Iowa Intersections – Summer 2022 Internship

Internship focus: Oral histories of recently arrived Latina/o immigrants

About the organization

Iowa Intersections is a community-based multilingual digital storytelling initiative. A collaboration between the Center for Language and Culture Learning in the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Iowa and UNESCO City of Literature, this project seeks to collect stories from recent immigrants to Iowa City. 

About the internship

Interns will work specifically with families served by Open Heartland, a grassroots initiative that serves Latino immigrant families living in Johnson County, many of whom have escaped violence and poverty and come here at great personal risk. In many cases, they made this difficult choice in order for their children to receive an education and have access to greater opportunities. As their children begin to assimilate, stories and traditions may be forgotten; Iowa Intersections seeks to capture these stories and celebrate them. 

Intern’s work responsibilities

Responsibilities will include:

  • Spend time at Open Heartland getting to know the community, including staff and clients
  • Attend oral history training with UI’s Community Archive Librarian
  • Work with CLCL Director to develop storytelling workshops in Spanish that align with Open Heartland’s mission and the storytellers’ interests
  • Conduct workshops with families to collect audio and images to assemble digital stories
  • Work with CLCL to develop story website and ways to share with the greater community

Qualifications & skills preferred

  • Because trust is key to this project, the intern must be proficient in Spanish; a native speaker is preferred
  • Familiarity with oral histories or a strong interest in storytelling and/or community archiving 
  • Highly organized and able to create and maintain a schedule
  • Ability to work with multiple mentors for differing purposes (i.e., learn technical skills from one mentor while producing material for another)
  • Ability to be sensitive and discrete with vulnerable populations.
  • Ease in talking with individuals whose life experiences may be radically different from one’s own.
  • Understanding of issues facing recent immigrants from Central and South America

Location, hours, & reporting

This internship reports to Claire Frances, Director, Center for Language and Culture Learning. For approximately 15 hours/week, during business hours, the intern will work on developing workshops, attend oral history training with Community Archivist, and tend to website development/distribution of stories. The remaining hours will be spent at Open Heartland, sometimes in the evening or the weekend to meet the needs of the community, collecting stories.