Digital Interns on the Move at CBU

Funding for a pilot program from the Provincial Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage has allowed Dr. Marcia Ostashewski of CBU’s Centre for Sound Communities to recently hire ten Digital Interns, including two Coordinators, through the recently launched Nova Scotia Digital Youth Internship Program. The program supports youth in gaining a wide range of digital skills as well as valuable work experience to assist in their transition into Canada’s labour market.

Dr. Ostashewski, Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair of Communities and Cultures is working closely with and mentoring the interns as they advance their digital media skills. “The Digital Interns have very diverse backgrounds and interests,” says Dr. Ostashewski. “It’s been really amazing to see their skills and creativity evolve as they work with each other, with members of our CBU community, and with our off-campus community research partners.” She went on to say that, “Digital Internships like these are especially important to youth who live in an area with one the highest unemployment rates in the country. They provide interns with crucial skills necessary to navigate an increasingly digital world, as well as opportunities to successfully lead projects that produce concrete deliverables, participate in community outreach and networking opportunities that will facilitate their entry into the workforce and build their confidence.”

These internships are also facilitated by Canada Foundation for Innovation and Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust, the major funders of the Centre for Sound Communities – a world-class digital arts and humanities research laboratory that opened its doors at CBU in September 2016. The digital internships support multi-disciplinary and community-engaged research collaborations that are conducted at the lab, and help to grow digital research  capacities of CBU.

The Digital Interns are currently working on projects that will enhance their skills, and serve the CBU and external community. These skills and projects include:

  • Collaborating with community groups to digitally document local heritage sites, video recording of sites, conducting oral history interviews, creating audio tours and informational literature (pamphlets).
  • Working with research partners at the Verschuren Centre to create instructional materials, including, learning camera set-up and operation, interview prep, editing of video and audio files, and learning about local science and environmental research.
  • Research website design, data collection, collation and analysis with faculty from across CBU Schools, for projects that will expand beyond the life of these internships.
  • Promotional activities related to Global Music Local – Connections Film Festival, Cape Breton Storytellers Festival and other research-creation and intercultural learning events associated with the Centre for Sound Communities. Tasks include: coordinating the creation of promotional materials, and using social media to connect with partners and community members at large, and providing livestream support on and off-campus.
  • Digitalization of textual documents in the Bras d’Or Collection housed at the Cape Breton University Library.
  • Collaborating with the CBU Road Squad to create rich content for the university’s marketing department, including a list of top 30 activities to do in Cape Breton during the winter.
  • Working with local youth andfaculty in the creation and production of broadcast-quality fil
    ms and media-rich digital stories, in conjunction with research across CBU Schools. This includes all aspects of production, such as set-up, studio set-up (lighting, sound) and editing footage.

One of the Digital Interns, recent CBU Arts student Paul Bishop, remarked on the tremendous value of his experiences in the program. “As an aspiring filmmaker, the digital internship program at the Centre for Sound Communities has given me the opportunity to learn camera operation, video editing, and audio recording through hands-on experience. It has also introduced me to a network of generous professionals from a wide range of artistic disciplines whose guidance and expertise has proven invaluable to my own personal growth as an independent artist. Aside from technical instruction, the program has allowed me to establish working relationships within the community while fostering professional development for a future career in digital media through arts-based research. Through my internship at the Centre for Sound Communities, I’ve been able to engage with local, like-minded artists and members of my community in ways which I could have never imagined.”

Digital Interns Coordinator, and CBU History graduate Amy MacDonald, commented on her unique role and relationships with the Interns. “As Digital Internship Coordinator I am extremely proud of our group of interns and what they have been accomplished in such a short period of time. They have been incredibly keen and excited to apply their new skills (website design, videography, editing, blog writing, digitalization and how to effectively use social media) to create deliverables for the partners of the Centre for Sound Communities. This internship gives them much more than digital skills. It also provides them with opportunities to practice managing projects (including what to do when a project fails), ability to network and work as a team, and successfully complete projects in a timely manner. These are all skills that will facilitate the interns’ entry into the workforce.”

For more information, and to follow the Digital Interns through their program this spring visit