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Thanks for having this discussion.
The art/design field is notorious for having unpaid interns without whom design offices could not survive. I'm in the field of architecture, and was laid off during the recession. I began teaching, and often received text messages about the latest round of layoffs at Portland design offices. Without fail, within a few weeks, these very same offices would send out emails to local design schools advertising for unpaid interns - "a great opportunity to earn school credit!" The irony is, to earn school credit, these unpaid interns would actually have to pay out of their own pocket for this "great opportunity".
Another favorite of the design world is to have a potential employee complete a design project for free - a layout, website, computer rendering - as part of the application process. If the firm decides to use the work, the applicant will be "awarded" the position.
Too many design students, young eager design professionals, and older designers who have "done their time" continue to reinforce the belief that abuse of workers- both paid and unpaid- is a fundamental rite of passage.This has always been a part of the design profession and it won't go away unless there are stricter regulations about the definition and use of an "intern".
posted 3 years ago
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