For the last three months, CEISMIC has been fortunate to have an additional team member in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Julie-Ann Buick is a fourth-year Geography student at UC, studying towards a post-graduate diploma in Science. She has just completed an internship with CEISMIC, the aim of which was to build on the Transitional City collection by identifying and gathering information on as many temporary, post-quake projects as possible.
Documentation of these projects will all be added to the archive and, later down the track, the intention is to use the geo-located data to create an interactive online map and website interface to profile the extraordinary transitional state of our city over this time.
Rosalee asked Julie-Ann some questions about her experiences working on this project:
Firstly, what was it about this project that drew your interest?
It was actually a lecturer of mine, Simon Kingham, who suggested the project to me. I had mentioned that I was interested in looking at how Christchurch was responding to the earthquakes. Once I looked into the project more I knew it was the internship I wanted because it would show how the urban environment has changed, and what people see as important.
Was it what you expected?
Yes and no, I knew I would spend a lot of time gathering information, I just never thought I would spend so much time on Facebook!
We essentially tasked you with a bunch of ‘detective work’ - what methods did you employ to track down all of the information, and were there any ‘jackpots’ along the way?
I started with reading Christchurch: The Transitional City Pt IV, and from there I got a good sense of the types of projects that needed to be documented. I then started finding information on the list of projects in the back of the book and then moved onto Gap Filler, Greening the Rubble, Life in Vacant Spaces and any other projects that I came across. I spent heaps of time on Facebook, I found that a lot of the time information was documented there but nowhere else. I was also lucky to get a list of projects from Life in Vacant Spaces that I could research.
The obvious question… Do you have a favourite transitional project?
My favourite would have to be the Ballerina mural on the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Photograph by Jennifer Middendorf, Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
What have you learnt and what are some things you’ll take away from this experience?
It’s been great working in an office environment, it’s very different to being a student at uni. I’ve really appreciated the routine of being at the internship and working for the whole day. I have also found out about so many transitional projects that I never even knew existed, and found out about a lot that are currently happening that I’ve since visited.
Any advice for those picking up from where you’ve left off?
Hopefully someone will be able to continue this work – it would be amazing to see all the projects that have been created. I would start with familiarising myself with the projects that have already been documented. I also created a list of starting points that I came across but ran out of time to research. I think that would be a good place to start. But mostly the more projects you try to find information on, the more projects you end up finding.
And finally, any ideas of what you’d like to do with your degree?
Not really, I’ve really enjoyed being at uni, and being back in Christchurch. After I finish I would like to work in Christchurch and see what happens with the rebuild and how transitional projects will be incorporated.
We’ve certainly enjoyed having Julie-Ann as part of the team, and it’s fantastic to have so many more temporary projects uncovered that may otherwise have been forgotten. All the best with the rest of your studies, Julie-Ann, and we look forward to seeing where they take you!