In honour of GENDER.ED’s five year anniversary, we recently sat down with past undergraduate interns and PhD assistants to discuss their experiences at GENDER.ED, what gender and sexuality studies related work they are currently involved in, as well as to allow them the opportunity to give valuable advice to future interns and assistants.
In this post Lauren Galligan, a former undergraduate summer intern for GENDER.ED, shared her thoughts.
When did you work at GENDER.ED and what did you do here?
I worked as GENDER.ED’s Communications and Events Intern for the summer of 2022. The internship is through the university careers service and runs June-August every summer!
At GENDER.ED my main responsibilities were updating and managing the research directory, collating the monthly newsletter, writing and editing blog pieces that were uploaded every few days and to mark days and months such as Black History Month and International Women’s Day, managing the social media, designing banners and postcards, helping with the organisation of events including for the Book Festival, and assisting with workshops such as the Academic Writing for the Public Workshops. On the other side of my I was assisting IASH with the collation of the third Dangerous Women manuscript, managing the social media, recording and editing podcast material, managing data and helping with the research directory.
I worked in an office in IASH but had fortnightly catch-up meetings with Radhika so that I could stay on track with tasks and relay updates, so it was a mix of remote working and interacting with people in person. My friend actually interned on campus as well with the college of arts and humanities and brought me along as a plus one to a lot of the receptions she got invited to, especially during august, which I thought was a great opportunity to branch out, and people were always keen to hear about what I was doing at GENDER.ED!
What feminist work or research are you involved with now? Tell us about what you’re up to!
Since my internship I have started and finished 4th year, writing my dissertation on the constructions of masculinities and femininities in contemporary Scottish working-class fiction. This was way to pull my interests together from over the past four years, a token to my time in Scotland. I’ve also continued my work for Period Poverty , collecting and distributing period products and underwear to people in need in the community and campaigning for an end to global period poverty. This year I was honoured to be invited to speak about this work on GENDER.ED’s Reproductive Justice panel for International Women’s Day! As Editor in Chief for the student publication ‘The Broad’, I continue to push for articles on feminist topics and find that people are very keen to write them! Although I am yet to apply for many jobs after I do plan on starting a degree in Gender and Sexuality studies, hopefully one that intersects with culture and literature in some way, after my year of work. I’d also like to work in communications for a non-profit over the next year so the fundamentals I learnt at GENDER.ED will be incredibly useful for giving me a head start there.
How do you think your time at GENDER.ED shaped your current work? What did you learn that you were able to draw on later?
I’d say that the biggest thing GENDER.ED helped me to understand was the academic world and world of research at Edinburgh. Academia wasn’t really something I’d ever consider myself going into or be familiar with until I was immersed into it during my internship. Just getting to see how the departments operate and getting the chance to chat to academics at events, learn some of the shorthand, interact with them and share their work on the blog and directory, was really valuable. It me realise that activism and academic research intersect and interact a great deal, and I think this has been important for me deciding what I want to do in the future in terms of a degree and more.
Above that, working with GENDER.ED has been a great way to connect further student organisations and staff at the university. For example, it was great to see the Jaspreet Kaur events in collaboration with Girl Up at the end of last year that I began to put together during my internship. And being asked to speak on the international women’s day panel and share some work on the GENDER.ED blog was a great opportunity to spread the word about our student-led organisation Period Poverty. I think that these connections are and that there is a lot to gain on both sides so this has been to draw on since leaving GENDER.ED!
What would you say to someone considering applying to work with GENDER.ED?
I’d say, specifically regarding the internship, don’t be shy about applying! I applied two years in a row and both times convinced myself I didn’t have enough gender related experience, but I did! All you need is a real drive to learn and an intersectional approach. At undergraduate level no one expects you to have a collection of published research up your sleeve – internships like these are great ways to develop your interests contribute to a initiative like GENDER.ED. I think you have that interest and drive you have nothing to lose in applying!