Stephanie Pope (GS, ENG) completed a GradFUTURES Summer Internship with ITHAKA in Summer 2020. Below, Stephanie describes her experiences in the program.
I began my internship at Reveal Digital (a part of ITHAKA )in my childhood bedroom in England, so I was grateful for the robust Zoom induction session that the organization provided before I embarked on the two-month program, which also introduced me to the other interns who would be working remotely over the summer.
My work was engaged with Reveal Digital (and organization that is part of ITHAKA), working on its Independent Voices database, a collection of alternative press publications with radical political agendas. As I was the only intern working in this particular area, my manager, Jeff, could offer me great flexibility around potential projects. After Jeff suggested three avenues of work that I could pursue for the summer, I settled on the one where I felt my particular skillset would be most effective, and where I thought I could make the most impact in a two-month period.
This project zeroed in on a subset of Independent Voices’ collection called “little magazines”: non-conventional literary publications often, but not always, characterized by brief and/or sporadic publication, strong conceptual ideals, and precarious finances. These journals acted as incubators for some of the twentieth-century’s most important avant-garde literary-artistic movements, such as Symbolism, Futurism, and Dadaism — and, despite the diminutive modesty of phrases like “little-” and “small-press magazines”, it was in these publications that many of the pioneering figures in American literary modernism made their first appearances in print. My aim was to determine how to make Independent Voices’s little magazine collection a more effective resource for scholars and teachers, which also meant familiarizing myself with the genre and its key actors in more depth.
The first few weeks of my work, then, spoke particularly to two of the six GradFUTURES core competencies: research and data analysis, and written/verbal communication. In this time, I learned as much as possible about the genre of little magazines and the cultural movements that they both represented and helped to shape.
I researched and produced reports on online resources for similar material, suggesting ways in which we might draw inspiration from them for the architecture of our own database. I also began the time-consuming task of producing short blurbs for each of the 150 little magazines in Reveal Digital’s collection, which meant acquiring and synthesizing information quickly, before presenting it in a way that was both accessible but also expertly informed.