Remote Internship Connects Art History and Anthropology

Shafaa Lang

This image is of a Siberian kitchen . The demon faces throughout the images are intriguing. Shamanism is a common practice amongst indigenous in Siberia which makes me wonder if the demon dragon faces are affiliated with Shamanism.

When I started college back in 2012, my major was Art History, but I ended dropping out due to some issues in school. In 2016, I started to go to community college and took up Liberal Arts. During my time in community college, I picked up a book called “Everyone is African” by Daniel J. Fairbanks and it was then that I fell in love with the study of Anthropology. After that I started reading different books like “Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color” by Nina Jablonski and “Gun, Germs, and Steel” by Jared Diamond which really inspired me to study Anthropology. Anthropology was the prefect way to combine my love for History and Science.

This image is of an indigenous Siberian person, more than likely painted by someone non-indigenous.

 Before actively looking for an internship, I did not think that it would be hard to find one. Little did I know, it required more work than I thought. I got in contact with several different organizations and not one responded back to me. It is my belief that it was due to things being shut down because of the pandemic. This was very discouraging, but Dr. Gooding presented us with a remote opportunity called Endangerred Archives Programme which made things a whole lot easier.  Endangerred Archives Programme supports the preservation of cultural archives from different regions throughout the world. Their goal is to digitize these archives while keeping the original copy in its country of origin. I was very intrigued because I never knew that you could do Anthropology work from home right from your computer and with having a father who is disabled it would allow me to cut my time away from home because I also work a full-time job.

This is a typical workday. I am working on identifying appropriate keywords for an image. 

During this internship, I learned so much! I believe that this will strengthen my resume. It also shows that I have familiarity with archival work which could be good when applying to work at museums.  My Research Methods and Cultural Anthropology classes during my time at KSU gave me the knowledge necessary to make it through this internship, especially Research Methods with Dr. Lundy. Learning about different research methods and how to collect data is important in ethnographic research or fieldwork.

A picture of indigenous men of Siberia.  

The internship taught me patience and it has even taught me how to stay focused without having a boss looking directly over what I do.  If I could change anything, it would be the timing. I do not have the support from my parents which makes it hard to do an internship because I must work full-time to live. Having a job and doing an internship was ridiculously hard for me to balance, but overall, I enjoyed the experience!

  My internship was to help make it easier for people to find images of 19th and 20th century Southern Siberia indigenous peoples by giving each image keywords which is like an identification marker.  These images are digitized archives. The original archives are safe in the region origin that they came from.  In my work, I had to do my own research about the culture to be able to put keywords that made sense. What this internship taught me is that Siberia has a deep history and that the people there find it especially important to preserve their cultural heritage. Similar to the Americas, outsiders did come in and take over, this led to a fight for cultural preservation for the Siberian people.  Learning about the culture made me really want to travel to Siberia. This internship has also inspired me to pursue a future career in Cultural Anthropology and I look forward to applying what I have learned here at KSU. I would love to travel and live amongst different groups of people to study their culture. I strongly believe that travelling and learning about different cultures around the world can help you find yourself.

Digital Internship During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Adrienne Goodwyn

Coming into this internship I was a little scared. This was happening during Covid-19 and I was worried about if I was going to be able to get an internship. It was one of the last things I needed to graduate in the fall, so I was very stressed out about if I would be able to find one or not.

Around June of 2020 I received an email for a digital internship categorizing Siberian photographs on a website called Zooniverse. This website works with countries who have a hard time keeping their documents, pictures, etc. protected. Zooniverse also works with the Endangered Archives program, which the countries get in contact with before their documents show up on the Zooniverse website. When I got the email, I was very excited. I was glad that not only would I be able to work safe from home, but I would also be able to set my own schedule. This also worked well for me because during the fall I had three other classes as well, so having to ride out to an internship site, commute to school/do my school work, and work at my part-time job would have been difficult to juggle. This internship was the best outcome for me.

During the start of my internship I realized how easy it would be to get distracted. I live with my family and partner, so there were many opportunities to get distracted. However, even with those distractions I made myself concentrate, so I could put 100% of my time into these pictures. Even though I was one of around 100 volunteers, I still wanted to put effort into my work. This was something the people in Siberia did not have the time or resources to do themselves, so I knew my work was going to be helpful. In September I ran into a problem. I started getting pictures I had already categorized. I would have to constantly refresh the page, to try and make a new picture some up. After almost a week of this problem I asked my advisor if I could change Zooniverse projects. There were many others that needed volunteers, so I thought a switch would still be helpful. After I got the okay, I started on a project called Fossil Atmospheres, where I had to mark stomatal cells in plant cells. Both of these projects felt rewarding to me. I realized this archiving is fun and interesting even if it is tedious to do.

I believe the classes I took during the Spring semester of 2020 helped me with this internship the most. When writing my theme papers, I was able to draw on techniques from my Research Methods class, as well as my Human Origins class to help me with my research. After college I would like to work at a museum or even the Botanical Gardens, and I think the work I did in my internship will build the way towards those jobs. This was a rewarding experience for me and I am glad, that even in the midst of Covid, I was able to receive my Zooniverse internship.