My FSJ at the Cultural Office
Anna-Ida Almus

My FSJ at the Cultural Office: Anna-Ida Almus

"When you can find your own podcast on Spotify, that's really really nice."

Anna-Ida Almus completed her FSJ Kultur at the Münsterland Cultural Office from September 2019 to August 2020. She wanted to get an insight into the world of theatre and culture during her voluntary year. She tells us in this interview whether that worked out and what else she experienced at the Kulturbüro.

Interview

What expectations did you have of your FSJ Culture?

I'll be honest now. At the beginning, I thought that I would only be allowed to make copies and coffee and that an office job was nothing for me. I realised right on my first day that this was not the case. I was allowed to come to a cultural conference in Vreden. Fittingly, there was also an extensive, cheerful breakfast with colleagues from the entire Münsterland e.V. that day. I think that describes the working atmosphere in the association quite well. It showed that prejudices really don't have to say anything about reality. (Even though on the second day I had to make coffee and set the table for the working group on culture ... as an exception. *laughs*)

What did you learn most in the cultural office?

I learned to plan my own projects and to support the projects of my colleagues, such as the Cultural Academy or the Münsterland Festival. I maintained the website of the Cultural Office and of the Regional Cultural Policy and was present at the external events throughout the region, which I personally enjoyed the most. I also learned to talk to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. Be it with international musicians, whom I picked up at the airport with a sign like in a cinema film, or with Dutch and German artists at the taNDem project. That is only a very small selection. I think I have become even more open to foreign people and new situations through the many interesting experiences. Especially the realisation of my own podcast project during the Corona pandemic showed me that you have to stay flexible because the situation can change at any time.

What was your own project?

My own project was the culture podcast "Mission White Flamingo". The podcast portrays special cultural places in the region that are somewhat off the beaten track. I wanted to introduce the creative minds behind the cultural venues. That worked out well, some cultural institutions even expressed interest on their own initiative, and I'm still doing the podcast for the cultural office after my FSJ.

What is your best memory of the FSJ?

That sounds a bit cliché, but there are really a lot. Be it events from the Münsterland Festival, field appointments with the cultural office or my podcast recordings at the local cultural institutions. My fondest memories are of the numerous conversations with colleagues at Münsterland e.V. and the opening of the Münsterland Festival, where I ran through half the city to get earplugs because the volume was so high. Of course, I also have fond memories of my very first podcast episode. If you can find your own podcast on Spotify, that's really nice.

Were you ever overwhelmed or did something go wrong?

Yes, of course. Because of the Corona pandemic, my podcast launch had to be postponed a thousand times, so I was really desperate at the end. I always tried to keep a clear head first and get an overview of the situation. If that didn't help, I asked Simone, Andre or Lars for advice. That usually helped. And if nothing helped at all, I admit it, I might have shed a few tears once or twice. But thank goodness, that rarely happened.

What went wrong was my miserable attempt to create an absence note during my leave, like all my colleagues. Apparently I clicked on something wrong. After I sent a test email and nothing happened, I turned it off again and thought that was the end of it. A short time later, my mobile phone showed me that I had several (!) new emails with the test text for the out-of-office message. Well ... I must have sent the out-of-office message to several people without context. What really worried me was the number behind the email. It said #584. I still really hope that the email didn't go out more than 584 times. At first it was really unpleasant, but now I can laugh about it.

To whom would you recommend an FSJ at the Kulturbüro Münsterland?

I can really recommend it to anyone who enjoys planning and implementing events and who likes to get in touch with people. Of course, it wouldn't be bad if he or she is interested in cultural topics.

What are you doing today?

Today I'm studying communication science and German studies and I'm currently still producing the cultural podcast "Mission Weißer Flamingo". Working in the cultural office encouraged me in my desire to study and helped me with self-management. I also really enjoy getting to know the Münsterland region through the podcast and meeting new people. In addition, I was able to make a lot of new contacts that can help me with one or two things today.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I came to the cultural office more by chance than anything else. Actually, I wanted to do an FSJ in the theatre. However, I liked the interview and the caring attitude of Andre and Lars (Simone wasn't there yet) straight away and that's why I ultimately decided against the theatre and in favour of an office where I never really wanted to work. And that was absolutely right. It was a year I never want to forget and never will. Among other things, that's why I learned to do things that might not be my first priority and to always give new things a chance.

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