applying my skills and learn. Learn as much as I could from people who could talk and think about my general areas of interest. At Proboscis they were clear about their expectations and incoming projects in which I could get involved and that made the experience for fruitful.
My tasks there were from image making to lay-out, photo editing, illustrations or printing experiments.
I would encourage prospective interns to feel comfortable for developing work into the assigned projects and feel confident to present to the group, as they are really open and appreciate suggestions, ideas and experimentation. And it builds that unique atmosphere in the studio of a high collaborative way of working, where everyone and every project feed the others creating a whole range of interesting connections.
Some of the best outcomes from my internship time were the conversations with the team and the opportunity to experiment into personal interests in a non-stressful environment. I learn about ideas, meanings, connections, process or methodologies.
My experience with Proboscis is a journey that went from being a non enough confident student of graphic design to feel as someone taking part of a group in a interesting and rewarding environment, feeling able to understand and learn from daily work activities. Currently I work some times as freelancer with them involved in different projects, and it is a pleasure to keep that walk next to them.
Carmen Vela Maldonado, June 2009
Proboscis Internship Experience May-June 2008
I stumbled across the Proboscis website while searching for creative organisations that worked across disciplines and this is certainly something that sets Proboscis apart from other organisations. Other distinctive features are the close, small team they have within the work space whilst also putting collaboration with others, artists, researchers, academia and communities at the centre of their practice. These elements were some of the positive aspects of Proboscis and that remained distinctive throughout my Internship.
My internship involved working one or two days a week, lasting a period of a month or so. The experience was primarily engineered through my own desire to work with Proboscis in some capacity, whatever the nature of the work. On reflection this was perhaps a little misguided. In future I feel interns should be clear about the expectations of their work and interests and plan for a longer time with Proboscis than I had available to really feel the fruitions of the work.
I had an interest in Education as I was going to do a PGCE and thought that some time looking at creative technologies would enhance my understanding of education as situated beyond the classroom. In discussion with the team, my brief was to research into how we might develop some of the projects that had been completed in schools, such as Everyday Archaeology and Experiencing Democracy. I primarily looked at how Proboscis’s current work might link in with the ‘Personalisation’ agenda within education and proposed suggestions for developing the work. By the end of my short time with Proboscis I was able to produce a research document and for me personally, more importantly, an insight into the organisation and how creative organisations work. One thing I did not take the opportunity to do, which I urge all interns to do, is make time for conversations with the team and I think this is best achieved through applying to do intern work that is project and collaborative in nature, not individual research.
I did enjoy the freedom to co-construct my own brief with the team, and did feel supported however I do feel that if I had more time and was also involved in a more hands on project, rather than research I would have gained more from the experience. I would encourage prospective interns highlighting that Proboscis provide an alternative internship, a creative and reflective space and learning environment, where you are a genuine part of the team. This measure of flexibility and the engagement with cross-disciplinary practice provides interesting scope for further work in the arts, education and social policy.