The First Week of the Open Content Internship!

Hello, I am Molly – one of the two Open Content Curator Interns for Summer 2022! I’ve just finished my fourth year of a five year MA Fine Art course. This involves a split between studio-based fine art practice and art history. I feel really excited to be part of this internship – prior to starting, I’d explored the origins of the Open Education movement, which centres on the freedom of movement of information through accessible dissemination, particularly in the form of digital and hybrid learning.


The first week has involved a lot of settling in and familiarising myself with the physical and digital spaces of hybrid working – which I really enjoy and feel well suited to. It’s been a semi-whirlwind of meetings with my fellow intern, Alyssa, the Open Content team (Charlie and Lorna) and the wider ISG team. But it really only feels that way because it’s my first week: throughout everything, Charlie has been checking in and ensuring that we’re both settling in well. Being in an environment of hybrid learning and a supportive, enthusiastic team has definitely removed a lot of the pressure, and motivates me to also work towards our individual and collective goals.


View from the Crags, CC BY 4.0, Molly Wickett, 2022.
(Speaking of taking care and breaks, I thought I’d intercept the blog with a photo from a walk after work!)


I’ve enjoyed familiarising myself with the diverse range of OERs and starting to learn about current outreach projects. For example, the Geoscience and Earth Observation Outreach with whom we will be working. But also, one of my favourites has to be the OER on Renaissance Feminism. OERs are a growing area, and I wish I’d encountered them earlier in my university life. Not least because they overlap with other aspects such as Open Textbooks, which have the capacity to enrich student experience – such as diversifying the medic’s resource list throughOERs and LGBT+ health. This intersection of students working with OERs continues to be an ongoing and progressive tradition, especially with student internships. It also sparked discussion of our own curriculums and awareness around how they could be expanded: something that both Alyssa and I had been thinking about. Even though we are from very different schools of thought, there are a lot of areas which our perspectives overlap and I feel really excited to have her insight as we work together over the summer.


Sofonisba Anguissola - Portrait of the Artist's Sisters Playing Chess
Sofonisba Anguissola, Portrait of the Sisters playing Chess. Public domain image on Wikimedia Commons.


Now for the fun part! This also means that a lot of the resources produced will need to be ensured that they are attributed, and correctly so, in accordance with copyright laws. Openly licensed content allows for greater access and sharing of information and media, which means more people can learn about more things without barriers. This week, Alyssa and I have spent a lot of time familiarising ourselves with the legislation and beginning to investigate how to apply this. If you can have one, my favourite legislative quirk is the exception is to pastiche and mockery in the UK where you can reuse copyrighted material in instances like gifs. It was also interesting to learn about it in relation to my own degree, the wider art world and the copyrighting issues that regularly surface.


Something I’m looking forward to is working with Charlie and Alyssa to create and publish OERs that are accessible and freely usable to anyone. One of the most amazing things about OERs is that under the Creative Commons license, you have the capacity to create a resource that will permanently remain in the public sphere to be reused as many times as possible. I’ve already had ideas sparked about what OERs I could work on, and it feels genuinely exciting to be a part of this.