The Night School creates opportunities for greater diversity in the creative industry
Over the past three months, The Brooklyn Brothers have been on an incredible journey with 14 young creatives. United by their passion, dedication and diversity, these individuals will change the face of our industry. They are the inaugural class of Night School.
London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, however this point of great pride is not reflected in the makeup of the creative industries. Latest figures show that, despite the creative and multicultural society within which we live, still only 12.4% of employees within creative agencies are from BAME backgrounds vs 40.2% of the total London population (according to 2011 National Census, Office for National Statistics). We know that the future of our industry depends on diversity.
However, traditional unpaid internships that run during the day time with minimal financial support, don’t work for an audience unable to give up their working days. But they could potentially give up one evening a week. So we set out to create a programme that ensured flexibility around existing commitments, with no barriers to entry in the application process. It began in July and ran for eight weeks across the summer.
Night School was built on the belief that creativity and the opportunities that it offers are for everyone – irrespective of background or ethnicity. Yet the creative industries can feel like a closed door that opens only for a select few. The eight-week programme piloted in the summer this year, by Yellowzine and The Brooklyn Brothers, aimed to help open up new doors and opportunities.
The programme helped our class plan careers and identify opportunities to make a genuine creative impact. Along the way each student also developed a personal manifesto that visually embodies their identity.
Last night, at Nike 1948 LDN, we celebrated the inaugural graduation of the first 14 students to have taken part in the programme, with a showcase of their personal manifestos to an audience of leading figures from creative industries who might be able to help them with their next step. The students will also be partnered with their own mentor for 12 months post-graduation, receiving ongoing support.
Aisha Ayoade, co-founder & chief editor of Yellowzine says: “Working with the 14 Night School students has been the most rewarding journey for me and for Yellowzine as a platform. For us, it’s not just a matter of more diversity within the creative industry, it’s about a diversity of voices leading it. This change is long overdue and we’re honoured to play a role in making it happen. It’s been a gift to work with 14 brilliant people and, with them, start opening the doors for a more inclusive creative industry.”
George Bryant, chief creative officer, The Brooklyn Brothers, added: “Over the past three months, we have been humbled by the talent, ambition and creativity of the Night School students. However, this is only the beginning of the journey. It is up to us as an industry to break down the barriers to entry and open up opportunities for all, for a more diverse and inclusive future.“
This is just the beginning, but now it is the time for all of us [in the creative industries] to come together and make collective change on a genuine scale.
Check out the Night School graduate profiles here