Editor’s Note: The following series “One Year Later” is a week-long series curated by Sarah Fox as part of the Digital Research Internship Program in partnership with ViaNolaVie. The DRI Program is a Newcomb Institute technology initiative for undergraduate students combining technology skillsets, feminist leadership, and the digital humanities.
As we enter March in 2021, many of us can’t help but feel like we haven’t even processed the events of last March. The COVID-19 pandemic quickly went from a small news story thousands of miles away to up close and personal as we packed our offices, dorms and apartments to move inside. Marking the one-year anniversary, “One Year Later” is not meant to further highlight things we miss or how our lives have been negatively affected, but to demonstrate the resilience of human nature and how we’ve adapted to extraordinary circumstances.
This article details the experience of one Tulane University graduate navigating the remote job market. Although unusual, remote work has opened many opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible in normal times. This article was originally published on ViaNolaVie on August 5, 2020.
Graduating college and stepping into the professional field is a huge leap, especially for the class of 2021, as they search for employment in a post-COVID world. Czars Trinidad, classical studies and digital design major at Tulane University, is eager to join the New Orleans creative community. She dreams of applying her interests in digital design to working for a museum someday. As a rising senior, Trinidad has begun searching for internships in an industry that is continuously adapting to overcome the costs of COVID.
While Trinidad is only as nervous as any senior would be to find employment post-graduation, she lies at ease explaining how COVID has prompted creativity by creating ample opportunities for her. “There are a lot more remote internships available… because everything is remote work,” she states.
With the ability to work remotely from the comfort of her computer, Trinidad’s hours are more flexible and allow her to create her own work environment. However, the creative industry, especially in New Orleans, thrives off direct interaction and the connections one makes along the way. Digital design has a very “collaborative nature,” she explains, not only in working with partners but also with the relationships fostered with clients to better attend their needs.
Digital design is a very tailored task, especially for “human cursor” clients (a term in the industry to reference when the designer has little to no creative control over the work — the client uses the designer solely because they have the ability to make things) that want a specific product and image to be sold. Trinidad’s works require a lot of research to “understand the culture, gather all the components- colors, images, photoshoots” that will create a product that will interest consumers. Like many other creative sectors, graphic design has adapted to the new ways of life. Trinidad has replaced in-person meetings with her clients with a series of back and forth emails and maybe even a few Zoom calls.
COVID has resulted in many setbacks for the creative community. However, the resilience through adaptation and innovation that creatives show is inspiring for many future workers like Trinidad. “People gloss over the value of the creative industry, they don’t realize these things are necessary to keep the human spirit alive,” she states, reflecting on the value of art, literature, entertainment, and all things creative, particularly during times of crisis.
This piece is part of the on-going series “Creative Labor Through the Crisis,” which is part of a Creative Labor course at Tulane University taught by Dr. Vicki Mayer and Kelley Crawford. Interviews were conducted by Dr. Vicki Mayer and Kelley Crawford.