Hybrid Internships in Small Scale Arts Organisations

Current project Featured 2021

To initiate our AWP Hybrid Internships pilot project, we commissioned Dr Charlotte Webb to research existing models, barriers that could be experienced by interns and organisations, and further opportunties for this kind of work

The resulting report, An Exploratory Guide for Hybrid Internships in Small Scale Arts Organisations (see below for download), acts as both research context and a guide for small-scale arts organisations looking to undertake hybrid internships. We would be happy to hear from anyone looking to manage hybrid internships, and invite interested organisations to contact Russell Martin at Artquest.

The COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic has prevented our AWP Internships programme running safely in 2020, with hosts who would be able to facilitate an online or hybrid internship anticipating January 2021 as the earliest date they could begin. Lockdown restrictions could continue in some form for months, including staggered returns to work or a series of ongoing shorter lockdowns to limit transmission of the virus. Worker safety could require much larger structural changes to architecture and public transport which will seriously limit access to careers in the creative industries, particularly for new graduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds (a focus of AWP Internships) and those in clinically vulnerable groups.

The Resolution Foundation predicts that an additional 640,000 18-24- year-olds will find themselves unemployed in 2020, with a 13% lower employment rate persisting even after three years. Although challenging to deliver, internships are even more urgently required to ensure that graduates get early career support in these unprecedented circumstances. It is also essential to maintain schemes that prioritise graduates from under-represented communities, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Alongside graduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds, these communities include Black, Asian and other minority ethnicities, LGBTQ+ graduates and those with disabilities, including neurodiversity.

We define a ‘hybrid internship’ as one that is delivered partly remotely, alongside physically distanced contact where possible. During remote periods, an intern works, learns and is managed through a combination of digital technologies. There is a presumption that part of the internship will be delivered in person where legal restrictions and personal circumstances allow. Where circumstances or restrictions do not allow, the internship can be delivered entirely remotely.

It is an inherently flexible model that works within the changing limitations of staff health and wellbeing, the necessity for sheilding, and the UK Government’s tiered model of restrictions, while providing the equipment and digital access required for an intern to experience an excellent start in their arts career.

Select a format to download the full report (31 pages):