Traveller's Teacup

helping connect the world's stories

Featured in Oxford University’s International Careers booklet

International Careers Fair, Oxford University

This winter I was invited to contribute my ongoing career story to the Oxford University’s International Careers booklet 2015. Here is the transcript from the publication.

Sacred Rainforests and Permafrost Plains: A Career as a Filmmaker, Climate Scientist, United Nations Media Specialist and More…

by Citt Williams

It was early November 2009 and the wind off the Gobi was blowing so hard our radio microphone was next to useless. Sharp quartz sand crystals whipped at our frozen faces, stinging any part of the cheek visible. I focused the video camera on Mr Bazarvaani, our host in his traditional Mongolian del and embossed leather boots. His face told a thousand stories with its deep smile lines and wise but furrowed brow. He flicked a glance at his large cashmere goat flock beyond the small fence nearby and back at the  Japanese scientists who were crouched assessing the fragile tuffs of dancing grass.

“This is Tsahildag. This is Hazaar and this is Khyalgana,” he said through the translator. “These are the native grasses of Mongolia.”

That autumn sleeping under heavy camel wool blankets, I was at the end of a long creation period of Indigenous–led documentaries evidencing climate change and traditional environmental assessments for the United Nations University. Travelling light with a pelican case housing a camera kit and editing laptop, I worked with colleagues of many different lands and languages. From the sacred rainforest of Borneo to the high permafrost plains of Southern Siberia, we methodologically documented diverse traditional perspectives on socio-ecological change and customary environmental governance. Each story, each digitally amplified voice contributing to the growing global plexus of what Aaron Corn broadly refers to as the ‘indigital revolution’.

Getting into this kind of unusual academic position has resulted from proactive passion, listening curiously and hard work. My career background is an assemblage of business, film arts and climate science degrees and years of lovingly taking communications jobs amongst patient indigenous leaders and storytellers in the deserts, forests, mountains and saltwater countries of our world.

Certainly the work is rewarding as are the remarkable creative friendships accumulated along the way. But if you think this creative arts & science line of work is for you, there are firstly some things to consider. If you are OK with having no job security, if you are OK with working for long periods in harsh remote areas with (initial) strangers who do not speak, think or eat the same as you, if you are OK with unconventional project briefs or throwing the best of your mind and craftsmanship at some of the most wicked problems of this century and beyond… then brush up your people and language skills, hone your science and communications craft, get your booster shots and be ready to diversify your approach and ontology.

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