Reflections from our project intern

By Jamie Harris, Carceral Archipelago undergraduate intern, 2013-14

I was an intern for the Carceral Archipelago project for 10 weeks. During this time I had two specific tasks to complete. For the first task I was required to research numerous websites to locate and reproduce information regarding post doctoral fellowships. The purpose of this was to compile the information into a single document detailing existing programmes which offered this type of funding. In addition to this a second document was to be created detailing the eligibility criteria for the corresponding programmes. The second major task I was presented with was to analyse websites with a historical focus. The purpose of this was to develop recommendations on how the projects own website could improve upon the redesign. By completing these tasks I believe that I have been of use to the project whilst developing my own skills in a professional working environment.

Before embarking on the internship I had to complete an interview with academics related to the project. Being an undergraduate this is something I was not used to. In the world of work however, interviews are a common procedure. By partaking in the interview itself I had become aware of the general format of how professional interviews should be conducted. Had I not progressed past this stage I would have at least known what to expect in career interviews after my graduation.

As a whole my experience as an intern has improved many of my existing skills. Moreover subsequent skills have been gained from the experience also. An obvious skill which has developed from my role here is research capability. Being asked to obtain information from numerous sources and then to compile this information into a comprehensive document facilitated this skill development. Time management was an additional skill which was improved upon as a result of my internship. Being a second year undergraduate of History much of my time is taken up by private study in the library or in my home. Having this internship aided my planning with regards to what I could achieve on certain days. I would plan beforehand in order to maximise the efficiency of this process. Individualism is an important skill I developed also. I was given these tasks which I was expected to complete individually and with minimal help. This was a new area for me as in my own studies we are given a more structured area to work with. This proved to be highly beneficial however. Working in a professional environment has helped me to prepare for my future career. Whichever career I choose it will be within a professional, working environment. Working first hand with the project has helped me to understand how these environments operate. This benefit alone meant that the experience was valued. As a consequence of this the experience has made me consider a career in history academia too.

As a whole my internship with the Carceral Archipelago Project was greatly valued. I gained numerous skills as a result of the process. These skills were acquired through the interview process and the internship itself. I look forward to seeing how the project progresses over time.

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Clare Anderson

About Clare Anderson

I am a professor of history, with interests in colonialism and colonial societies across the British Empire. I am especially interested in the history of confinement. I have worked on prisons, penal colonies, plantations, and migrant ships, and my interests also include the history of coerced labour. I have held grants and fellowships from the ESRC, National Maritime Museum and British Academy; and I am currently directing the European Research Council funded project "The Carceral Archipelago" (2013-18). I am a member of the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia, I have held visiting professorships at the University of Technology Sydney (2009, 2011), and I am currently editor of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History.

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