I began my internship with Changing Relations in November 2020 as a student at Durham University via the Education Department. I had an artistic background from school and higher education, and as a general hobby.
Challenging gender norms was something I had been unwittingly doing most of my life, but it was a passion I had only become aware of in myself over the past few years. My knowledge and language were growing through listening to ‘The Guilty Feminist’ podcast, but I had yet to find a way to put my restlessness into action.
The internship was to be a student insight into engaging other students to get them involved with the project ‘Who Wears The Trousers?’ that would be working with Hild-Bede College at Durham University. I helped create content and draft social media posts, bouncing off ideas with Artistic Director Polly about how to effectively communicate with students. I also spent time researching the sustainability of arts and craft materials, local printing companies, gauging ‘best sustainability for money’, and compiling my findings into a document to send on. I would also come into the studio each week or so and work on the production line putting together the postal art packs that were Changing Relations’ answer to an exhibition during a pandemic. I was able to sit in on meetings for other parts of the project and gain insight into the workings of a small arts enterprise.
The pinnacle of the internship was working independently on producing a podcast (links to listen below) that would complement the Who Wears the Trousers? project. I contacted and interviewed academics and experts in the fields of men’s mental health, inclusion in leadership, and violence against women, including Polly and Lisa themselves. This really helped increase my awareness of the issues around patriarchy and gender norms that are more subtle in society, hence the title ‘The Hidden A_Gender’. And I also picked up some new interviewing, podcast technology and editing skills that are sure to come in handy in the future.
The podcast was a great opportunity to work completely independently and end the internship feeling proud of a contribution I had personally made to the project.
Changing Relations has been a fantastic opportunity to start making a difference. From my first meeting with Polly and Lisa we were musing how it seemed ‘meant to be’. It is definitely the most collaborative work place I have been a part of, where I was invited to express my opinion on ideas and decisions that I wouldn’t have expected to be part of as just a humble intern.
To any future interns, I would recommend saying yes to all opportunities to sit in on meetings, going into the studio in person (bringing a warm coat and scarf for the studio in winter) wherever possible and don’t hesitate to ask further questions.