This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Jessica Lin, COL ’22
This summer I was a research intern at the Architectural Archives working with collections from local architects, such as Samuel Yellin, OLIN Architects, Louis Kahn, and Denise Scott Brown. I assisted the curator and archivists in their care for the over 400 collections and connected with local researchers and the general public. I learned how to discover the architect’s logical process in design by piecing together their works. I worked on creating digital surrogates of original material so that people can access drawings and photographs remotely. This process has allowed me to consider the accessibility practices within research and think more thoroughly about who gets access and to what materials. I assisted research patrons and prepared the space for tours and exhibitions. My latest project was processing collection material donated by Laurie Olin, a landscape architect and previous PennDesign professor. I sorted through an array of travel photography from Italy to Grenada to Japan and beyond. The 35mm slides transported me to places I had never been before and I got to study the landscape design and architecture of different cultures. I learned how to find a sequence and order within an architect’s work. I then worked on cataloging and organizing the materials in a logical way that would be most useful for researchers and students accessing the archival collections.
Since I am interested in how arts and design can positively impact communities and am considering design careers other than architecture, I also became an intern at Mural Arts Philadelphia for their Crane Building Mural Project in Chinatown. The theme “past supporting future” aligns with my own reckoning with my family’s inter-generational history. I spearheaded outreach to Asian American community organizations in Philadelphia and assisted in oral history and art workshops. I designed fliers, edited legal waivers, and set weekly agendas for the team. Working alongside four freelance artists and a consultant from Mural Arts has given me the opportunity to see how public art projects are created and managed. I have been able to hone in on my design skills as well as my project management and communication skills. I am looking forward to creating a space that highlights Asian American resilience and I will continue to work on the project until the mural is completed in spring 2022.
My exploration of the arts this summer has illuminated my understanding of my motivations for pursuing something in the design field. I first became interested in architecture for the ability to address social issues such as affordable housing and sustainability. I have come to realize that I am able to create social impact and address societal issues in various types of design fields in addition to architecture. This has opened up new opportunities and has made me more excited to explore different career paths within arts and design.