From Bristol to Trondheim – summer internship inspires Architect student

Issue date: 20 October 2014

From teaching herself web design to trying her hand at Norwegian, a 16 week summer internship at UWE Bristol has equipped March Architecture student, Sophie Jarzebowski, with new skills, new contacts and new opportunities as she returns to her studies.

A highlight of the internship for Sophie was a two week design and make event in Trondheim, Norway. Sponsored by the University, Sophie and fellow students, Lee Bartholomew and Suner Syuleyman, accompanied Architecture Lecturer Sally Daniels to the Workshop Holzbau. The project was a live collaboration with Architecture students from NTNU, Trondheim Kommune, where they designed and built a temporary installation to improve access from upper and lower parts of the Kjøpmannsgata.

For Sophie and all the students involved it was a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of a live project. The challenges and highlights of the project are captured by Sophie and Lee in a series of soundbites, images and blogs on the Hands-on-Bristol website, which Sophie has revamped as part of her internship.

In her own blog on the site – What I learned in Trondheim, summing up the experience, Sophie says, “There is one last lesson I learned from Workshop Holzbau, and it wasn't directly from the project we participated in. The workshop was run by students over the summer holiday, who wanted to do a project that meant something, and found the means to do it. I have often thought about what I want to do after I finish studying, who I might work for, what opportunities I will be given? But, I realise now that I don't have to, and maybe shouldn't, wait for someone else to give me an opportunity to do something great, I can help create that opportunity myself.”

It was such motivation, that secured Sophie's internship within the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment. Following an announcement made in class, Sophie kept pursuing Associate Department Head, Elena Marco to find out more about the opportunity. Starting the internship in July, Sophie's main responsibility was to develop the Hands-On-Bristol website.

Hands-on Bristol serves as a 'knowledge hub' for UWE Bristol Architecture staff and students to share best 'live' practice initiatives with the research and Bristol communities. It's designed to be used in two ways: as a resource that documents and archives the research and knowledge generated through the live projects; and as a site where students and community groups can gain an understanding of the kind of projects that they are engaged in.

Over the summer Sophie has taught herself web design, taking a website that was under construction, moving it forward, to create an engaging digital space aimed at inspiring more students and partners to get involved with new projects. Talking about her internship, she said, “It's been a great experience and I've developed some good contacts, it's also been great working alongside my tutors on a professional level too. I'd definitely recommend Hands on Bristol to my fellow Architecture students, the opportunities are out there and the staff are keen to support you, you just have to ask.”

Sophie's latest MA group project - 'Dreams for Bristol' and the Swim BristolCampaign, a student led project seeking to encourage and popularise open water swimming in Bristol, has recently captured the attention on Twitter of Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson, Bristol Green Capital and has also received significant coverage from the local media. Spacehive, a crowdfunding platform for civic projects has also been in touch and the group feel there is a distinct possibility that their campaign ideas may be realised.

Sally Daniels, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Planning at UWE Bristol, said, “Live projects, especially design and build, are such an important opportunity to bring together in a meaningful way the theory and practice.

“The experience and the legacy is often valuable and memorable and new friends and connections are formed. We get a chance to test, reflect (often re-learn) and collaborate on so many different levels. This type of experience is expanding, as Sophie says' the opportunities are out there 'and as tutors and mentors; we'd love to help you.”

For more information on studying at UWE Bristol, see:Architecture

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