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.
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.
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.