Internship Summit Conferences

In 1999, seventy representatives of the five collateral organizations, young architects, interns, and practitioners from Canada and Mexico convened in a small Kentucky town to discuss the then-current state of the transition from architectural education to practice. That event, called the 1999 Collateral Summit on Architectural Internship, was conceived as an opportunity to "pull the engine" and thoughtfully examine the internship experience. The intention was to do so with an eye toward critical assessment, enhancement, and, if appropriate, to reconceive aspects of the existing process including how we define what an "intern" is.

The delegates of the 1999 Summit agreed on and made public nine recommendations for improving the internship process. It also begat a group called the Collateral Internship Task Force (CITF), which affirmed those exact same nine recommendations were important and worthy of implementation. In response, the CITF morphed into another group called the Collateral Internship Management Group (CIMG), which also affirmed that those original nine recommendations were important and worthy of implementation.

In early-2002, with the three-year anniversary of the original Internship Summit approaching, eighteen young AIA and AIAS leaders signed a joint letter to the five collateral organizations asking for their leadership in developing a second Summit. It quickly became clear that these organizations had no intention of supporting a 2002 Summit, so it was organized by interns themselves through ArchVoices.

The 2002 Internship Summit took place October 4-6 at the University of Oklahoma, uniting 55 diverse members of the architecture profession through an open application process. This process and the proceedings of the 2002 Summit were documented through a dedicated website as well as a print publication called, Architectural Internship: Everybody's Issue. Perhaps the most significant recommendation stemming from the 2002 Summit and publication was the need to publicly discuss the standards for internship on a triennial basis, the same frequency of the NAAB Validation Conferences used to validate education standards.

Planning for the 2005 Internship Summit--commandeered by the AIA and NCARB--is underway. In an effort to distance it from the previous two efforts, both of which involved official collateral representation, select staff and elected leaders of the AIA and NCARB changed the event name to the "2005 Internship Conference." Whatever its called, the need to employ truly collaborative, public, and transparent processes for decision-making about architectural internship persists. The Internship Summit Conferences are but one such forum.