Meet Raffaela and Joan


“I very intentionally didn’t give any advance thought to what it might be like here. I just went with the flow and took things as they came,” said Raffaela Vornicu, who recently joined the Ars Electronica Center’s staff as an Infotrainer. It wasn’t all that long ago that Raffaela finished school and was shopping around for a job. One day, while riding a streetcar, she noticed an ad for the Ars Electronica Center and decided on the spot to check out the Museum of the Future. Here, she discovered there was the possibility of attending a FutureWorkshop in conjunction with an Austrian federal job placement service course entitled “Fit for the Labor Market” that would give her a week-long, behind-the-scenes look at Ars Electronica. Raffaela applied for a place in a FutureWorkshop and took part.


Raffaela while shooting for the FutureWorkshop in September – Credit: elinaas

“I want to work here!”

During the week she spent at the Museum of the Future, she not only got acquainted with new media; she also got to produce her own film project. Plus, thanks to her great attitude and curiosity, she made a good impression and was encouraged to apply for a job as an Infotrainer at the Ars Electronica Center. And that’s exactly what she did. “I applied because I find the exhibitions fascinating, and the team spirit among the co-workers is really excellent. Right from the start, I was totally impressed with how enthusiastically and ambitiously the staffers go about their jobs, and I thought to myself: ‘This is exactly the kind of company I’d like to work for.’ So, now I’m here. I present exhibitions and show the visitors how to interact with the objects on display. Since early December, I’ve also been helping out at the box office. And soon I’ll be allowed to conduct guided tours!”


At the RoboLab with Paro: Joan at his favorite area of the Ars Electronica Center. Credit: Martin Hieslmair

Joan Bairam conducts tours in German, Kurdish, Arabic and English

Joan Bairam has quite a different story. A year and four months ago—he knows it exactly—he arrived in Austria after a perilous journey from Syria. Since he wasn’t permitted to work but was fed up with just hanging around, he got in touch with the Province of Upper Austria’s volunteer corps (ULF) in Linz and got involved with a number of associations as an unpaid assistant. Then, two months ago, he was finally granted residency status and was thereby authorized to pursue gainful employment.

In the meantime, thanks to his many voluntary activities, Joan is linked up to a pretty fair-sized network in Linz. After his active participation in the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2015, he was asked whether he’d like to work at the museum—as soon as he was allowed by law to do so. He accepted the offer immediately. Now, Joan works every second weekend as an Infotrainer mediating visitors’ encounters with exhibition content—and doing so in German, Kurdish, Arabic and English, and if needed in Turkish and French.

“Now I’m also learning Spanish,” Joan said in excellent German. “I’m currently attending the tourism school in Bad Leonfelden and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to learn another language.” In addition to the tourism industry, Joan has always been interested in new technologies too. In fact, when he was attending college preparatory school in Syria, he seriously considered majoring in an engineering field at the university, but the outbreak of the civil war foiled his plans for the future. “Nevertheless I’m still very much interested in technology,” he said. “That’s why I’m so delighted to be working here at the Ars Electronica Center.”