2020 Research Interns reflect on the experience

In 2019 I started my summer internship at the Tower of Babel Internship. I didn’t wholly know what the experience would be like, but I was ready to take on whatever was thrown my way. Throughout my two years I have spent my time organizing and filing Cuban material history such as fashion, household wares, political paraphernalia, and much more. While classifying these objects I have been able to delve deeper into the usage and underlying messages ingrained in their history, many times spending an hour reading up on the origin of a specific object and learning more about other subjects than I could have ever expected. This year I was even given reading material that helped me better categorize and comprehend the importance of objects to material history, and understand abstract concepts based on how objects fit into different collections of items based on their duality. The best part of this experience is its give and take nature in which the effort you give in directly results in how much you benefit from it. All in all, I have learned so much from working at the Tower of Babel Internship and can not wait to learn more next summer.

Lila del Risco

As an aspiring art/art history student, I found this internship to be enlightening in a number of ways, both from the delve into museum curation and item cataloguing, to the fascinating look at how deeply objects and “things” are rooted in history and the development of societies governments, and power. This experience made me even more deeply interested in the further context of art history and material history. By looking at the context in which things are made and/or circulated in a particular place and time, we can extrapolate their meanings, and learn information about that place and time that we might otherwise not have access to. This is at the core of art and material history, and the reason I am so fascinated in both. The curation of collections is also very important in the world of art. Both of these were important themes in the Tower of Babel Internship, and were fascinating topics to delve into that gave me a deeper understanding of my career as an artist/art historian.

Sam Gomez
2020 research interns

2020 Research Interns

Our Tower of Babel 2020 Research Interns are:

Lila del Risco, 12th grade, Hight Tech High School of Hudson Country, Secaucus, NJ — Lila was born in West New York, NJ, and wants to be doctor.

Sam Gomez, 12th grade, The Chapin School, New York, NY — Sam was born in Havana, Cuba, and wants to be an artist and writer.

Mariana Flor, 11th grade, Union City High School, Union City, NJ — Mariana was born in Miami, FL and wants to study design.

2020 Research and Collection Building Internship

Cultural Curation Internship | The Cuba Material Project

About Cuba Material

Cuba Material is a digital archive and a collection of Cuban material culture. It comprises objects, documents and textiles imported to or produced in Cuba during the Cold War era, namely after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. In 2014, Cuba Material was awarded the New Challenge Award for Social Innovation by the New School for Social Research.

About the Internship

High-school students who are proficient in Spanish are invited to apply for an internship focused on the ongoing development of Cuba Material. The intern will be responsible for classifying, recording, cataloging, and researching objects in the Cuba Material collection. Interns will develop an understanding for the classification of objects and collections; be exposed to the practices of a nonprofit organization; get first-hand experience on practices of collection-keeping, classification, and maintenance; learn about twentieth-century Cuban history and culture, and expand their Spanish vocabulary.

Time Commitment Required

Applicants must be able to commit to working approximately 30 hours per week, at least 20 of them at the Tower of Babel offices.

How to Apply

Applicants are asked to submit a résumé and short cover letter indicating general availability and relevant areas of interest. To apply, or for application support, please contact María A. Cabrera Arús at [email protected].