Naiyira's blog

I’m Naiyira, and I’ve interned at Eastside with my intern partner Aiyesha for the past 7 months. My time here has been extremely exciting, and I have learnt so much whilst working with the supportive team at Eastside. I’ve felt welcomed and accepted from the start. 

The primary project that we worked on was I know, I wish, I will. This fantastic project is what drew me into Eastside initially – what’s not to be amazed about by a 25 hour spoken word marathon on the West End stage? I feel honoured to have supported it and seen it slowly progress into fruition. We were tasked with increasing engagement of 18-25yr olds, and there was the perfect amount of support versus freedom to creatively structure our time. Aiyesha and I decided on a few steps to increasing engagement.

Firstly, we recruited two amazing ambassadors in the age range to help support us with our plans. This involved marketing the roles, creating role descriptions, and interviews. We then held a spoken word workshop with King’s College London’s Creative Writing Society. This was the first time that I wrote spoken word myself as well! Finally, we ran an open mic night at KCL. Aiyesha and I were determined to fit this into our timetables, and we decided to plan and run this event within a month. We ended up with only a week to market the event. I still vividly remember how uncertain we were about the turnout – but we ended up with 11 performances and over 30 audience members! The open mic night was an amazing experience and I remember feeling so tired but also so ecstatic at the end of the event.

It was spectacular to see the end results of Eastside’s work, with thousands of entries into I know I wish I will . There were entries from all around the world, showing the extremely global reach of spoken word. Unfortunately, coronavirus meant that the marathon could not take place on the West End stage. However, we adapted and had a digital stage instead where spoken word was published and celebrated. This was especially important during this time of great uncertainty – spoken word is important as a tool to enrich our lives and help people to feel connected to each other.

Eastside has such a varied amount of arts projects that I got to experience and help out with. This involved the BFI Film academy screening event, where I helped with general event running. During the event I also watched amazing short films whilst eating tons of popcorn! It was interesting to see a technical run through and hear about the behind the scenes of filmmaking.

I am sad to be finishing my internship now – I feel very connected to Eastside and am grateful for all that I have learnt here. I have felt like a valued member of the team, who has contributed towards a good cause. I value the arts so much more now and truly see the value in art for enriching our lives. Eastside has given me so many new experiences – it has given me new insights into the arts, as well as given me new professional experiences that have helped my personal development. I feel more confident, assured, and connected to others. I will cherish the time that I have spent with Eastside, and will deeply miss everyone that I have worked with.