Finding an internship during a global pandemic in the cultural sector is a pain in the ass, I must say. Classmates complaining about the scarce possibilities for things to do was day to day business. Organisations firing staff, festivals being cancelled and then all of a sudden a student shows up asking for help. There have been better times to find a place to learn something.
Online vs Offline
The last 10 years social media platforms took the cultural sector by storm. You are either big online or non-existent, it seems. When COVID came and our online world became the norm I felt the urge for change. I hated the fact that our online presence is more important than reality and that if your page slips through the algorithm, it doesn’t really exist anymore.
This is what made me think about offline based PR. First with Nospray (a collective where we book punk and garage shows) where we focussed more on posters and after that also for WORM.
In a world where looking at screens has become more and more normal I felt it was time to do something different.
“I’m gonna make a magazine”, I thought.
Using your network
After looking for an internship for over 2 months without success I needed to make more use of my own network than just simply emailing around. That’s how I got to WORM. I already knew WORM through Nospray. It’s also simply my favourite place in Rotterdam.
I emailed Richard Foster who is head of PR and part of the programme team at WORM.
2 days later we had a skype meeting.
Nervous as I was, I tried my best to explain my ideas on offline PR and told him about my magazine. He was excited!
Immediately my creativity and anxiety started flowing. It’s all fun when you have an idea but now that I actually got the green light doing it, it got real. And I’ve never made a fucking magazine nor have I ever written an article.
I started to ask around and met up with friend and experienced curator, zine maker and editor Pernilla Ellens. She helped me a lot during the start up of my magazine (most of the time by saying I will be fine).
She hooked me up with Matt Plezier who is a punk zine connoisseur.
Matt (Marcel) started making zines in the late 80’s about the punk scene in the Netherlands. He then toured with loads of bands who were also his friends before starting his own record label called Coalition Records. I learned a lot from both and the anxiety slowly started to fade and made place for excitement.
Living in Rotterdam for quite a while now made me realise how much people actually do crazy good work. Work that you won’t even hear about because most of the time it’s a niche or an underground business/organisation. I’ve always found that such a shame. There’s a big threshold when it comes to mainstream media platforms so we all slip through. I felt Rotterdam could use a new platform where all these small but amazing organisations and businesses get exposure. There’s no one really around doing that right now.
My mission is to introduce you to these people, write about what they do and how they got there. For you to get inspired but most importantly to connect you and the people I write about.
De Vakschool is a platform for all the collectives, organisations and creatives Rotterdam has to offer and everyone writing for this magazine is part of the underground culture of Rotterdam.
Soooooo…. Fast forward to today.
As I’m writing this, I’m in my last month of my internship. I’ve spent 50% of my time on PR work for WORM and 50% on making the magazine. I’m finishing up the first edition, already writing for the second one and planning the release party at the S/ash Gallery which will happen on the 20th of August (this coming Friday). Just a quick “Corona note”: we can only have 10 in the room at any one time. And sit down while you have a beer 🙂
I’ve learned a lot in the last months, I’m getting more and more comfortable writing, I have a better understanding of PR and most importantly, I met so many amazing people!
I want to thank everyone helping me out with writing, doing graphic design, making photographs or just simply believing in me doing this and I hope to see you all this Friday.