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Bye from Alex the Intern

Alex looks down at the camera smiling, with a brown, flannel button-down shirt and short brown hair styled in a comb over. Alex stands in front of a yellow shopfront with graffiti on the shutters.

Hi. I’m Alex, the Marketing and Admin Intern for the Lewisham Live Festival 2021 at Lewisham Education Arts Network (LEAN). If you’ve seen anything on this blog or the Lewisham Live Festival’s social media profiles since March (including our new TikTok account!), it’s probably been published by me. Today is my last day as intern and I want to share my experience with you.

2021, like 2020, has been an exceptional year for everyone and the Lewisham Live Festival was no exception. Unlike last year, we knew it would be unusual from the outset. When I interviewed for this internship, I reflected on how to shout about the festival with our online audience, when everything was happening behind closed doors or virtually. It forced me to be imaginative, especially when some events had nothing we could share. Not a photo, a video, a quote.

Rapper Kenny Baraka holding his hand to his ear as if straining to hear, set against a teal background. HIs name and the word "Rap Challenge" are in bold black font with the Lewisham Live logo in the bottom right corner.

Without much content for our online audience to engage with, I created it myself. One of the projects I’m most proud of was the Kenny Baraka Rap Challenge. Kenny worked with Lewisham Music on some online events for the Lewisham Live Festival. As an offshoot, we asked Kenny to record a video of a rap he wrote especially for the challenge about the talented young creatives in Lewisham. Then we invited our online audience to respond with their own verses in a TikTok-style duet video. We didn’t get many responses, but it was such a valuable experience producing a project myself. From the inception, planning, designing and marketing to the launch.

Abbreviated name for the Lewisham Creative Youth Council, outline of the letters LCYC arranged in a square, underlined against a dark background

The new Lewisham Creative Youth Council (LCYC) was another project I helped produce with the festival coordinator, Nat. I designed the marketing materials, reached out to partners for recruitment, advertised for sign-ups and ran the sessions with Nat. I was thrilled to be involved because I have long been an advocate for youth voice in my past roles and it felt like Nat and I were on the same page with the ‘manifesto’ behind LCYC. I thought that recruiting participants for both LCYC and the Kenny Baraka Rap Challenge would be easy for an organisation with a big local presence. I was wrong! Still, it gives me hope that we got more attendees at each LCYC session. I would love to continue my involvement with it in the future. It’s my baby!

This internship has been the first job in which I am set open-ended tasks to do within defined working hours. As a guitar teacher, I had a strict hour-by-hour timetable to work within and as a freelance musician, I choose my own tasks and working hours. It’s been helpful practice to prioritise my workload and to know what ‘good enough’ is (I hope you agree Nat!). I’ve always worked in the Arts sector but during this internship I’ve gleaned an insight into how arts charities are run, get funding and how they engage with partners.

I’ll miss working with the team at LEAN, even though I have still not met any of them in person due to everyone working remotely! I appreciated the team’s unfailing support, their trust in me to work independently and how they clearly valued my contributions, even to projects beyond my remit. The experience gained in this internship played a big part in getting my new job as the Marketing and Communications Manager at Fun Palaces. My soon-to-be bosses don’t stop talking about what a glowing reference Nat gave me! Whilst I’m sad to leave, the Fun Palaces and LEAN offices are luckily both based at The Albany, so there’s no doubt I will regularly pop in for a chat.

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