What began with a visiting lecture has turned into a mutually beneficial co-op student internship program that promises to push the boundaries of new media for years to come.
aftermodern.lab inc., an award-winning design studio based in Toronto and Lethbridge, has struck a relationship with the University of Lethbridge, and specifically the Co-operative Education and Internships Office. The studio is granting Faculty of Fine Arts students in all majors the opportunity to complete co-op work terms as part of their degree.
“The intention of aftermodern.lab doing something here was really to work with the University of Lethbridge and the new media and fine arts programs, to create a placement opportunity for students,” explains Trevor Embury, who along with Anthony Campea, are the principals and design directors of aftermodern.lab. “In Toronto, we have a really excellent reputation, so we thought that by being here in Lethbridge, we’d offer something a bit more unique in terms of creating a bridge between academic studies and an actual practicing studio.”
In 2014, shortly after establishing a Lethbridge studio, aftermodern.lab funded a scholarship at the U of L, and then began a program where they would offer co-op work opportunities to fine arts students.
“Both Anthony and I have always wanted to create a space to work with junior designers, to give them more, so they can really experience the industry,” says Embury. “There are so many gaps in a student’s experience. If you only have a portfolio focused on your student work, it’s extremely difficult to find employment in this industry.”
While new media students have always had the chance to complete an internship at the end of their studies, they, and all other fine arts students, are now able to complete four- to 12-month paid internships at any time throughout their studies.
Sam Loewen has already completed a term with aftermodern.lab and is now working part-time at the studio.
“I’ve gained a real breadth of experience because I wasn’t only involved in the fine arts, but also design, business and advertising. Without this experience, I’d be missing that application outside the classroom, and it’s a very different way of learning, a different way of working,” says Loewen, who had the opportunity to work on high profile projects such as an exhibition for the Toronto International Film Festival
aftermodern.lab will take on more students this fall (one per semester, applications through co-op placement programs), and with such positive results already realized, Embury is excited about the relationship that’s been established.
“Both Anthony and I want to teach something, we don’t want to hide it, it’s not a trade secret that’s locked up,” he says. “When we give back to the world, we in turn get it back to our practice, partly through bringing in people like Sam, who gives us so much.”