Students’ Stories: Chloë Becker on her internship at Pakhuis de Zwijger

Written by Chloë Becker

From February 2021 till the end of June 2021, I was an intern programmer at Pakhuis de Zwijger Amsterdam. Pakhuis de Zwijger is a cultural platform for creation and innovation. It organises events and programs about the city, urban culture, politics, social topics, the arts, economy & sustainability. Its goal is to bring people together and to realise projects that will contribute to a future-proof society. I was an intern at the Creative Industry & Designing Cities for All programs. I mostly focused on Creative Industry. Here, I contributed to the programs Talkshow Nieuw Amsterdam & Uncovering Creatives. I learned how a program is made, content and production-wise. Some of my responsibilities were: thinking of subjects that we could discuss during our programs and finding guests and speakers. I also had to research artists, new projects, initiatives & events that are happening in the city of Amsterdam. Additionally, I had some part in the visual presentation of the programs and guests handling on ‘set’ was one of my jobs. Career-wise, the most interesting and valuable learning point for me was the fact that I had the opportunity to learn to create content for our program. This is where I could put the knowledge I learned as a Media, Art, Design and Architecture Bachelor student to work. Pakhuis de Zwijger allows interns to realise their program at the end of the internship. This, of course, is a very special and valuable experience. You learn a lot about many aspects of the cultural and social field and you get to understand the following: What do you need to talk about? Who do you invite to be a speaker on your program? What is the social and cultural importance of what you do? Having an open mind, thinking inclusive and knowing how to handle more difficult social and cultural subjects are some of the valuable things you will learn while creating a program at Pakhuis de Zwijger.

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An episode of the Nieuw Amsterdam Talkshow, which featured illustrator Hedy Tjin, artist Richard Kofi and the people behind architectural firm FABRICations

Before Covid-19 hit, there were live events at Pakhuis de Zwijger. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to experience this. But even during lockdown, a lot is happening at Pakhuis de Zwijger. Of course, live events with an audience are not possible, but Pakhuis de Zwijger quickly adjusted to the ‘new normal’: Every program is either pre-recorded and shown on their website or a live cast. With this new way of organising programs, talks, shows and expert meetings, a lot of new tasks needed to be done. Every employee at Pakhuis de Zwijger learned how to set and adjust cameras, work with guests via Zoom and switch and work the cameras while recording. As an intern, you also get the opportunity to learn about the ‘behind the camera’ and the technical aspect of organising a live cast. I do believe that is feasible to say that if you start this internship in September 2021 there will be some events with an audience. So that would be really awesome!

On a more practical note, I was working four days a week: three from home and at least one at the office. This was also the day we had to do a live cast or recording. The fact that I was able to leave the house and meet new people, colleagues but also guests and speakers was a great advantage. I got to meet a lot of interesting people who work in the cultural field. This way, these meetings were very inspiring & could even mean a new opportunity for a new internship or job. Important to know is that a 9 to 5 mentality won’t get you far at Pakhuis de Zwijger: A lot of live casts and recordings happen in the afternoon and evening.

Behind the scenes in the control room during the taping of an episode

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