The Eugene Lang College Opportunity Award allowed me to complete my year-long fellowship at NEW INC, an arts and technology incubator initiative of the New Museum. Within my fellowship, I worked directly with the Director of Recruitment and Community Engagement in order to strategically improve the experience of the incubator’s community of artists, designers and technologists. To this end, I worked in research and outreach to prospective members and mentors, developed both internal and public facing programming, and handled communications and onboarding for folks new to the community. This included conducting research on peer institutions and universities, handling demographics and statistical work to catalogue our outreach strategies and success efforts, and designing and implementing programming designed to best achieve goals of community building and support for members of the incubator, in addition to daily scheduling and calendar management for members and staff. In my time at NEW INC, I oversaw a full cycle of the mentorship program, wrote and edited original content related to community guidelines and best practices, and helped refine and implement recruitment practices to best reach the audiences we were aiming to attract for the latest cohort of members. In short, my work had a direct impact on the kind of community NEW INC was attracting and how that community was shaped once they arrived.
My work at NEW INC was directly informed by my time at Eugene Lang College, both in my studies as a Culture and Media major and my work as an organizer of both SOC Weekly and the Claiming Our Space campaign. Within university, I was centrally concerned with how to build community and respite for students of color, both through weekly programming and the eventual campaign for student of color space on campus. However, my studies focused on arts and cultural work within New York City and beyond; building on theories and practices of media studies in particular. My experience at NEW INC allowed me to combine my experiences in both of these fields, and gain crucial experience in building community and doing equity work within a professional experience. Having completed the fellowship, I am well equipped to continue working in the arts and cultural sector with a critical understanding of how to do so to increase access and equity for people of color, femme folks and queer folks within the field. Further, it solidified my passion and deep commitment to seeing those things happen in both my professional and personal practices.