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D&AD Shift NY 2021 Opens for Applications


The programme will create an accessible space for self-taught, emerging creatives to hone their skills and help the industry access some of the best new talent

D&AD Shift NY 2021 Opens for Applications

D&AD today announces the launch of the 2021 edition of the D&AD Shift with Google program in New York. Now in its fifth year, Shift is D&AD’s free industry-led night school for non-College educated creators which aims to amplify, support and ultimately help secure jobs for new creative talent. This year’s Shift program comes at a crucial moment as the next generation continues to face significant barriers to education and employment in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic alongside rising racial and gender pay gaps. 

Since 1980, D&AD has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent from all backgrounds to work towards a better equipped and culturally nuanced creative sector. Challenging the assumption that talent can only be found within a small number of colleges the annual Shift program provides aspiring creatives an opportunity to hone their skills, establish a network and develop their portfolios. Consisting of industry-set briefs, talks and mentorship, Shift provides a supportive and educational space for self-made creatives to gain a foothold in the sector and a crash course in its current processes.

At a time when the industry must examine its existing prejudice and prioritize structurally inclusive hiring, Shift enables creative organizations and businesses to tap into a fresh, rich mix of talent outside of the college system in a continued effort to build an industry which is both reflective and relevant to a global society at large. Youth unemployment has rocketed in the US, with statistics showing that at the peak of the pandemic, in April 2020, over 27% of young people aged 16-24 were unemployed. Set against this backdrop, the Shift program is more important than ever to help emerging creatives successfully launch a career in the creative sector. In 2019, since completing the Shift programme, 60% of alumni in New York and London have entered into paid creative employment demonstrating the urgent need for the program as we emerge from the pandemic.

Successful applicants will gain a place in the four month night school running from October 

2021 to March 2022 which will provide an opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects that reflect the latest trends and topics of the industry, brought together in a final showcase of creative work in March 2022.

For this year’s New York program, D&AD has once again partnered with adidas to set one of the main creative briefs that will enable this year’s New York cohort to develop their portfolios and creative style, giving Shifters direct access to the brand and its mentorship. 

Earlier this year, D&AD announced the expansion of the Shift program in partnership with Google. This new partnership has enabled D&AD to launch digital training that aims to democratise access to world-class learning, as well as facilitate the introduction of specialist modules into the curriculum in Advertising, Digital Design, Graphic Design and Production.

Paul Drake, Foundation Director at D&AD, commented: “It’s time we look towards a fairer future for the creative industries. Creativity thrives from diverse minds and perspectives, and the only way this can be harnessed is by agencies and brands looking beyond those who have privileged access routes to get in. We all need to act on the belief that great creative talent does not only reside in a few universities or colleges. D&AD Shift with Google has consistently matched creative talent with professional opportunities over the past five years. With the continued support of our partners such as Google and adidas, the program is expanding and connecting a growing wave of self-made creative talent to the industry.”

Ayesha Martin, Senior Director Communities & Social Impact at adidas, commented: “We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives. Shift is a community-first, impactful program that fosters inclusion in the creative sector and is aligned with our commitment to remove barriers to career access in our industry and beyond.  Our teams are looking forward to connecting to this year’s cohort and reimagining future possibilities, together.”

The 2021 D&AD Shift with Google New York program is now open for applications. Further information including entry details and submission deadlines, can be found on the D&AD website

The Shift program will also be launching for the first time in Sydney later this year, more details to be announced shortly.

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D&AD, Tue, 15 Jun 2021 16:09:00 GMT