Voices of Success: Journey from OISTAT Interns to Industry Professionals

Jul 31, 2023

Theater professionals from around the world gathered in Prague for the 2019 OISTAT Forum.
(Photo: Filip Beranek)

Written by: Ching-hui Chang, Wei-an Huang and Selina Shih-yu Wang, OISTAT Headquarters 2023 Interns

Since OISTAT launched its annual internship program in 2013, the Headquarters welcomes one to two interns to its office in Taipei every year. The program targets youths interested in arts administration and promoting theatrical arts exchange through working in an international organization. The highly flexible and inclusive working environment encourages interns to explore and experience various tasks, from which they will gain skills essential to an arts administrator. To achieve a holistic view of the OISTAT Headquarters internship program, we have invited two former interns to share their experiences as interns at OISTAT. Hung-Wei Tseng (2014 OISTAT Headquarters intern) and Chen-Shin Wang (2018 OISTAT Headquarters intern, current OISTAT Headquarters Arts Administrator) talked about the assorted projects they worked on, their challenges and the valuable lessons they gained at OISTAT.

Left: Hung-Wei Tseng, 2014 OISTAT Headquarters Intern. (Photo: OISTAT)
Right: Chen-Shin Wang, 2018 OISTAT Headquarters Inter. (Photo: OISTAT)


Hung-Wei Tseng: The Juice is Worth the Squeeze

Hung-Wei Tseng, currently a member of the Technical Management team at the Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, first connected with theatre when he joined a theatre club in his undergraduate years. In 2014, Hung-Wei became an intern at the OISTAT Headquarters while he pursued his master's degree in marketing. When asked to describe what this internship means to him, Hung-Wei said, “It's like playing Super Mario… Before you break the brick blocks, you never know what's hidden inside. So seize the opportunity and go for it.”

During his internship at OISTAT, Hung-Wei assisted with OISTAT’s routine affairs and international projects, which involved online marketing, conference minutes, membership management, data organization, participation in the “Cultural Landmark & Its Communities Symposium”, and more. Adapting to the differences in the nature of each project, Hung-Wei flexibly utilized various media to gather accurate and up-to-date resources to ensure the smooth running of events. Furthermore, OISTAT's open work culture removes hierarchy in communication, allowing interns to express their thoughts freely, thus promoting mutual feedback. Hung-Wei saw an opportunity to better OISTAT’s official website when writing his weekly feedback report. He utilized his marketing background to analyze the website's data and came up with several suggestions for OISTAT's website layout, making it more user-friendly and accessible.

One of the most meaningful projects Hung-Wei did during his internship happened at the OISTAT PCC (Publication and Communication Commission) annual meeting held in Taipei in 2014. Based on the topic of “Young Designer Platform”, the interns were asked to present a proposal for an artwork-sharing platform at the meeting. Hung-Wei invested significant efforts in researching, analyzing, and comparing multiple existing platforms. He proposed a scheme for building a more suitable digital platform to better present designers' works and user interaction. His proposal and innovative suggestions received praise from commission members.


Group photo of 2014 PCC annual meeting participants. (Photo: OISTAT)

In 2017, Hung-Wei returned to OISTAT to assist with the Technical Invention Prize (TIP) and the Theatre Architecture Competition (TAC) at World Stage Design (WSD), where he experienced first-hand the challenges of running a live event. He hence gained a deeper understanding of the importance of teamwork and problem-solving in arts administration. These challenges taught Hung-Wei the hard and soft skills needed to work in an international arts and culture organization. Looking back, Hung-Wei suggests “prioritizing tasks and practicing regular self-reflection” are helpful tricks when facing obstacles. “(Having) the ability to think independently with a clear goal in mind is a core value for interns”, Hung-Wei also advises.  

Chen-Shin Wang: Path to a Better Self

As the current Arts Administrator at the OIST Headquarters, Chen-Shin Wang shares a deep connection with OISTAT. Chen-Shin first encountered OISTAT when she fortuitously joined the OISTAT Youth Seeds Program in 2017. Soon, she was captivated by the collaborative working atmosphere at OISTAT and subsequently applied to become an intern at the OISTAT Headquarters in 2018, where her journey into the world of arts administration commenced.

Although coming from a background in philosophy, Chen-Shin has extensive experience in performing arts. Her love for performing arts first sparked in high school when she became a member of color guard. Chen-Shin has also served as a venue manager for the Taipei Fringe Festival. Among her various experiences, her internship at OISTAT was the most profound impact.

When she participated in the OISTAT Youth Seeds Program in 2017, the introverted Chen-Shin chose to intern in the media department, where she could observe the interaction between people and document every moment through the camera lens. This opportunity showed her what an ideal team looks like, where “each person can fulfill their role and assist others when needed.” Besides completing their individual tasks, everyone provided timely assistance and encouragement to each other. From the Headquarters team to OISTAT members, everyone shared their work experiences willingly, exchanged professional knowledge, and worked together harmoniously to pursue theatrical technology advancement.

The pleasant experience at the Youth Seeds Program drove Chen-Shin to become an intern at the OISTAT Headquarters in 2018. Although her time here was short, she encountered several tasks and challenges. She interviewed former interns, edited lecture notes, and assisted in organizing the OISTAT 50th Anniversary party. Each project was a new challenge; Chen-Shin utilized her observational skills and adapted her working method from her colleagues. Through constant self-reflection, she familiarized herself with the efficient working style of OISTAT. She realized that paying close attention to details and keeping up with industry updates (especially international discussions) are critical skills in overcoming obstacles. 

Chen-Shin discussing with two other colleagues at the 2018 OISTAT 50th Anniversary party.
(Photo: Pi-Cheng Wang)

Working at OISTAT as an arts administrator, Chen-Shin firmly believes that an arts administrator “makes the utmost effort to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.” As the only international theatre arts and culture organization with headquarters in Taiwan, OISTAT provides many hands-on opportunities, allowing interns to figure out their individual working methods at a low stake. Through her internship at OISTAT, Chen-Shin discovered the most comfortable communication methods for herself; she learned more diverse working techniques and began her journey as an arts administrator.

Chen-Shin assisting at the 2018 “Design Matters” Symposium reception.
(Photo: Pi-Cheng Wang)

The stories of interns at OISTAT are graphic and diverse, marking a unique chapter in their lives. The time at OISTAT allowed the interns to experiment and explore freely: as the interns engage in various international arts and cultural activities, they build a network, develop their working style, learn to communicate despite language barriers and open new possibilities.