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08 April 2024

Festival offers hands-on internship opportunity for students

A group of students from the Department of Political Economy were invited to join the organising team for a new conference.

Some of the students who took up posts at this year's Weekend of Mistakes. Picture: MANAN MITTAL

The Weekend of Mistakes took place in March at Hay Castle, Wales, and brought together a line-up of economists, historians and financial experts to offer guests insights from the past and highlight lessons for the future.

Assisting festival organisers with the running of the event was a group of eight students from the department, who were invited to take up internship positions. During the festival, the students were invited to fulfil a series of roles including event photographer, researcher, artist liaison, steward, rapporteur, and assistant to the event director.

The interns were also able to attend the talks and network with both guests and speakers.

The Weekend of Mistakes was run by the Edinburgh-based charity, Library of Mistakes, which is dedicated to learning the lessons from financial history.

Here is what our students made of the experience:

Piriyanga Sivagajan

“During my time as an event researcher and artist liaison, I found myself immersed in a world of intellectual exploration and creative exchange. Working alongside leading authors, I delved into multi-faceted subjects ranging from the intricacies of the energy transition to the ethical dilemmas of banking, and even the cunning deceptions of con artists. It was a privilege to glean insights directly from their books and works, broadening my understanding and perspective. Furthermore, the Weekend of Mistakes festival provided invaluable networking opportunities, allowing me to connect with both established authors and peers alike.”

Isabelle Bensmail

“Immersing myself in the Weekend of Mistakes as an event rapporteur proved to be an impactful and enriching experience. The close-knit and informal atmosphere really facilitated vibrant interaction with speakers, audience members, and interns, is which I faced diverse perspectives. This hands-on role served as an ideal training for my journalism aspirations, allowing me to refine interview techniques and gain valuable knowledge from engaging sessions with experts.

“The privileged front-row seating provided an perfect perspective of each session, while the focused attention required for accurate reporting significantly deepened my understanding of financial history. I recommend this experience to anyone seeking personal and professional growth within a dynamic and stimulating environment.”

Manan Mittal

“It was intellectually stimulating to work with leading authors like Alice Sherwood and Anja Shortland for the last three months to curate the event that lasted for three enriching days. The highlight of the event was the talks by various industry leaders like Russell Napier, George Littlejohn, Herman Brodie, Jared Bibler and various other professionals. It was also very interesting learning about things like the Icelandic bank failures, what influences con-men, learning from past financial mistakes of others, the truth about interest rates, analysis of the Silicon Valley bank collapse, increasing tensions in Europe with nationalistic financial planning clashing with the ECB and much more.”