Backstage Reading Festival experience for creative English Literature student22 August 2019
An English Literature student from the University of Reading will get a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s Reading Festival after being selected to be part of a unique initiative.
Katie Lawman will get a backstage pass as she takes on a digital internship with organisers Festival Republic, thanks to a partnership with the university.
She will also be tasked with producing an artistic or creative response to the festival using skills from their degree. The chosen students will tell their experience any way they want to, from artwork to a piece of creative writing. Katie plans to produce a journalistic piece for the University’s student newspaper, The Spark, interviewing people in the crowds, performers and her fellow students.
Their projects, produced using the skills they have learnt on their course, will be submitted after the festival and exhibited a future date at the University of Reading.
“I hope this experience will utilise the knowledge I have gained whilst studying English Literature for the past two years at the University of Reading in a practical and informative manner for the enjoyment if others" - Katie Lawman
Katie said: “I feel incredibly lucky to be working as the Digital Assistant for Reading Festival this August. It’s a privilege to be able to work with the Communications Team and to be able to gain an insight into what goes on behind the scenes.
“I am hoping to hold interviews with members of the backstage crew, communications teams and of course the acts themselves to be published in the University of Reading newspaper. I shall be attempting to answer prying questions students might have regarding careers in events, communications and backstage organisation, as well as questions regarding the artists themselves.
“I hope this experience will utilise the knowledge I have gained whilst studying English Literature for the past two years at the University of Reading in a practical and informative manner for the enjoyment if others.”
Reading Festival hosts huge music and comedy acts from 23-25 August. The internship will allow Katie to get closer to the action than other fans as she produces content for the festival’s official blog and social media accounts, as well as access to the exclusive backstage area where she can mingle with the bands and VIP guests.
The University of Reading has taken a team of students to Reading Festival every year for the last five years. In 2015 the University partnered with Kerrang magazine to allow students the chance to interview bands and write reviews, following this up with a similar initiative with NME magazine the following year.
Since 2017, a partnership with Festival Republic has allowed a team of students to work backstage and produce their own original content on all aspects of festival life, from festival fashion trends to food stall reviews.
Professor Roberta Gilchrist, Research Dean for Heritage & Creativity at the University of Reading, said: “Reading Festival is a major part of Reading’s cultural identity, so it’s a major coup to be able to offer our students a unique experience of this iconic event. Arts & Humanities degrees teach students to think critically and to articulate and communicate their thoughts creatively. This is a valuable opportunity for our students to demonstrate skills that will equip them for the rapidly changing workplace.
“We have been impressed with the range of creative ideas submitted in applications by our students, and it will be exciting to see how they apply what they have learned on their courses to their internships and projects.”