Alright Sylvia, I’ve fallen off the blog bandwagon and it’s only been one week. I blame Canada Day and a series of other events, but I am back again and sticking to my commitment – to share moments, experiences, desires and other fleeting thoughts. Today (and lately often), I am thinking about politics.
Chalk it up to an adolescence spent reading the morning papers over breakfast with my parents, a few inspirational journalism teachers or a moment when something ‘clicked’. As I have spent the past 10 years working and volunteering in between studying away throughout my early 20’s, it seems as though my experiences, combined with an upbringing in rural conservative (but overall fairly liberal) Canada have resulted in a strong desire to do something. Make something. Improve something. Change some things.
I have spent time supporting emerging artists, volunteering to raise funds for doctors and nurses to set up basic medical clinics in Africa and walking 60kms for breast cancer research each year to raise money for a digital mammography machine in our local hospital, among other things. In biology class in high school, when asked to do a research project, I chose the AIDS epidemic in America. Instead of working for a sexy advertising agency for my college internship, I chose the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies so that I could help them improve their branding and communications over a four-month period.
Why have I always been so drawn to working with others? Helping others?
My Irish husband introduced me to Mary Robinson’s autobiography, Everybody Matters. As I read about Mary’s intentions, her motivations behind studying law and her passion for representing those who could not represent themselves, it ignited something in me that had been laying dormant for a while (it’s easy to become distracted by your surroundings when you move across the world for three years).
I never looked into studying law and I chose journalism because I enjoyed English in high school and thought I could write for a living some day. While studying, I focused on feature stories and the ‘soft’ news beat, the Arts and community events. After rolling through 10 years of marketing and communications roles with varying degrees of community involvement, I now feel a sudden and strong urge to work in a manner that is more connected to society. Maybe it has been growing, fermenting for some time. I started to become engaged in this thinking during my first year in Brisbane, as I studied international journalism, media law and social marketing. The restrictions in other countries and the motivations behind changing a target audience’s behaviour, as opposed to purchasing decisions resonated with me. Instead of brand identity and positioning, bylines and word count, I was thinking of current events, issues and marginalised groups.
The following year I did a stint in the public sector where I was involved firsthand in launching a policy, the first of its kind in the state of Queensland. Seeing the machinery of government from the inside, the relationship with stakeholders and the forward planning and analysis that goes into public policy switched me on again to current events and my new ‘journalism beats’ became food security, agriculture and education.
Since then, I have been thinking of our imminent move to Europe and the upcoming elections in 2014. I have been researching Irish political parties and their policies. Thinking about small business, innovation and where employment is going. Looking into support for Irish farmers, the vocational education and training sector and different food movements across the country.
They are just thoughts for now, ideas, inspiration on how to connect my next adventure to the new country and culture I will soon be immersed in.