Getting your foot in the door in the creative industry is not an easy feat. With economic fluctuations in recent years and people retiring later and later, paid opportunities for recent graduates are harder to come by. Far from accepting an unpaid fate forever, Manchester-based Alec Dudson started Intern Magazine to both showcase the work of interns across creative fields and also spark a debate regarding working conditions in the industry. The result is a thought-provoking and illuminating bi-annual print publication that is anything but entry-level in quality.
“Paid jobs with the kind of magazines that I admired were few and far between, so I began to consider starting something of my own,” Editor in Chief, Dudson says. “Knowing full well that there were a lot of young creatives out there in a similar situation, it seemed [like] a great opportunity to produce something that represented and supported them.” Armed with his self-described “shitty” laptop, internship experience and an idea with a mission, Dudson made it happen. He started by combing the internet for talent and using existing networks to reach out to young creatives who were in the same situation.” I always try and find as international a mix of contributors as possible as the nuances in their experiences and interpretations of the subject matter are enlightening,” Dudson says.
One of those contributors for issue one was Ella Riley-Adams, a Sarah Lawrence student with a handful of unpaid internships on her CV. “We’re all looking for an open door, and often an internship is exactly that,” Riley-Adams says, “But by accepting unpaid work, we perpetuate the idea that we don’t deserve to be paid, which I think is detrimental for the creative workplace as a whole.” Since appearing in the inaugural issue, Riley-Adams says her network has grown and the response to her work has been overwhelmingly inspiring.
Along with featuring newcomers’ work and inciting a debate about unpaid positions, Dudson incorporates advice and insights from industry veterans. Outspoken freelancer and sage of the perpetual work-life balance problem James Victore is among the inspiring established contributors. For the future of the magazine, Dudson sees growth on the horizon as well as the troubling reality than unpaid internships continue to be widespread in most fields—and show little signs of stopping. “If we can continue to keep reaching more and more of the people that are involved then we can also draw more people into the debate who aren’t necessarily concerned with it at present,” Dudson says. “The more cosmopolitan our readership, the more rich and varied submissions to each issue will be and the greater perspective and insight we will be able to deliver.”
Issue One of Intern Magazine is available now for $16 online. Keep an eye out for Issue Two, out later this year.
Top photos by Yuvali Theis, following two portraits by Sophie Davidson, additional images courtesy of Intern Magazine