“The idea that creative excellence only resides in a handful of universities has limited us for too long. We want to work with businesses to attract a far greater diversity of talent into the industry. People that can challenge what has gone before, can provide different perspectives and different solutions” - Tim Lindsay, CEO, D&AD
What do a yoga instructor, a supermarket cashier, a barista, a carpenter and a sales assistant all have in common? These are just some of the young people who were a selected to participate in D&AD New Blood Shift enabling them to take their first steps towards a career that uses their creative talents.
In April 2016 D&AD put a call out to London’s untapped talent. Launching a search for young people that led creative lives but didn’t have formal design training or creative careers, New Blood Shift set out to find a fresh perspective. Supported by Leo Burnett, 17 young creatives were chosen from hundreds of applications and in September embarked upon a specially curated night school.
This week, the night school comes to an end after 12 weeks of intensive lessons. Sessions have covered everything from ideas generation to answering briefs, honing their craft to creating their own portfolio, all supported by industry mentors. Tonight, they will come to the final D&AD New Blood Shift Showcase, where they will present themselves and their work to industry as well as hear Leo Burnett CCO Chaka Sobhani give a talk on why programmes like New Blood Shift are a life line for the industry.
D&AD New Blood Shift set out to educate, connect and enable young people from London to take a step closer to the creative career of their dreams. Was it a success? Here is what some of the students had to say:
“Shift was a collection of the weirdest creatives in the UK. We were thrown into the belly of the beast to stew, learn, mingle and create for 12 weeks and now, we’re just about to be thrown up into the big bad world. More than anything else, to me, Shift has been a lesson in the importance of honesty in life and art in order to connect with people.” - Edem Wornoo
“Shift has given me the confidence to approach potential employers without a design degree and ask, ‘what’s up?’” - Charlie Richardson
“New Blood Shift has made me believe that I can achieve something that has always been merely a pipe dream. Its given me hope.” - Sophie McGovern
“Shift has introduced me to so many great, creative people with burning talent and ambition. Its enabled me to venture into a world I knew nothing about and feel as though there is a place for my own weird brand of creativity.” - Michael Skeet
“I’ve realised that my creativity is an asset. That my less than ordinary life is an advantage, and I can make a career of being authentically and unapologetically myself.” - Jemima Daisy Proudfoot
“It’s been a relatively short journey to get to where I am now, thinking about what I’ve managed to achieve so far I’m ultimately very excited to see where my creative work can take me in the future.” - Jamie Wilson
What Happens Next?
D&AD would like to see all 17 of the Shift Class of 2016 embark on careers or internships in the creative industries. But in order to do this, they need agencies and businesses to get behind the programme and take on these students.
Paul Drake, Foundation Director, D&AD commented: “We have given the Class of 2016 the knowledge, honed skills, and built the resilience needed to grow in the industry. But in order for New Blood Shift to succeed, we need you, the industry, to offer the next steps. We’re looking for paid placement opportunities.”
D&AD New Blood Shift set out with a simple aim to test a belief that success shouldn’t be about who you are, where you’re from, or who you know. Success should depend on talent. Six months on and the people that have come through the New Blood Shift programme prove that fantastic talent is present in all parts of society. But this is just the start. In 2017 they want to run the programme again in the UK and adapt it so that it can take place in other markets, starting in New York.
If anyone has been inspired to take part, D&AD encourages them to get in touch. They are looking to find agencies and mentors that they can work with in order to make D&AD New Blood Shift a resounding success.