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Digital Marketing Internship: how I went to Grant Institute after 17 months

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Vojta, BSc Geology and Physical Geography

Time: 7:30 am

Place: my bed, somewhere in EDINBURGH


I open my eyes. Open the blinds. Open the window. Fresh air fills my lungs. I do all the things people normally do in the mornings. Everything seems almost ordinary, like it is going to be another day of sitting in front of my laptop, attending meetings, making reports and preparing our campaigns.

But today is not ordinary. It is in fact far from what I was used to up to now.

Today, I am going to a university building. That’s right – after a month doing mostly office work, I am finally going to visit Grant Institute (the main geology building) – I haven’t been there since February 2020. But today, TODAY, I am going there again to film an interview with Rachel Wood, one of our palaeontologists. It is extremely exciting because she – along with plenty of other academics – agreed to get in front of a camera for one of our social media campaigns.

Well, time to check all the equipment one last time, print the GDPR form and go work in the real world for once. Can’t forget my staff card!


Time: 11:55 am

Place: Grant Institute, King’s Buildings, EDINBURGH


I open the main door. Open the second door. Open the sign-in app. Covid restrictions are still in place, so the foyer is deserted. Not a person to be seen. The only sounds I can hear is a low humming probably coming from the air conditioning and a beeping sound every once in a while (at first I thought it was an alarm that set off when I entered but luckily it was not).

It feels almost overwhelming to be there after so long; I can feel the tears coming (1). I walk up the stairs and head right to Rachel’s office. I admire the minerals that are displayed in the corridor before she comes in. There she goes. We don’t shake hands but do a weird hand gesture instead. Classic Covid greeting. From there, we go to the main lecture theatre.

We talk about Rachel’s research of the Cambrian explosion (2), how she got interested in fossils and what Edinburgh has to offer. To hear her answers, you will have to wait for the final video (hopefully coming soon). I expected the filming to take nearly two hours but to my great surprise, we are done after some forty minutes. Not bad at all.

Now for the trickiest part: find the exit. Because everywhere is the one-way system, I feel like I entered a labyrinth. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t been here for some time or maybe it’s the lack of clear EXIT signs. Who knows. One thing I know is that it feels like Mission: Impossible (3). After a moment of panic, I decide to be rebellious and break the one-way system. Luckily nobody saw me, which is a bit of a relief (4). Overall, a very successful day (bar the minor exit mishap).

Back in Grant Institute. A surreal experience.

(1) Not really, that was just for the emotional effect.

(2) No actual explosives were involved; it refers to the “explosion” aka great diversification of life 540 million years ago.

(3) I have never seen any of the films, so I don’t know if one of them features the protagonists escaping a one-way system.

(4) I did manage to find the actual exit the second time I went there, so no more rule-breaking.


Over the coming two weeks, I film four more interviews with Andy Bell (volcanologist) Mikael Attal (geomorphologist), Godfrey Fitton (igneous petrologist) and Fred Madsen, a Geophysics student (we managed to get a few current students involved as well which is great). I even got outside Edinburgh while filming with Mikael in Gorebridge. Every time after filming, it is time to sit down, cut and edit the videos into a presentable format which makes sense and get ready for the next filming. I am learning how to do most of this as I go but I am enjoying it all. And when I am not filming or editing, it is time to create a few official Spotify playlists for the School – and you can be sure I had great fun with making them (one is literally titled Rocking Rock Songs, so you have an idea of what to expect).

I have another month ahead and my calendar is already full of filming dates. I am looking forward to all of them and to meeting all the amazing people the School of GeoSciences has to offer. Tune in again in two weeks to read how that went.

Hutton’s Section in Holyrood Park – geology was basically born here!

Beautiful white and red sandstone cliffs in Gore Glen Woodland Park.


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