Square Holes Profile: Mahalia Tanner

The Square Holes team are made up of a cohort of researchers and inquisitive minds, poised to sink their teeth into the complex problems of our clients, to deliver insights and a roadmap forward for brands and organisations alike.

Journalist Mahalia Tanner used to get lessons on skinning squirrels from Cyndi Lauper in her radio days, but now delves into the impact of social media on society and the diverse pool of clients undertaking research with Square Holes.

Photo by Thomas McCammon.

SH: What drew you to this sort of work?

Mahalia: I was connected to Square Holes through my work with arts not-for-profit Helpmann Academy and was intrigued by the breadth and variety of work that the organisation undertakes across many sectors. I was excited about the prospect of being able to connect with and learn more about the stories of iconic local and international brands, the important work of government agencies and cultural institutions doing amazing things.

SH: What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

M: The variety! It’s pretty amazing to go from writing about a 107-year-old chocolate brand, to a world-renowned film festival, to a study tracking loneliness. The reason I choose journalism as my career was because I enjoy helping people to tell their stories and I’m deeply inquisitive by nature. Core values that align with the Square Holes ethos.

SH: What’s a current obsession you have?

M: Currently I’m obsessed with learning sustainable craft skills like natural dying, embroidery and knitting – in order to make special handmade gifts for loved ones. I have so many talented creators in my friendship group, and I love being able to skill share and create items for them in exchange for their works.

SH: What would you like to learn more about?

M: I’m really interested in the effect social media is having on how we relate to one another as a community and a society (as you may have gathered from my articles!) As a millennial, I was coming into adulthood during a time when social media was in its infancy, so it’s been interesting to navigate the effect these apps have had on how we connect to each other and how we view each other, and ourselves through that lens.

SH: What’s something you have discovered about yourself since working at Square Holes?

M: I think coming to face with the parallels between journalism and market research has helped me to try to bring that curiosity about people and culture into my everyday life. I tend to get a little stuck in my bubble of community, so engaging with this work has helped me to broaden my perspectives and think about things from a wider scope.

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