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Source: Massey University

Massey students have been some of many behind the scenes to bring the 2021 festival to life.

As Wellington’s highly-anticipated annual street festival CubaDupa continues to grow in numbers every year, so do the opportunities it creates for Massey University students and graduates.

Since 2019, Massey’s College of Creative Arts has offered eight third-year students an opportunity to intern with the festival through a specific paper that coincides with their studies.

The paper is run by senior lecturer for the School of Music and Creative Media Production, Dr Dave Carter, who links students up to roles within the festival based on their strengths and interests.

The internship is then managed by festival director. Students are contracted to a number of hours per week for the duration of a semester.

Dr Carter says the paper is very beneficial, as festival curators are getting people with a sound understanding of how the industries involved in the festival work. And although they will need support and mentoring, the students do not need to be trained from the ground up.

“Students walk away quite stoked with the experience, particularly because both the Fringe and Cuba Dupa festivals are very well connected with the Wellington music industries,” Dr Carter says. “It gives them a great opportunity to form those connections and career pathways.”

Joe Ogle, who is studying Music Practice and has a keen interest in marketing, is experiencing this firsthand. He says festival director Gerry Paul offers a generous package, providing him with opportunities to develop his skills though the internship and also introducing him to contacts.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to meet lots of people in the music industry and in the festival scene and to get some cool insight as to what happens behind the scenes and how a festival is run.”

Mr Ogle completed his artist marketing information paper in the 2020 summer school semester and started off working with the festival’s new database software pushing data, updating details, and locating businesses before progressing to help with the programming of the festival.

He also wrote artist bios for the CubaDupa website, event listings for the festival that were published on Eventbrite, Songkick, Undertheradar, and a guide for what’s on in Wellington.

With his studies, Joe would like to pursue a career in producing or as a sound engineer. Given the freelancing nature of this career he would also like to work at festivals like this, and is grateful for the experience and introductions.

Another student with a keen marketing interest, Maeve O’Connell, is also grateful to have had the opportunity to aid CubaDupa staff with the creation of this year’s festival.

Currently studying Creative Media Production, Ms O’Connell says being tasked to edit videos for the festival’s social media is directly tied into the skillset she has obtained from her degree. Her roles have also included tracking social media engagements, copywriting –  and on the day of CubaDupa she will be supporting the coordination of the CubaDupa wedding alongside The Hits radio station.

“Tracking social media engagements has given me great insight into navigating Facebook’s back-end and creator suite. My skills have improved immensely and I’ve found myself already transferring these into my other university work.”

Alongside giving her valuable industry experience and boosting her confidence, she says; “ I feel I’ve developed a better understanding of spreadsheets and how to track data and information. On day one of my internship, it was explained that the way they work means that, in theory, if something happened and you weren’t able to continue working, someone else should be able to jump onto your mahi and pick up exactly where you left off. This mindset has developed my work ethic tremendously.”

She says the internship has been the highlight of her degree and after finishing her paper with Massey she enjoyed her time so much she has decided to stay on as an intern by choice.

Massey graduate, Helena Bakker also gained a hands-on experience the year prior with her paper focusing on accessibility and vendor information.

This included organising a competition for vendors and taking photographs of their products, which were then advertised on social media during the lead up to the festival.

For the accessibility aspect, her role evolved into taking different ideas and creating an information package for those with accessibility issues to give them a more enjoyable experience at the festival. As a result her work has created the backbone for festival creators to use in the future.

Since graduating Ms Bakker has worked at Rhythm and Vines festival and has recently landed herself another internship with the New Zealand Music Commission.

Festival director Gerry Paul says the partnership with Massey gives them a unique and exciting opportunity to be able to engage with the next generation of young creative industry professionals.

“It’s super exciting to see the event through the eyes of fresh and creative students who are energetic and enthusiastic. We’re delighted to have been able to employ a number of Massey COCA interns into paid positions following their initial internships.”

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