[At Home in Europeia] Exploring Culture with Turbiatop

Exploring Culture with Turbiatop
Interview conducted by Istillian

On August 19, 2022, Turbiatop was approved as Minister of Culture by the Europeian Senate, and since then has led our regions cultural pursuits for a period of almost four months. Turbiatop has been an active member of Europeia for over a year, with contributions ranging from his keen cultural interests and RMB specialisations, to diplomacy with our allies in organising small and large scale events, and even finding his place in our domestic affairs in engaging all ministries where he is able to help them. With experience under both the Writinglegend administration, and now under President Icarus, we were eager to speak with Turbiatop about his experiences on NationStates (NS), joining Europeia, and on his opinions on the art of success in the Ministry of Culture.

Where did you get your start in NationStates, and when did you first join Europeia?

Well, I first joined during the infamous "Drewww Durnil" boom. I was looking for something to try out when I was pretty bored out of my mind during those lockdown days and not thinking about school all day long. I joined NationStates on my main that was my first ever nation as well in fact ... I looked at the recruitment telegrams and I decided to stay in TNP (The North Pacific). I scoured TNP's forums, joined the Executive, and signed up for the WAA [World Assembly Affairs] Ministry. I made friends with a few of the TNP peeps' until I became inactive for a whole year and a bit ... Now, a year later I rejoined NS on my main again to check out recruitment telegrams. I found a recruitment telegram mentioning ... a region that had a thriving political culture and it grabbed my attention. I joined [Europeia] around October of 2021 to see the political culture that existed!

What was your experience like when joining Europeia, was it welcoming and easy to access the ministries?

The region was truly welcoming to me where I felt I could chat with fellow peeps' without any backlash if I had a political opinion ... The ease of accessing ministries was relatively easy for me. Oh man, I thought the ministry staff vacancies will close when they had full capacity and another one will open when a vacancy became open in the "Employment Central" Subforum of Europeia. But when I signed up for a ministry, it was easy getting into the depths of things when I was able to sign-up for stuff!

What were your initial impressions of the ministry of culture, and how do you think those impressions have changed with time since you’ve been a leader in the field?

My initial impression of the culture ministry was that the ministry was a really organised, professional, bureaucratic place where making detailed posts was the norm and expectation of Culture staffers. But that impression of the culture ministry slowly swept away when I got more involved with it before becoming a minister ... now being at the forefront and the minister of this ministry, I can say my impressions of the ministry is one I hold dear and close to my heart. This place is flexible to bring out creative ideas, plans, and running stuff in a way that can be effectively implemented ... That is [a] really good thing for any ministry, specifically culture. It lets newcomers implement any ideas they have that will be beneficial to the Ministry, a place that is easy to do it in where it is not too bureaucratic and has tools that makes it easier. The ministries of Europeia [have] years of history in them and countless things to look back in the past on how things have been run in them to help any minister running something that is effective in practice and theory.

What would you say is the most important / most unique part of the ministry of culture compared to other ministries?

I think the most important part of the ministry of culture is just having fun and freely sharing ideas to others because if no one shares ideas, it will be harder to create unique things from the ministry of culture. Having fun in the ministry is also vital to feeling welcomed, engaged, and doing work you have fun with. You wouldn't want to do something if you are not having fun and if you are having fun, that is the best thing you can get from being a culture dtaffer and seeing your work come into fruition with results.

You’ve talked about the three pillars of culture in the past, can you give some background on your experience in the ministry, and why you think these fundamentals are necessary to succeed?

Well, I have had experience ranging from when I first joined the ministry of culture in the beginning of my time in Euro[peia] to now. That experience ranges from me being a culture staffer and seeing the inner-workings of the ministry do its thing by previous ministers of culture in the ministry subforums and learning from that ... doing several culture terms and helping a minister out to create a Gameside Newsletter. Then the other experience is when I first became minister of culture and trying to find my footing before creating events like Lloenflys Ovation Celebration, two [Regional Message Board] events, and helping out with several events with other regions.

Now, moving on from my experience into how to succeed with using the three pillars of culture I mentioned in my last end-of-term address is that you will need to be open, understanding, and communicative with others to be viewed as a person that people can go up to with any queries, concerns, or questions before even doing this. When you have that under your belt, you will have a really strong base to work off ... using these pillars in the next step exclusively for becoming a successful minister in a foundational theory way is a way that can make you outshine others as a community leader and role model for others in your region, [with] alliances, and the wider NationStates world.

What is it that interests you most about the style of work in culture, and how do you measure success in the field?

The style of work that interests me the most in Culture is the work in which you can be consistent with, and work which you interact with distinct communities in the region. The consistency of work you do throughout a time period feels good to do ... it will give people predictably to the work you do and the effort you put into it.

And working with different aspects/communities of the region gives you flexibility, insight, and further experience on the region you belong to. The differing aspects is also fun to juggle with in an event, activity, or festival [where] you have to manage for a challenge and satisfaction after doing it.

How I measure success in the field is the measurement of how much effort, dedication, and fun you get out of developing something you enjoyed making, and the people on the receiving end of it: [if] the participants enjoyed it. I mainly observe how the participants view the event and take into consideration on how to improve it next time and carry on with ... that consideration in mind.

You have had success in the Ministry of Culture and are recognised in the Foreign Affairs space for your work in organising and managing events now too: how would you compare Europeia’s cultural pursuits with other regions you have worked with, and what makes Europeia so effective in its planning and management strategies?

Europeia's cultural pursuits with other regions I have worked with is really good. There are talking points we work off with representatives of each region and we combine heads to rub against each other to create unique ideas for events. The results of that are [that] we get stronger ties with the regions we hold events with, and it all can conclude to the resounding drums of a historical treaty between two historical regions of great magnitude. That is the greatness of having a good cultural pursuit as a region to grow stronger ties and bonds with other communities and regions. What makes Europeia so effective in its planning and management strategies is that we strive to reach out other communities and regions to create a stronger network of friendships, mutual collaboration between each other, and work with each other to create better places in our communities to make NS a better place for all, and not us a region just idling about in the NSverse.

What was your favorite event to put together, and which was your favorite to attend as a participant?

Ohh boy, there is quite a few to think through. There are things like creating the "Lloenflys Ovation Celebration", the RMB [Regional Message Board] events, and countless other things. But I would probably say creating the two RMB events for gameside nations to enjoy was the most fun and rewarding to me. I loved seeing the engagement ... people got from my activities that [were] created, and them interacting with me as well. It makes me get a tear in my eye, lol! My favourite activity to attend probably would have been the NS exhibition festival because I love being in big festivals and observing what is happening in those festivals. The talks, shows, and Q&A's were my favourites. Information all about NS theory and history is oomph, the best.

We’ve seen many players burnout from multiple terms at the head of the ministry of culture. How do you think we can combat that burnout, and see a rise in successful culture deputies?

I believe we could combat burnout by making things more streamlining for culture staffers and putting less work on the Minister of Culture themsleves. Currently, the Minister of Culture has a lot of [responsibility]responsiblity and things to work on and they have to manage staff, deputies, and different aspects of the region as well alongside on festivals with other regions. But by making less work on the Minister of Culture we could direct the work to deputies to be in charge of specific parts of Culture in the Culture Ministry instead of with the Minister sporadically on things. Having the Deputy Minister role more defined in the Ministry and maybe the whole region itself with the other minsitries will make it easier for the Minister to select deputies, manage them, and having the deputies know what work they are doing specifically and not in vagueness. I believe this things we can work on collectively can get more people interested in the Culture Deputy role while gaining experience as being a Deputy Minister!

What things do you think need to change for the ministry of culture to succeed?

I believe the culture deputy role is good as it is because it gives newcomers to the region a chance to prove themselves in a role where they are assisted by the culture minister. Giving them more responsibility to plan events, activities, or helping out with the minister might be something that will need to be considered before letting them into the role. Having experience in the Ministry and being proactive to do stuff normally the way I think people get noticed to become deputy ministers under the watchful eye of a minister ... maybe folding [the ministry of culture] into the interior ministry might be a good idea ... [as] it will probably [be] easier for the minister in charge of interior and culture if it was done.

Do you have any particular hopes or ambitions for the future in Europeia, and are there any other ministries you’d like to tackle the leadership of?

Hopefully continuing to be a helpful hand in the region and maybe inspire some folks with the work I am doing in the present day and future ... plus being a friendly person to all peeps. I am looking with an [ambitious] eye to do further work in the executive, ministries, or wherever needs my hands and eyes on the wheel. The Ministry I would like to take the leadership of is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I find Foreign Affairs interesting to me and having the experience of helping set up events with regions gives me a bit more experience than the average person as a culture minister!