Musings of a YFGM Intern

In a couple of weeks, my time as YFGM Coordinator will be coming to an end. In case you’re wondering, I haven’t been fired: a new coordinator is appointed every year, with the next one starting at the end of August.

Anyway, there are two things I want to write about in probably (or, let’s be honest, almost certainly) my last blog post.

The first is hyperlinks, specifically their accessibility. Part of my job has been to write the YFGM e-newsletter, and this often contains hyperlinks. When I first started, I thought I was being pretty cool by using link phrases such as ‘click here for more info’ and ‘read more here’, instead of using unwieldy web addresses.

Turns out I was being pretty uncool, as I discovered a few months into the job in a training session run by the straight-talking Plain English Campaign. Imagine someone using a screen reader to access a piece of text online. If they want to find a specific hyperlink in the text, they can get the screen reader to read out only the words acting as hyperlinks. This won’t be so useful if all they then get is a voice saying ‘click here’, ‘click here’, ‘click here’. So basically, for hyperlinks to be accessible (and stylish!) they need to provide enough information to make sense out of the context of the surrounding text.

I realise the above might seem obvious, but somehow or other it’s one of the things I’ve gained most satisfaction from learning in this job, and I’ve been meaning to share it for ages. Also, I spot non-accessible hyperlinks *all the time* now I’m aware of them.

The second thing I want to write about is a form of protest I’ve been involved with over the past months (not actually as part of my job, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten involved if I hadn’t been working here). Twice a month on a Monday lunchtime, a small group of us from Friends House join with a few other Quakers to go to the British Museum and a hold a 20-minute meeting for worship in the foyer; we’re standing in protest against the sponsorship of the museum by the fossil fuel company BP.

Against my expectations, these meetings haven’t felt much different from ordinary meeting for worship. I’ve experienced the same centred-down-ness, wandering thoughts, connection with others, discomfort, … , as I usually do.

I’m aware that some people don’t agree with the use of meeting for worship as a means to an end, and I’m not sure what I would previously have made of meeting for worship as protest. Now, having taken part in it, the reality seems a bit murkier, more paradoxical. Yes, what leads us to hold the meetings is a wish to raise awareness of and, ultimately, help end BP’s sponsorship. However, during the meetings I’ve also had a sense of the worship being more than a form of resistance: that it’s both complete in and an end unto itself. What’s more, it doesn’t feel wrong. And while feelings may not always be an accurate moral guide, I think they’re a pretty good place to start.

Well, that brings this post to a close. I (mostly) don’t do verbose and emotional good-byes… so farewell!

Iwona

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