The Japanese American Service Committee (JASC) Legacy Center will offer an eight-week internship program for participants interested in developing practical public history skills in the context of a community-based archives. Over the course of the program, interns will receive instruction in essential archival research skills and essential audio and video production skills. They will then combine those skills to explore a topic related to Japanese American incarceration history and produce a short audio or video narrative, such as a podcast episode or mini documentary.
This internship program is open to anyone over the age of 18 with a demonstrated interest in Japanese American history and an interest in the academic disciplines of Public History, History Education, Communication/Media Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Asian American Studies, or allied fields. Current enrollment in an academic program is not required. While there is no upper age limit, the explicit goal of the program is to empower a new generation with both the subject matter expertise and the technical skills to pursue powerful, effective transmission of historical narratives as a means to educate and engage the broader American public
This is a paid internship experience. Each participant will receive a stipend of $1500. The JASC Legacy Center is not affiliated with any academic institution and is not able to provide academic credit for the internship.
The program will take place in person at the JASC Legacy Center, located at 4427 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640. Most scheduled program activities will take place in the morning hours (approximately 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) Mondays through Thursdays, with Fridays reserved for independent research. Participants should also plan to devote additional time outside of scheduled activities to complete assignments, conduct research, and record and edit a project.
Questions? Please see the FAQ section below. If you have a question that is not answered below, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to apply? Click here to access the online application form. Applications will be accepted through midnight on March 31, 2022. Every effort will be made to select a cohort and notify applicants by April 15, 2022.
This internship program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service under the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should apply for this program?
Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to apply, but preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate a genuine interest in Japanese American history and an interest in the academic disciplines of Public History, History Education, Communication/Media Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, or allied fields. While enrollment in an academic institution is not required, we anticipate that many applicants will be current college or university students engaged in undergraduate or graduate-level studies. Individuals taking gap years between high school and college, non-traditional students, and individuals who are not pursuing higher education are all welcome to apply, and will be evaluated by the same criteria as all other applicants.
Applicants who self-identify as belonging to a marginalized group, particularly with regard to representation in the above-mentioned fields, are especially encouraged to apply.
What does “a demonstrated interest in Japanese American history” mean?
There are many ways an applicant might demonstrate that they have a genuine interest in Japanese American history. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, taking courses in Japanese American Studies or Asian American Studies, writing research papers on Japanese American topics, attending exhibits, participating in pilgrimages, watching films, reading books, and attending community events. Applicants who are able to articulate a strong interest in the subject but have not had opportunities to explore that interest in great depth are also welcome to apply.
Is this program only for people of Japanese descent or people who can read/write the Japanese language?
No, there is no requirement that program participants be of Japanese descent or be able to read or write the Japanese language.
Is this program only for people who already know a lot about Japanese American history?
No. While applicants will be asked to demonstrate their genuine interest in Japanese American history, there is no requirement that they already possess deep subject knowledge. Those who have less background in this history will be expected to complete additional reading in preparation for the program to equip them with the necessary contextual knowledge.
Is this program only for people who already have experience with audio and video production?
No. While some past experience recording and editing audiovisual content will be helpful, there is no requirement that participants in the program already possess these skills. Instruction in basic skills will be provided, with no assumption of prior knowledge.
How many interns will be accepted?
Up to six interns will be accepted for the Summer 2022 program.
What kinds of materials will interns be working with?
Interns will have access to a wide variety of primary source materials held by the JASC Legacy Center archives. The Legacy Center’s collections include official documents, personal papers, letters, diaries, photographs, printed ephemera, artifacts, and other materials that reflect a variety of lived experiences of Japanese American individuals and families. The focus of the internship will be on materials that relate to the WWII incarceration experience and its aftermath, including resettlement in Chicago and the Japanese American redress movement.
Interns will also have access to a robust collection of published primary and secondary source materials in the JASC Legacy Center library. Additionally, interns will learn how to locate materials in digital collections held by other institutions, and may have opportunities to conduct research in other physical collections at Chicago-based institutions.
Do participants have to have their own computers, software, recording equipment, etc.?
No. While it will be helpful for participants to have access to a personal laptop, the JASC Legacy Center will provide all necessary recording equipment and editing software for successful completion of the program. At times, interns may need to work in pairs or groups, and may need to schedule time to use shared resources such as cameras and editing stations.
Who will be teaching the archival skills and audio and video production skills?
The lead instructors for this program are JASC Legacy Center Director Emma Saito Lincoln and Chicago-based filmmaker Ty Yamamoto. In addition, a diverse team of guest lecturers will share their insight and expertise.
Ms. Lincoln is a librarian with extensive experience in archival management and the preservation of the cultural record. Prior to directing the JASC Legacy Center, she was on the faculty at Augustana College, where she managed the college’s archives, local history collections, and rare book collection. She has also worked at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library and the Library of Congress. She is trained in active learning techniques for special collections, and has delivered hands-on archival instruction sessions for college students in a wide variety of subject areas.
Yamamoto Sensei is a Chicago based filmmaker with a focus on spotlighting underrepresented voices in society. His films often use experimental and DIY techniques to tell stories in an unconventional way that is meant to provoke strong emotions in the viewer. He is strongly connected to the Chicago Japanese American community through organizations such as the Japanese Culture Center, Nikkei Uprising and other community and culture focused organizations.
Is housing provided?
No. The JASC Legacy Center is unable to provide housing or assistance locating housing. Program participants will be responsible for securing their own housing and transportation for the duration of the program.
Those in need of short-term, temporary housing for the duration of the internship may be interested in the summer housing programs offered by the University of Illinois – Chicago, Loyola University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago:
Is the stipend enough to cover living expenses in Chicago for two months?
It depends on individual circumstances, but in most cases the stipend will not be enough to cover two months’ worth of living expenses in Chicago. For those who require additional financial support to cover rent, food, transportation, and other expenses, you may be able to secure funding through your academic institution or a private foundation.
Will it be possible to work while participating in the program?
Yes. The internship program has been designed to allow room for part-time employment for those who need to supplement the stipend with outside income. Most scheduled program activities will take place in the morning hours (approximately 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) Mondays through Thursdays, with Fridays reserved for independent research. Participants should also plan to devote additional time outside of scheduled activities to complete assignments, conduct research, and record and edit a project. With careful planning, it should be possible to work in the afternoons, evenings, and/or weekends while still satisfying the requirements of the internship program.
What will happen to the podcast episodes or mini documentaries created by interns?
All content created during the internship program will become a permanent part of the JASC Legacy Center’s holdings. The Legacy Center will bear responsibility for preserving the content and making it accessible to the public.
Additionally, a public screening event will be held at the end of the internship program to showcase the work. Interns will be expected to participate in the screening event and to speak publicly about their internship experience.