Not many people can list gutting fish among their qualifications but for former Geek in Residence Roland Kay-Smith it is just one of his many talents, ‘I played rock ‘n’ roll way past my bedtime, I earned a wage at a record company, I wrote for music magazines and dabbled in film and video production.’ While completing his final year of a Bachelor of Creative Industries degree at Charles Sturt, Kay-Smith left his record company job and searched for some part-time work ‘to keep the electricity on’. What he found was the Geek in Residence residency at Musica Viva which suited both his situation and the degree he was studying.
One of the challenges Kay-Smith faced when he started his year-long residency with Musica Viva was the traditional attitudes around communication and audience engagement. ‘I brought with me a lot of new ideas about online conversations, interactions and content creation, and I knew that to do what I needed to do successfully I had to get the whole company – every single employee – on board. I succeeded, but it took some doing.’
The Geek in Residence program supports organisations to develop their digital skills across a range of areas. They are provided with the funds to employee a “geek” who will commence a year residency to work across their digital landscape.
When asked if he had any advice for organisations looking for their “geek” he was adamant that they should ‘find the Geek whose ideas scare you the most and hire them. Let them and their geeky goodness take your organisation places you could never have imagined on your own.’
Kay-Smith also encourages potential Geeks to find different ways to utilise their skill set, explaining that when he first started at Musica Viva his role was to increase their social media presence, ‘I found very quickly that to do that I’d need to start creating great content, which meant I needed to put my writing, photography, video making and audio production skills to work.’ Perhaps not so surprisingly, Kay-Smith admits that gutting fish is the only skill he hasn’t managed to squeeze into his role at Musica Viva.
At the conclusion of his year residency, Kay-Smith was offered a permanent contract, a decision that took the former Geek entirely by surprise, ‘I was fortunate enough to be given the amazing opportunity to not only extend my time at Musica Viva, but to expand my position to a full-time role and take on a more professional, but nowhere-near-as-fun title of Digital Media Manager.’
Geek in Residence is currently accepting applications and will close Tuesday 8 April 2014.