9 September 2020

Farewell Elmira Cheung our Voiceworks Intern!

Here at Express Media, we are so happy-sad to say goodbye to our wonderful Voiceworks intern Elmira cheung!

Throughout her time with us, Elmira has supported us to successfully coordinate and present three WONDERFUL issues of Voiceworks, 118 AS IF, 119 BUTTER and 120 DIVINE!

As a part of her send off, we sat down for a chat with Elmira and tried not to feel to proud of how massive *massive* our Google Drive is…

1) What was the most surprising thing about being the Voiceworks Admin intern?

It was really interesting to see how a professional workplace can also be such an open, understanding and humorous place. I possibly shouldn’t have been surprised by this (because it makes a lot of sense), but everyone there constantly has different books they are reading. My eyesight is quite terrible, so I have extreme concentration issues, but I’m so pumped to finish my hit-list of books now.

2) What’s some advice you have for young creatives wanting to take on an internship?

If you have the time, really, please go for it! This internship has given me such insight into how magazines actually come together, and what sorts of questions are useful questions to ask when doing admin, editing and even design (and more). Internships are often designed to be entry-level positions: especially for me where I hadn’t previously had much work experience in the creative industry (whilst constantly longing to be a part of that industry) this was a step in the right direction. There are a lot of things one can’t find out about themselves in a uni degree: what it’s actually like to be apart of your desired field, how you function in the workplace, how comfortably you feel doing a certain role, what dynamic you have with different personalities, how your everyday habits translate into a working environment. Internships are such a great way to boost confidence and gain knowledge without stress (hopefully).

Though, one only gets out what they put in so have a rough idea of what you want to get out of an internship and don’t be afraid to express that. Be confident about what you do know, and eager to learn what you don’t.

3) What are some of the things you learnt in your time being on the Voiceworks team?

The veil of mystery has been lifted on a lot of things. Whilst there are a world of magazines out there that I’d like to design for and contribute to, having had an intimate encounter with the ins-and-outs of a reputable and just amazing magazine like Voiceworks has removed a lot of the fear going forward. I’ve learnt too many things to spontaneously count among these things are:

RuPaul’s Drag Race is possibly the best series on Stan

– How massive Google Drives are organised (*whispers* massive)

– How to increase my chances of landing design and editing roles (Lucy, Mira, Adalya and Jes were super generous with their time and advice)

– I’ve learnt about the hard work that goes into processing submissions and editing in an equitable way, and feel much more driven to submit work.

Most of all, I’ve been humbled by what an amazing generation of writers I happen to be a part of. And humbled by the content of people with maturity I only wish I had during my high school years. There is depth, sincerity, insightful thought and stunning articulation into the pieces that get submitted, and I don’t envy Adalya and the edcomm team for needing to filter down submissions for publishing.

4) What were some of your highlights of the experience?

I felt very fancy working at the Wheeler Center (there are some beautiful spaces to have lunch in) and using the elevator at the side of the State Library, even though it only lasted a few weeks. I also think being in a positive, energetic and supportive environment is something no one can have enough of. And I want to thank the Express Media team for creating such an environment. Also seeing humans over Zoom during COVID-19. That was good. I also love the feeling of finishing a task, and having a role to play in a bigger outcome.

5) What kind of writers and writing are you most drawn to and why?

Writers who are experimental with form, especially poetry: I like the interaction of the visual and literary. I also have quite a weak spot for writing with effortless imagery. When I say this I am thinking Issue#119 ‘Butter’, I am thinking of Teatime by Teresa Lin “a well of flavour erupts into the night”. I am thinking of Meeting Mr.Fish by Skye Moore, Artie recalled the face of his friend “Eyes the colour of diluted blue ink and a face that belonged on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel”. I have a very short attention-span when reading, so I tend to veer more toward comics and poetry. But when longer passages of writing captivate me, it’s the sort of writing that when I put it down, I feel like I’ve been given new vocabulary to describe the world and a new lens to see it in, like something more about the world makes sense. For this reason I have recently been drawn to Joan Didion. My favourite books include The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I’m not a really big fan of the beach, but one thing I always recall when near large bodies of water is the ending of The Awakening.

I also love a good laugh. I love that humour is accessible, that it can make grand ideas less intimidating. I get intimidated by grand ideas easily, especially when they’re intellectualized.

6) What do you hope to do after this Voiceworks internship?

At the moment life is a bit chaotic. Anyone reading that is probably thinking “same here”. But hopefully, I finish my Fine Arts degree (eventually). I’ll be in the Media Office of UoM next year as the Design Editor ;D which is fun. I still have dreams of being a mangaka, so we’ll see how that goes. My hopes for the future mainly involve having a secure job with enough income to rent my own place, and to still have substantial time to snuggle my cats and do the things I love.

7) What would the dream theme of your own Voiceworks issue be? And What might you write or draw for it?

“Cats”. Just a whole issue on cats. I’d possibly use it as an opportunity to write a comic about what my cats are thinking (a lot of swearing). And to draw their cute chubby butts.


We want to thank you again Elmira for all the amazing work you have done to bring Voiceworks to life in a very stressful and tumultuous time. <3


The Voiceworks Internship is a 3-6 month volunteer role of 1 short day per week for someone under 25 who is interested in the administration side of arts and publishing.

Voiceworks is Express Media’s flagship publication, a national literary journal that features exciting new writing and art by young Australians twenty-five and under.