Can Free Night School Democratise The Creative Industries?

by SHOWstudio on 5 May 2023

Looking to remedy the lack of representation in design and advertising, D&AD Shift is providing self-taught creatives with the resources to expand their skills.

Looking to remedy the lack of representation in design and advertising, D&AD Shift is providing self-taught creatives with the resources to expand their skills.

It's no secret that the creative industries (like most industries) have a diversity problem. Last year a study by Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre reported that only '16.2% of people working in creative jobs are from working-class backgrounds.' Likewise, the research organisation found that in London alone ‘the odds of working in the creative industries as a white and privileged person are one in five — double the chance of those from ethnic minority' backgrounds.

For the educational organisation D&AD, the design and advertising industry can be inaccessible to people from under-represented communities due to socio-economic inequality. A lack of existing representation within these industries also deters many from looking into career opportunities, to begin with. So how do we remedy this?

D&AD alumni Seun Areoye. Film Director: Edem Wornoo

First launched in 2016, D&AD Shift is the organisation's annual, global program providing space for self-taught creatives to expand their passions into career-applicable skills. Teaming up with Google the free, fully-funded night school is challenging traditional pathways into the creative industries offering resources to underrepresented communities, including training from industry experts, peer-to-peer learning and mentoring.

After dropping out of uni, Suen Areoye joined the D&AD Shift programme last year where we developed his love of poetry into copywriting and editing skills. 'It allows people who might not see themselves as creatives to visualise how they might be able to impact the creative industry and it also makes you realise that the industry actually needs you more than you need it,' says Areoye. Now, the London-based creative utilises what he learned as freelance editor of the biannual publication GAUCHOWORLD.

Seun Areoye for D&AD Shift with Google. Film Director: Edem Wornoo

Already inspiring burgeoning talents to take the first steps into design and advertising fields in London, New York, Hamburg, Berlin, and Sydney since the initiative first began, D&AD found that 70% of the program's graduates went on to pursue careers in the creative field. Coming to London this summer, the five-month program (from June to September) will give creative ingenues the opportunity to hone their skills while working on live client briefs for global brands, including adidas. At the end of the program, participants will present their work in a special showcase in October.

Applications for D&AD Shift London are now open. To learn more head to D&



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