The Idle Man Collective 006: Alec Dudson

The Idle Man Collective 006: Alec Dudson

Welcome to the sixth feature from the new Collective Series by The Idle Man. Where we meet up with interesting men who either work in the creative industry, or we just admire the work they do. Styled in our most recent collection, and written in the words of our Editor Georgia Jackson, read the full feature below as we believe it's more about what we do, rather than what we wear. To shop the products Alec is wearing simply click the images.

Introducing Alec Dudson, Editor-in-chief of Intern Magazine. With a passion of providing a platform for interns, graduates, and young creatives to be heard, Dudson has created Intern Magazine to give a voice to the unpaid and talents of those working within the creative industries. In a world where finding a job which you are truly passionate about is inconceivable at the hardest of times, sometimes falling into an internship can be a thankless job. Dudson has created a magazine where he wants to showcase the talents of the next generation, by using Intern Magazine to be created for and by the creative youth.  

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Cord Worker Jacket in Khaki

Independent magazines are proving to multimedia outlets that print is not dead just yet. Whilst the traditional print format of news has seen figures decline in recent times due to online media, independent magazines have seen a rise. Stack, the online independent magazine retailer has reported that there has been a 78% increase in revenue, with a reported 76% growth in subscribers. Intern magazine is a bi-annual, niche magazine created in 2013, with a relatively short history Intern has already had an immense influence on the independent community.  

With the key idea behind Intern magazine being to help lift young, up-and-coming creatives into the industry, one of Dudson's latest features was on a young illustrator names Calum Trowbridge, a graduate from Art University Bournemouth. Hearing how his journey to illustration began and his pursuit to gain more experience, Intern helps Trowbridge’s name appear in a platform where getting yourself out there can be tricky. Trowbridge is now working on a few commissioned pieces whilst also creating a number of personal projects. You can hear more about Trowbridge in the latest issue of Intern or by visiting Intern’s website.

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Cord Worker Jacket in Khaki and The Idle Man Loft Quilt Bomber in Navy

The independent magazine has also showcased other aspiring young adults, all with the goal to make it as a professional in their field, in a position where they love the job they have earned. Not only does Intern feature breakthrough individuals, but the magazine also allows students and experience driven writers to write for them, giving everyone an opportunity to be part of something great, with no boundaries in authority, making everyone equal.

Dudson now freelances for other magazines as well as running his own. Based in Manchester he travels all around to give talks and workshops based on the internship culture and its effects. Previously appearing for IAM Talks and now sitting down for The Idle Man Dudson talks about his personal relationship with journalism, independent magazines and his commitment to making the creative industries truly representative.  Read about Alec's journey below and to shop the products simply click the images.

Considering your sociology background, what inspired you to get into the industry of magazines?

When I was studying, for a long time, I didn’t know how or if sociology would play into my career. I loved how it gave me an angle to understand how people interact and a means of understanding those whose experiences and circumstances were different to mine. When I discovered independent magazines, what really excited me was that the good ones were a rich and unfiltered window into a wonderful array of niche interests, topics and perspectives. It was far later that I realised that my sociological background underpinned my interest in independent publishing.

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Cord Two-Piece

Why did you decide to produce a magazine, especially in a time where there's such a debate over the death of magazines?

When I launched intern, I wanted to prove that all of the print publications out there whose pages were full of unpaid work, traded for ‘exposure’ were something of a fallacy. I figured that it was possible to create a magazine that was incredible quality in both production and content, comprising entirely of work by these people who weren’t yet considered professional and to pay them all. We did it and produced four issues that were sold around the world in the best magazine stores and galleries alongside far bigger publications who claimed to be unable to pay large swathes of their contributors. Once we’d been on that journey, we decided to switch our operation to digital publishing so that we could reach and empower a wider audience and ultimately, commission more emerging creatives to create original, quality stories for that audience.

What would you say to someone who has never read Intern to get them interested?

Intern is where you’ll find the voice of the next generation of creatives. We explore the journey into a career in the creative industries and cover the issues, experiences and practicalities that lie along the way. We don’t flood your feed with spam or clickbait, but take our time to responsibly create thoughtful, original, educational and inspiring stories, all of which see two young creators paid for their work. We take our responsibility as a publisher extremely seriously and are on a mission to empower the next generation of creatives with the ultimate goal of making the creative industries more representative of our increasingly rich and diverse societies.

What’s your aim/goal with Intern? Do you have a mission to achieve?

Our goal is to make the creative industries truly representative. Right now, unpaid internships lock out anyone who isn’t wealthy enough to work for free from ever getting a foot in the door. If we don’t challenge this, the people responsible for creating culture for all of society are only going to represent a tiny, exclusive group. That can’t happen. Culture is a means of reflecting and understanding ourselves, our society and our lives, if you only produce it from a singular perspective, you disenfranchise everyone else. That’s why independent publishing will always be vital, we need to be able to challenge perceptions, to tell untold narratives and to give voice to those who are overlooked. The creative industries need to take responsibility here and Intern will always fight for the next generation, to make sure that they’re all included in the conversation.

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Relaxed Cord Khaki Trousers, Loft Quilt Navy Bomber, and Wool Blend Grey Overcoat

How does it feel knowing that you are inspiring the next generation and creating conversation about intern culture?

It’s rewarding work. Turning people’s frustration into positive energy, self-expression and have them be part of something that seeks to help and empower others is a great feeling. The biggest challenge is finding the partners, sponsors and clients who are willing to invest in those young voices, but all the hard work pays off when you get to publish an incredible piece on the gender pay gap or on the lack of BAME lecturers in creative universities and see that resonate with people who’ve felt trapped by those things.

What attracts you to the people you feature in Intern? Do you look for anything in particular with a person or what they have done?

The stories we tell and people we feature depend on all kind of things. We look to our audience and to our open submissions policy to understand the issues that we feel are most important to talk about or explore further. When it comes to stories that focus on individuals, we tend to gravitate towards people who’ve taken an innovative approach to their career which we feel our readers can learn from or emulate in some way. If not that, they’ll have started a business or project that shares ideals with us in that it’s geared to empower, educate and provide opportunities to young creatives from all backgrounds.

What do you like personally about independent magazines? Are there any which you particularly liked before creating your own?

Again, it’s that they’re a window into a world that I might know very little about. I love that they are a very unfiltered, loving and genuine take on those interests and lifestyles. Boat was the first independent mag I was shown and their first issue, Sarajevo, pretty much started me on my journey into independent publishing. I also loved COLORS and their protest issue is one of my all-time favourites. Finally, I’d say Riposte. It’s so essential and exists as an antidote to the glossy beauty obsessed women’s magazines that Vogue remains the figurehead of.

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Wool Blend Grey Overcoat

You’re also a freelancer for other publications, do you enjoy being part of the independent community? Does it give you any inspiration for Intern?

My freelance writing work is a nice opportunity to mix things up, so I often write about stuff that we’d never cover at Intern. I’ve interviewed a maze designer, nuns who grow weed and non-league football fans amongst others. It’s always important to introduce some variety into your work, especially when you are your own boss and you’ve got a responsibility to be consistently creative. I get inspiration from Intern indirectly, usually through the people I’m introduced to, work with and discover when collaborating on someone else’s project, which is the joy of freelance work. I’m always on the lookout for great young writers, editors, illustrators and photographers and people like Marta at Perdiz have no shortage of those to hand.

What do you think draws people to read Intern? 

I hope it’s the quality of our storytelling and their aspirations to build a career that they love. Recommendations are a great way for our community to grow, so I’m determined to ensure that there’s always great quality in what we produce. You never know when someone could show what you do to the person who could change everything (in a positive way), so you can’t let standards slip. Over the years we’ve worked hard to gain the trust of our audience and in a world where there’s a lot of crap content — some of which is deliberately crap — eschewing that trend stands for something, I hope.

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Wool Blend Grey Overcoat

Why do you think you are asked to give talks and create workshops for organisations? 

It’s always nice to get invited to speak and run workshops, I’m in my element in those scenarios so I get a good deal of repeat business there. Speaking honestly, half the time it’s through invitation, half the time it’s because I approach them. You’ve always got to be selling as an entrepreneur and it’s something I’m determined keep getting better at. I teach as well these days, so the more I work with young people, the more I understand how to build their confidence and create conditions where they can flourish.

What do you see for the future of Intern magazine?

I’d like the platform to continue to develop and expand. I’d like to grow my team, scale up and become a bigger presence in the media landscape. If I had a goal, it would be to get to the level of Refinery 29, who I have great admiration for. More immediately we’re about to release the pilot episodes of our new podcast ‘The Ladder’ and have plans in the pipeline for a YouTube series comprising of career tips from the industry’s top young creators.

Alec is wearing The Idle Man Cord Worker Jacket in Khaki


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