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Perth Festival intern makes her mark with carbon footprint project

2 May, 2020

University of WA Master of Professional Engineering student Alexandra Lyons conducted an environmental sustainability audit for the Perth Festival during her recent McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship.

Perth Festival Head of People and Culture Jessica Blackwell said the organisation was actively seeking to reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the climate.

“We recognise that as a large Festival, our activities have an impact,” Ms Blackwell said.

“In order to proactively address this, we developed the internship project to review Perth Festival’s current processes and practices leading in to and during the 2020 Festival.”

During her 100-hour community service internship, Ms Lyons estimated the Festival’s carbon footprint, made recommendations on how they could reduce emissions associated with the Festival, and produced an ‘emissions calculator’ to help future Perth Festival programmers to understand the carbon footprint of various decisions and operation choices.

“One of the main deliverables that I produced was an emissions calculator, which will help future Perth Festival programmers to understand the carbon footprint of various decisions and operation choices,” the Claremont resident said.

“By understanding where the bulk of our emissions are coming from, we can make informed actions to start reducing them.

“Sustainable development is the key to ensuring that we can provide future generations with what they need to live healthy, happy and safe lives, and the arts is a fantastic medium for sharing ideas and educating people.”

Ms Lyons said the internship experience has reinforced her intention to use her career to integrate sustainability into business and infrastructure decisions.

“Being able to use knowledge that I've learned from all of my vacation work, undergrad and masters and tie it into a project that I have ownership of and will genuinely inform change has been really exciting and rewarding, and the perfect way to finish my university education (for now),” she said.

Ms Blackwell said the McCusker Centre for Citizenship interns she had supervised all “have a clear passion for making the world a better place”.

“The recommendations and findings they have provided Perth Festival with have been insightful and meaningful,’ she said.

“These are not your standard interns.”