Arts and Culture Intern – PolicyLink – Oakland, CA


PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. PolicyLink collaborates with a broad range of partners to implement strategies to ensure that everyone—including those from low-income communities of color—can contribute to and benefit from economic growth and prosperity.

PolicyLink operates a summer internship program for continuing graduate students (master’s or doctoral) in public policy, urban planning, and related fields. Internships are paid and the duration is generally 10 weeks. PolicyLink occasionally hosts interns during the academic year, depending on project needs and student interest.

We strive to provide each intern with two main opportunities: 1) a meaningful and challenging assignment (or set of assignments) that provides a chance to apply and hone the skills they are learning in graduate school to influence public policy; and 2) the opportunity to learn about the process of policy change and the way that PolicyLink accomplishes our mission of advancing economic, social, and racial equity through policy change.

Each intern plays an integral role in helping our organization further policy impact through research, communications, capacity building, and advocacy. We have had interns from nearly 20 different universities and colleges, in programs such as urban planning, public policy, public health, community development, information management, and journalism/communications.

Interns gain insight into the field by assuming responsibility for a project under the guidance of experienced professionals. Most internship positions are based in our Oakland office; however, if space is available and there is need, we also host interns in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and New York. Communications interns are based in our New York office.


PolicyLink is seeking a graduate student intern to help develop case studies that frame policy challenges and success stories among diverse arts and culture policy environments. Conducting interviews and writing them up will be essential to that development. Cases have not yet been determined, but will likely be based in such locales as San Antonio, New Orleans, San Francisco, and a reservation community and will reflect a diversity of projects including communities of color and low-income communities. Drawing on this experience and through consultation with others on the team, the intern will also assist in considering arts and culture presenters who will participate in the PolicyLink Equity Summit 2015. The four-member core team includes program and communications staff with expertise and experience in considering arts and culture as essential tools in addressing such community needs as infrastructure, education, and health.

Additionally, the intern will help develop literature and curriculum on policy and advocacy for the Intercultural Leadership Institute being led by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, First Peoples Fund, and Alternate Roots.

The intern will work out of the PolicyLink office in Oakland. The position may involve some travel.

Assignments may include:

Research to add to inventory of arts and culture places, people, and programs, to build interview list.
Helping to develop interview questionnaire and protocols for inquiries.
Scheduling and conducting interviews.
Writing up notes and developing key themes and policy recommendations to create a summary of the process.
Exploration of state and local policies that can influence the development of recommendations for the project’s final report.
Participate in internal team meetings and those with funders.

Desired Qualifications & Skills:

Graduate student in urban planning, public policy, nonprofit management, arts management, cultural geography, or other areas related to policy about arts, culture, and creative place-making.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
The ability to organize and communicate interview feedback.
Strong analytical skills in determining impacts of state policies and programs on communities of color and low-income communities.
Great team player with experience working effectively with diverse stakeholders; comfort working with team meeting in multiple locations.
Strong and effective interpersonal skills.
Strong sense of humility and willingness to seek ongoing feedback for improvement.
Ability to work independently and take initiative.
Strong commitment to advancing social and racial justice and appreciation of community-based work experience in low-income, communities of color.

Application Process

PolicyLink is accepting applications for summer 2015 internships. The deadline for applications is March 20, 2015. Review the PolicyLink website ( for additional information.

Candidates may apply for up to two internship opportunities. Separate applications should be sent for each position and the candidate should indicate if they have applied for two positions in their cover letter.

Applicants should submit a résumé, cover letter, and a list of three professional references to

Please include in subject line: Your Name – Specific Internship Name.

We encourage you to submit the application components in a single document if possible (rather than three separate files) so we can print double-sided and save paper.

Interviews will take place during the month of March. Applicants will be contacted by telephone to schedule an interview that will take place in person or over the telephone. Candidates not selected for interviews will be notified by email in early April.

PolicyLink is committed to building and maintaining a diverse staff and a welcoming workplace.