03 Dec THE MINDS BEHIND MUSE
With a 90+ person team this year, MUSE is a huge club that includes multiple different portfolios such as online, editorial, creative, and business. In each portfolio, you can find inspiring individuals, working tirelessly on both our online website and our print issue (or digital magazine this year). There is so much passion that goes into each article, photoshoot, layout page, and video.
This year in particular has truly been the ultimate curve-ball for our team as we have been forced to take our creativity online. Although it has been isolating and hard to navigate these confusing and unprecedented times, our team has risen above it all and created our first digital issue – ISSUE XXI — Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
A week after our launch, we thought we’d give you a little inside view and introduce you to the leaders of our team. These individuals are the planners, the organizers, the delegators and the architects of MUSE’s success.
Editor in Chief – 4th year Global Development
You are the editor-in-chief for MUSE’s first digital issue! How do you feel? How has this year been different than others and how have you helped your team adapt/navigate such strange times?
I feel really happy and really proud! I truly think Issue XXI is like none that I have ever seen and I am so grateful to the team for pulling it off. It genuinely broke my heart not to be able to get the whole team together to really express how grateful I am to every single one of them for all their hard work. I miss having our in-person meetings and events a lot and I would say not having that has been the biggest adjustment. To navigate it, I’ve tried to encourage adaptability and preparedness. We have definitely gotten used to living in a pandemic, but are still operating in ever-changing circumstances and as a team, we have to be prepared for everything. This is really hard, but I have definitely learned a lot from operating this way that I will carry beyond the pandemic and I hope others have too.
You’ve been on MUSE for (almost) four years now, how has the club influenced your undergrad experience and helped you grow as a person?
MUSE has definitely been the most significant part of my undergrad. I started as Head of Events in 2018 when I was in first year, and when I started in that role, I had truly NO CLUE what I was doing and felt like a failure a lot of the time. Despite shaky beginnings, being on MUSE for so long in different leadership roles has really helped me to develop my confidence. I went from being someone who was too scared to delegate tasks to my team because I didn’t feel comfortable telling people what to do to feeling that my thoughts and ideas are valuable and sometimes even good. Now in my fourth year, I feel like I know what I’m doing and who I am, and I can thank MUSE for that.
What distinguishes MUSE from other clubs on campus? Why do you think it is special?
To me, MUSE is about each person’s individuality and what makes them special. I hope that each of our editorial shoots highlight the personalities of our models, photographers, and creative team and that our writers feel that they can showcase themselves and their talents in our articles. Like every club, we are working towards a common goal, but I think that what distinguishes us is the fact that we aim to highlight what each person has to offer on an individual level, rather than operating as something monolithic.
What is your muse?
My muse is other people. I get my best ideas and have the most incredible experiences when I’m surrounded by others, whether they be friends, family, or the MUSE team. So many times, I’ve thought I had a good idea and it’s become 2000x better after talking it through in our Heads meetings and hearing from everyone else. Or, I think one thing about a personal situation and after talking it through with my housemates, have a totally different perspective. The thing that I am most looking forward to about life post-pandemic is the opportunity to have the kinds of inspiring conversations that are too few and far between on Zoom.
Creative Director – 4th year Psychology
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from your work on MUSE?
Honestly, the best compliments I receive are when people tell me they had a really fun time shooting with me. My biggest goal for every set and shoot that I’m on is to make it a really welcoming and fun environment for everyone, so when people tell me that they had a lot of fun it makes me happy. Whether it’s the model, photographer, videographer, makeup artist, whoever, I want everyone to walk away from the experience happy and like they just contributed in a really meaningful way. There is always a certain amount of stress leading up to shoots and projects, making sure everything goes well and is in place, but once they start I want everyone to leave that behind and just enjoy creating together. Because we’re all students, and young and joined together by a need and desire to create, I want to make sure that we’re all as open as possible- that’s always where the magic happens.
How has your creative aesthetic evolved during your time on MUSE?
I think I’ve been pretty open actually since starting on MUSE in terms of what aesthetics I choose to employ and am drawn towards, but I have definitely found myself trending towards a more minimal aesthetic recently. This sounds so annoying and cliche, but I’m really enjoying the flexibility that minimalism lends to photos in terms of what the audience gets out of it. When everything is laid out in a really precise and seemingly prescribed way, filled with detail, I sometimes find that it causes people to disengage from the work if they can tell exactly what the creative wanted for them to take away from the shoot. I really enjoy playing around with allowing a lot of space for how my work is interpreted, and I think using minimalist aesthetics is the way in which I do this the best. While I can appreciate shoots and projects that are done with the primary focus on aesthetics and looks, I always take away more when a piece demands thought from the audience. These minimal and open ended pieces also stick with me for much longer than those whose focus is primarily aesthetic qualities.
Sources: Top: Ben Evans-Duran, Middle: Brianna Horton & Simon Crete, Bottom: Maya Ginzburg, Chanel Romeo & Joseph Oladimeji
How do you and your team ensure that the photographer you are working with conveys your vision?
This is a hard one, because it’s different for every creative, photographer and shoot. Sometimes it can be so kismet with everyone instantaneously sharing and working towards the same vision, but this doesn’t always happen- which isn’t a bad thing! From the conceptualization to execution of projects, communication between creatives and photographers is key. When communication is lacking, people can get frustrated, and visions muddled, purely because there may be a lack of understanding of each other’s thinking. If you openly talk with your team from the outset, then everyone can get on the same page, as well as bounce ideas off each other to advance the initial vision. Our best work as a creative team never comes from just one mind, in my opinion. The best works I have seen myself and my team produce are always the shoots where you can tell that the photos are the product of a collaborative process.
What is your muse?
I have 100 different answers to this question, but I think the most encompassing one I can give is authenticity in self expression. That sounds really cheesy, but I am constantly finding myself inspired by seeing people who are unashamedly themselves, because that is really at the root of creativity and creative innovation. I love seeing the infinite number of ways that people engage in self expression, whether it’s through clothes, expressing interests or passions, creating art, or how you engage with others. No matter what form it comes in, it always inspires me to consider my own self expression and how I can infuse myself into my work.
Business Director – 4th year Economics
As someone trying to pursue a career in tech and business, what made you want to be the business director of MUSE in particular? What is unique about being the business director of MUSE as opposed to a different economics or commerce club?
What attracted me to MUSE in particular was the wide array of projects I’d have the opportunity to work on, and all the incredibly talented people I’d get to work with & learn from. Over the course of the past few years at Queen’s I’ve participated in various Economics/Business clubs, however I never had the chance to intertwine what I was passionate about and what I was good at. Being the Business Director at MUSE has allowed me to tap into my creative side and work on certain portfolios that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to in a more corporate-focused club.
What is one thing that people don’t know about you and how has it uniquely helped you in your role on MUSE?
One thing people may not know about me is that I’m a second generation immigrant! My parents were both born and raised in Iran, and moved to Canada in their mid-twenties to raise my brother and I. This has been especially important to me growing up because I’ve always been encouraged to value my roots and work hard for everything I want. I’ve seen my parents move to a completely foreign country with very little in their pockets and work extremely hard for everything they now have, which engraved an appreciation for hard-work and commitment in me as a young child. Coming from a culturally diverse background, and being fluent in three languages, has given me the unique opportunity to work and connect with a wide array of individuals. Over the past two decades, I’ve met and collaborated with so many fascinating people (including the entire team at MUSE), and they’ve all played a large role in teaching me new things and guiding me to do what I love.
You were on an internship last year at Microsoft (Congrats!!!), what is one big lesson you learned from the experience?
Walking through the doors on my first day at Microsoft was intimidating to say the least. I was nervous, worried, anxious, and scared that I wasn’t qualified or that I would make some sort of mistake. Fast forward 12-months and I felt the same way stepping in as the Business Director for MUSE. Every time you start something new, whether it’s a school club or a full-time job, there are going to be doubts and you’re likely going to be scared. What I’ve learned from each opportunity is that everyone fails, it’s simply a matter of failing fast and getting back on your feet. Over the course of my one-year internship at Microsoft, I learned more than I have in 10 years of schooling. At MUSE, I’ve gotten the chance to listen and learn about creative work that I never would’ve previously. All of these scary moments turn out to be the biggest learning opportunities you’ll have in your life, and if you can simply rewire your brain to trust yourself and your ability to succeed, then, as cheesy as it may sound, you can achieve anything you want.
What is your muse?
Love this question, especially since everyone’s answers are so subjective. My current and most influential MUSE is the unknown. Whether you’re an artist, scientist, fashion designer or biologist – there is so much in our universe that is yet to be discovered/created, and I believe that so much inspiration can be drawn from what we don’t know and are willing to explore. New trends, new species, new technology, new architecture – whatever it may be, the ability to admit ignorance and try new things, free of doubt or judgement, is beautiful to me. Once we’re able to admit that we aren’t perfect, don’t know everything and likely never will; this is when we’ll hatch the most beautiful creations, both internally and externally.
Online Director – 4th year Global Development
What is your favourite thing about the online portfolio of MUSE?
I truly believe that MUSE is such a special club as it provides a platform for creativity and expression. In particular, I love the Online portfolio because our website is a safe space to discuss everything and anything. Serious articles regarding political issues are placed beside relatable narratives recounting common university experiences. All of these diverse voices that MUSE showcases foster a sense of community at Queen’s and allows students to find commonalities and reassurance that others feel similarly to them.
Before I ever applied to MUSE I used to religiously read the website and I loved it so much because it reminded me that other people were going through the same things as me. Undergrad is hard and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had their fair share of failures and bad days, but with social media it is so easy to gloss it all over and showcase your highlight reel. However, in first year as I read the articles on the MUSE website, I read stories where people openly discussed their struggles, their mistakes, and their successes. I found the transparency inspiring and it grounded me realizing that I was not alone. There were other people who also had imposters syndrome, found it hard to find a balance, and had no clue what they were doing after school.
This is what is so special about MUSE online – it brings people together. It is inclusive, relatable, and personable. It showcases real stories, of real students, failing, loving, laughing and all of the above. MUSE online truly provides a little something for everyone.
Your team has been working since the Spring, through quarantine and so many other extenuating circumstances. What are you most proud of your team for this year?
I have been so blown away by my team this year and I am so proud of everything we have accomplished. I think I am most proud of my team of being so creative and innovative and constantly pushing the boundaries. We have had so many interesting theme weeks and have collaborated with the Creative team on so many incredible projects.
In the Spring we had a COVID-19 theme week where we executed our first Facetime photoshoot.
Pictured: Ben Evans-Duran, Brianna Horton and Nicolette Shwarzman
Then in June we had our first Pride Week ever where we featured seven days of LGBTQIA2+ content and had incredible writers takeover our platform. Every single article for the Pride Week was articulate, interesting, and beautiful. I learned so much from our Pride Week and hope it becomes an annual MUSE tradition!
Video by Ashley Cowie and Erica Giustiniani
Since then our writers have done everything from writing about politics, to art, to entertainment, to fashion trends, to personal narratives that are vulnerable and honest. They have included their personal histories and weaved portions of themselves into each article. Additionally, we have had an unparalleled amount of collaborations with Kingston bands and small businesses. Ultimately, everyday when I open our website and read the new article that came out I am inspired and impressed.
What is one goal that you have for next semester?
One thing that I think our team really wants to work on is diversity and inclusivity. Obviously that is a very contemporary topic that a lot of publications are working on and I think it is very easy to seem performative. However, MUSE is such a wonderful publication with a great platform and I think it is imperative that we leverage it to amplify a wide array of voices. We started to do that with our content during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, but I want to make sure that we go beyond our content in the Summer.
Next semester I want to work on reaching out to other clubs and initiatives to lend our platform to others. In January we have an Indigenous awareness week scheduled so I think that will be a really exciting initiative to look out for! In general, if you, your friends, your club or anyone you know would like to contribute a new perspective to MUSE please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your muse?
My muse is life. It is as simple as my morning cup of coffee to huge monumental life events. The small, the big, and everything in between inspires me. Loving, laughing, crying, anxiety – it is all part of life and in different ways each emotion inspires me.
Head Editor – 4th year Economics
Words are extremely powerful and can be used to incite change, inspire others and tell incredible stories – how do you think MUSE issue XXI does this?
Every year MUSE’s selected print articles always do an incredible job of showcasing the written talents of students at Queen’s. I think that what makes this year different is how much turmoil has gone on in the world in such a short period of time, and how it has affected all of us as individuals. The articles in this issue are especially powerful because of the subject matters they tackle, the research that was undertaken, and the unparalleled ability of the writers to share what they have experienced and learned. Although I am also a fan of lighthearted articles, the articles in this issue address and analyze events, movements, and personal experiences that, in some cases, may even be difficult to talk about. I personally believe that words are never truly representative of how you feel, but that they do act as a universal vessel for understanding, and in some cases hopefully act as a way to inspire empathy and growth. I am very proud of this issue’s writers for their hard work and candor, and this year’s editors for helping create this amazing final product.
What is your greatest strength in your role as an editor?
I really like to hear from my team! I think that communication is vital, especially when you’re working in editing where there are so many small things to notice, like punctuation or the order of words in a sentence. I also encourage clear communication between the writers and the section editors – I think this is an extremely important part of getting a final product that everyone is happy with. In the end, the editing team needs to work together, so I really try and establish a friendly and approachable environment so that the team is comfortable asking questions and asking for feedback.
Your major, economics, is quite different from your role as head editor on MUSE. What made you want to join MUSE’s editorial section, opposed to business or finance?
Make no mistake, I’m definitely someone who enjoys the math and logic that comes with economics, however, I love being a part of something that pushes the limits of creativity. I love to read and write, and I wanted to work in a section that allowed me to be involved in the creative writing process, as I simultaneously work on very quantitative-based material in my classes. I really love the process of selecting articles and working with the section editors and writers to make the written content the best it can be. I also think it provides me with a different kind of skill set than if I were in a business or finance position, because my sole focus is on the written content. I love being able to work with different parts of my brain, like the logical and the creative, and I’m grateful to MUSE for giving me the opportunity to use the latter.
What is your muse?
For me, my muse comes from constantly questioning the world around me, and being open to things I am unfamiliar with. I am also someone who tends to internalize things that inspire me. For example, I read some of the Sherlock Holmes books and then watched the BBC television show, and then went on to spend a month reading about and studying deduction theory, because I was so inspired by its representation in the books and in the show. I also find my muse in observation, especially observing other people around me and listening to what they have to say. Since joining the MUSE team over a year ago, I have met so many amazing and interesting people that inspire me to think about things from different perspectives.
Head of Photography – 4th year Film
How have you navigated socal distanced shoots?
Having socially-distant shoots has definitely been a challenge this year but I think that despite all of the rules put in place, it’s resulted in myself and my team to think in the most innovative way possible. If anything it’s inspired a new wave of thinking which truly helped to expand our repertoire as artists. I still miss taking group shots with multiple models, but in a way I’ve learned how to work around the restrictions and come out of the setbacks… this whole process has instilled so much improvement in my creative vision – which is genuinely the greatest gift one can receive as an artist.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – Do you think this saying is true? How does this relate to your work?
I think that there are different styles of photographs that elicit either deep meaning or may just be visually appealing. I do believe that there are some photographers whose work is unable to convey meaning using words, where I find myself lost in translation. I feel that my own work within Muse can be mostly fashion-photography based, so I tend to focus more on costume design or makeup rather than instil deeply-founded meaning. Sometimes it’s best not to try and explain creativity, but rather enjoy and breathe into the artistry.
Whose work has influenced you the most – how has this influenced your shoot process, perspective and photography method?
Most of the photographers influencing my work have come from editorials on i-D magazine and through fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Jaquemus. There are probably a variety of different creators working within each portfolio, yet I find the perspectives remain the same across the board; edgy and forward-thinking. These are the portfolio’s that I aspire towards and strive for my photography to reach the same style. Here are some examples:
What is your muse?
To me, great photography is one that is thought-provocative… where there’s more to the image than just a “good aesthetic”. I love a photo where I’m able to stare at the artwork in awe. So I’d say that my muse is stumbling upon these hidden gems; either by a local artist or on an Instagram page. Art that makes you think in new ways.
Check out Nicolette’s amazing photography at: @nicolette.shwarzman
Head of Videography – 4th year Media and Performance Production
What got you started into videography? Why videos instead of a different medium of expression?
I’ve always really enjoyed films as a kid, I found I would fully immerse myself in the stories and the world that the film created. I honestly never considered going into film or media production until I took a visual arts course in grade 11, and then went to the Savannah College of Art and Design the following summer. My art teacher has assigned us a really simple piece based off of a local artist in Ottawa who matched raw videos to sounds. Our assignment was to create these 30 second videos with whatever captivated us in our surroundings – it could be anything. I really went off in that project I think I did like 8 videos when you were only supposed to do 3, I found it really satisfying. I kept creating these videos and eventually used them to apply to SCAD for one of their summer courses. I luckily got in and was able to expand on my skills while I was there, and meet a ton of artsy people who thought the same way as I did – kind of like Muse x10.
I always gravitated towards video because I’m not the best writer – well I can do good work but it just takes me a lot longer. I find it’s easier to communicate a message through visuals, easier for people to connect to and relate to. There’s no limits in how you can express yourself through film. I’ve also been quite involved in other forms of art besides film and I always had trouble choosing which one to focus on. I just find you can combine different art forms within filmmaking, it allows you to explore them all through this one medium.
What is the most important element of a video/film?
Honestly I think that depends on the message you’re trying to get across, but for me it would probably be creating an emotional connection between the subject and the audience. I find this is best done through simple yet powerfully framed shots and a fitting soundtrack – even if it’s silence. I like films that make you think, that are seemingly simple but there’s a hidden message or motif throughout – films that make you reflect a little. Everyone has their own style when it comes to film, as long as there’s heart put into it I think that’s the most important thing.
What is your muse?
Film is all about perspective, and my parents have influenced me the most when it comes to how I see the world and approach tricky situations. They came from very different backgrounds and faced different challenges throughout their lives growing up. They’re also almost complete opposites which makes it even more interesting when I see myself in both of them. My dad is the best. He has taught me so much about what it means to be a thoughtful person and I believe he is the best example of what it means to be a kind-hearted human being. He is always positive and helping others, even if there’s not enough hours in the day, he will make time for you. My mom is also amazing. She is the strongest person I know, I probably wouldn’t be at Queen’s if she hadn’t picked me up off the ground every time I fell down. She keeps me in check, reminding me that seemingly big problems are just a bump in the road and that it’s okay to show yourself some compassion too. She’s the rock of our family – and she is funny too (I think she’d get mad if I didn’t mention that). I’m lucky enough to have a great step father as well. His work ethic is something that I have always admired – I hope to learn a lot from him. He gave me the greatest advice when I needed it most, to paraphrase – where my life goes is up to me and nobody else. All together, I’m grateful to have parents that inspire, ground, and provide me with balance, in how I see the world.
Check out Erica’s incredible videography at @editsbyericag
Head of Layout – 4th year Commerce
What is the aspect of layout that you give highest priority to and why?
The part I give highest priority for the layout of the magazine is definitely the design guide we use! So before we get started with making any article or editorial layouts, we decide on a few fonts and colours to use so make sure that the entire magazine is cohesive and consistent. After you make that, it’s easier to split up roles and trust that the rest of the team will make layouts that all look like they belong within one magazine!
If you were a font what would you be and why?
Neutral Face – it’s a really simple sans serif font but it has a few playful characters hidden in it (like that e in the screenshot below). I think that just about covers my personality!
What is your favourite magazine in terms of layout and design and why? – Show us a favourite page!
Paradiso Magazine- I think they do a great job at keeping up with current design trends without losing their own brand identity. You can always look at their magazine and know it’s theirs, without the colours and fonts for an issue feeling outdated at release.
From Issue 11- October 2019
From Issue 12- February 2020
What is your muse?
I think a lot of my inspiration comes from my heritage! I notice I almost always accidentally tie in East-Asian colours, and illustration into a lot of the individual work I do – maybe because it’s easier to identify with. With this issue especially, there were a lot of articles about family, struggles with identity, and culture so being trying to emulate those feelings for other people was really interesting.
Head of Marketing – 4th year
What is so special about MUSE to you, how did you get involved and why?
MUSE has truly been one of the greatest parts of my university experience. MUSE is special because of the people. They are genuinely some of the kindest, hardest working people that I know. The people that have guided me and taught me all these years I am so thankful for. I got started with MUSE when I was a fresh first year student. I was really struggling with the adjustment, I didn’t know many people, I didn’t like my floor and I wanted something to drive me. I started as a frosh representative/intern and then from second year onwards I have been on the marketing team. I am so lucky that I was given this opportunity, I have gained so much work experience in a field I am passionate about and like I said, the people have been incredible. Now as Head of Marketing, in my final year, I hope that my team feels like they can learn from me and improve with me on this journey. Especially now, navigating this crazy year, I think it is so special that MUSE is continuing to work hard despite the many challenges we have faced. I am very lucky!
Where do you draw inspiration from, and what are your three favourite social media accounts and why?
I am a huge social media buff, obviously or I wouldn’t be in marketing, but I definitely have some favorites that other people at Queen’s and elsewhere should look at. One of my first favorites would have to be Glossier (@glossier), they have done such an incredible job building their brand. Before I even knew that I would be doing any sort of marketing work, Glossier’s social media definitely had an impact on me. Their aesthetic as a company and as a brand is so clear and beautiful. Their colour palette, their simplicity and diversity, it is all so perfect to me, and I love the products, who doesn’t?! Another social media account that I love is The Refinery (@therefinerykingston). Not only do I love their account, but I love them because they are a small business in our community. They have come such a long way and their social media is so beautiful to look at, it’s clean, simplistic, and soothing. I think that good social media, and knowing who you want to attract is crucial, The Refinery’s whole vibe, especially their setting and advertising is so appealing to me. Lastly, I have to give a huge shoutout to Maggie (@maggiezine), their social media is so epic. I love them first of all because they are fellow MUSE alum and it is honestly so refreshing and comforting to see people come through this and out the other side being so successful. Their social media is filled with beautiful photographs and artwork, and even really important infographics. I love them and I love their social media even more, go check them all out.
Sources: Left: @therefinerykingston, Middle: @maggiezine, Right: @glossier
We know that you enjoy marketing, but what are you taking at Queen’s and how are they similar and/or different ? What is the plan after you graduate this year?
I am currently in my fourth and final year at Queen’s and I am a Gender Studies student. When I started my degree I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I probably still don’t but I have loved my degree honestly. The work that I do is work that I am passionate about and it matters. I don’t think a lot of people can truthfully say that they enjoy school, but I really do. I wouldn’t have changed anything in the last four years of my undergrad. When I graduate, who knows what the world will look like but after working with MUSE for this long, I would love to get a job in marketing or PR. I want to apply what I have learned in my degree and combine that with my skills and experience with MUSE to work for a company that values those assets and my beliefs. I never thought about marketing as a serious career path, but the last few years have changed my mindset completely. I was always a creative kid and I have lots of fun art hobbies on the side to keep me sanity in check, but now it seems possible for me to utilize those in a job setting. I have a fun little graphic art account that I am just starting, feel free to check it out @erin_jane_art. However, before I do all that, this girl wants to travel, hopefully the world will open up again soon!!
What is your muse?
There are so many things and people that inspire me, but if I had to pick one muse, it would be my mom. A muse is something or someone that drives you and inspires you to do better. Everything I do, I do with her in the back of my head. She has taught me so many valuable life lessons and I don’t really know who I would be if it weren’t for her. She is my biggest cheerleader in everything I do and she is constantly raising the bar and challenging me to do the same. Her work ethic is unlike anything I have seen. She is a boss at work and at home, a balance that is extremely challenging. I have come from a huge family and if my mother taught me anything, it is that you can do both and you can succeed in both. I plan to have a huge family and be a business owner one day. It is good to have dreams right? My mother certainly thinks so! The best part is that I know my mom is a muse for so many other people because the work that she does is so remarkable, and that really is so special to me.
Head of Events – 4th year Gender Studies
With COVID-19 it makes it a lot harder to have events as they all need to be remote and virtual. How have you and your team adapted to this new reality?
Transitioning to an online model has certainly been a challenge for the events team this year. As virtual life is a reality for those across the MUSE community, we have been working hard to produce exciting and accessible events! We are lucky enough to be surrounded by so many clubs who are facing the same issues we are. It has been very helpful to collaborate with like-minded groups in order to reach a broader audience for our virtual events. Marketing to double the follower base helps us maintain a good number of attendees. Our team is already working hard to curate even better events for 2021, building on all that we have learned about COVID safe events this semester. Keep an eye out for some very exciting things!!!
What makes a good event?
The ways I could answer this question are truly endless as there are so many things that contribute to a “good” event. Technical aspects such as venue, catering, atmosphere and even the attendees themselves can all contribute to producing what one may consider a good event. It’s certainly what people first think of when asked “how was the event last night?”.
When working on an event for MUSE my team obviously aims for the technical aspects to be top notch, but what I really aim to do is to make an event memorable for the attendee. How did our event make a guest feel during/after attending? If someone can identify how they felt at an event I’ve organized, I consider that a “good” or “successful” event. A good event is one that leaves people with a lasting impression, and therefore wanting more from your organization, or in our case, magazine!
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
As someone who thrives on social interaction, positive connections and strong relationships, I have found myself drawn to new and exciting opportunities to engage with people. I found my place on the events team due to this aspect of my personality and have loved growing my network through the MUSE community. A compliment I received a little over a year ago affirmed my choice to follow this path, and create a life surrounding it. A role model of mine told me; “the world needs more bright spirits and big smiles and people who hug with their whole hearts like you do”. I often think of this compliment whilst working on projects with my team. I consider how I can use curated events as a tool to improve someone’s experience on the Queen’s campus and make the MUSE community available to them. I feel as though this compliment has driven me to excel in my events position, encouraging me to spread happiness and positivity in my everyday life.
What is your muse?
When seeking inspiration, I often look to the people I hold closest, my friends! I am fortunate enough to have an amazing group of people around me who are all very unique. When I am feeling uninspired, I look to them to see what they are doing in their day to day lives. Have they picked up a new hobby? Bought a new book? Decided to embrace a new fashion trend? I love to take little bits and pieces from their lives and use it to not only reinspire me, but also to become closer to them as well! Whether it be personal, school or work related I find spending time with the people I love gives me a fresh perspective on any situation. They motivate me every day and help push me to continue growing into the best version of myself!
Head of Finance and Sponsorship – 4th year Applied Economics
All of MUSE’s sponsors are local businesses in Kingston that you and your team have sought out and built connections with. Why do you think this is particularly important this year with the pandemic? How do you think MUSE is helping to foster relationships between the Queen’s community and the overall Kingston community?
Maintaining a strong relationship with Kingston businesses was a really important goal this semester. I wasn’t sure what the landscape of sponsorship was going to look for MUSE this year given covid, but the response we have had so far has been incredible. I think this is a testament to both the hard work of my team, but also the longstanding relationship MUSE has forged with downtown Kingston over the years.
Listening to, and being able to adapt to the needs of various businesses is key to building these strong relationships. MUSE offers a range of advertising packages, at various price points. We also have so much talent on MUSE and make sure it is reflected in our sponsorship opportunities. Just recently we organized a photoshoot for Balzac’s winter menu – a project that involves not only the sponsorship team, but creative, marketing, and online! So many creative and hardworking people are involved in making sponsored content happen and I think that’s what really sets MUSE apart in the sponsorship game.
I know this has been a tough year for small businesses, so I am truly grateful to be able to continue working with local Kingston businesses this year.
How has MUSE pushed you out of your comfort zone and been a learning experience this year?
I’ve learned a lot since becoming the Head of Finance and Sponsorship in May. Specifically, how interconnected my role is with other members of the exec. Layout helps with putting the ads in the magazine, tech with banner ads, marketing with promoting partners on social media, and online and creative with producing sponsored content. MUSE pushes me out of my comfort zone because it requires me to constantly extend outside of my finance/sponsorship bubble, whether that be with other teams on MUSE or with businesses. When I first started on MUSE as a sponsorship coordinator in the fall of 2019, I felt pretty nervous about reaching out to businesses. I didn’t have the most or quite frankly any experience with sponsorship. But over the past year and half I feel that I’ve really grown into the role. I feel confident when meeting with potential sponsors and working with other members of MUSE. And because of this I feel like I’m able to be a good leader for my sponsorship team as well.
As an applied economics major MUSE seems like a unique choice for extracurriculars. Why do you think creativity is needed in other professions and faculties?
Creativity is needed in every profession and faculty. Creativity isn’t just about making art. It’s also about thinking on your feet, adapting to new circumstances, and having an open mind. Those are attributes everybody should aim to have. In economics for example I have to be able to take what I learn in class and apply it to more complex scenarios. That requires a great deal of adaptation and willingness to approach problems from different angles. The answer isn’t always obvious, and that’s where creativity comes in. I learn the most when I have to get creative.
What is your muse?
The things that inspire me most are honestly pretty simple. This is something I realized when I took a gap year. Travelling in Southeast Asia I was never worrying about academic or career goals – I was honestly just living life in the moment! And that was really cool. So while I am definitely a very goal orientated person, my muses are really just the everyday moments that make me happy: seeing friends, playing tennis, going for walks, listening to music…that kind of stuff! Anything that can make my day a little brighter inspires me.
Chief Tech Officer – 4th year Computing
You moved majors from political science to computer science? Why and how was the process of change?
While moving to computer science was something I would never have imagined myself doing in first year, it felt very natural when the time came.The choice mainly came down to the creativity and ability to build things that came along with computing. I found more joy in building a program than I did in writing essays for politicals. Once I realized this, I made up my mind pretty quickly about changing majors.
We know you have various tech roles throughout the Queen’s community – how has being the Chief Technology Officer for MUSE been different from other roles you have or have had?
The main difference between MUSE and other roles I have in the community would have to be the trust Muse has given me in managing the website as well as the development of the MUSE mobile app. Especially with the mobile app, MUSE has given me the opportunity to assemble an amazing team of developers to build the app from the ground up, and I’m excited to see what we produce.
This is the first digital issue for MUSE which is a huge milestone. How do you think technology has changed creativity and what does creativity look like in a digital age?
I’m a strong believer that technology and creativity go hand in hand. Technology gives us the ability to better adapt and overcome challenges we face. It offers amazing and new avenues for expression that we might have never imagined, and I feel that the MUSE’s first digital issue is a great example of this.
What is your muse?
I’d say there are two main things. The first is music. My taste in music is always changing, but I find that regardless of the artist or genre, when I hear a sick chord progression, melody, or an overall good song, it always inspires me. Second would have to be the people around me. Seeing my friends and family succeed inspires me to be the best version of myself.