Karrmen’s project was hosted by the Aboriginal History Media Arts Lab, a short project designed to stimulate the ongoing development of a creative and critical discourse on new ways of presenting Aboriginal history in media. She prepared materials for the workshop “Can We Be Funny About Our History?” which was held in June 2006. The workshop was the first attempt to take a theme and see what critical discussions and media production came out of it, setting some groundwork for new directions in discourses around Aboriginal media.
Karrmen spoke about her experience in the FNIS program with UBC Arts. Watch the interview here.
How well prepared did you feel entering into the project?
Because I went into a project with a proposal already somewhat developed, I felt like I was pretty well prepared. Also, FNSP 310 and 320 really helped me feel ready to tackle a big research project.
I didn’t fully anticipate the challenges of working under my own initiative and breaking into new research territory. That’s a pretty scary prospect, and it meant a lot of strategizing and changing my thinking about how to do research. But there’s primary research for you….
What are three things you learned from or about the organization?
1. Don’t underestimate the value of what you can bring to the project and organization
2. This isn’t just your own personal “research”–you’re doing something that will actually be used and be taken seriously by an organization, so own it
3. It’s best to be prepared and focused during meetings with your supervisor, it makes the most of each other’s time and gets a lot accomplished.
What was the highlight of the experience?
Finally presenting the research and critical analysis of the films at the first Aboriginal Media Lab workshop in June 2006. I actually saw the work that I did being discussed and applied in a practical setting, which was completely different from the rest of my undergraduate experience.
What surprised you the most?
How much room I was given to take initiative. And the value that was placed on my work. You don’t get the same feedback in classrooms…at least, you don’t experience the value the same way.
What’s one thing you would do differently next time?
Spend more time on my weekly logs for FNSP 400–I tended to let those slide or be really vague, which cost me later when I went to write my analytical paper for the course. I would also be more vocal in class about how things were going; I tended to be too quiet around how the research was going when I could have gotten a lot of valuable feedback from the class.
Do you have advice for next year’s students?
If you can do work on your practicum, even if you can’t get a meeting with your supervisor and think you don’t know what to do next, DO WORK. Find sources, annotate, be creative and think of new angles to your project–anything to keep it moving forward. If you think there’s a lull, jump on it. Linc and Tanya are great at finding ways for you to keep the ball rolling. And really, trust them–they’ve done this so many times…you can really benefit from their experience and advice.