Talent outside the expected. Nurturing and developing self-made creatives is the task that D&AD Shift took on six years ago. The first D&AD Shift in Sydney concluded with a showcase event at Havas on Thursday, June 30. The four month night school aimed at creative talent who face barriers accessing the industry culminated in a gathering where the class of seventeen creatives presented their portfolios as well as responses to real client briefs set by adidas, Google and Kua. The program also offered a unique opportunity for participants to learn new skills and build important industry connections through networking as well as talks from industry leaders.
The Shift Sydney class of 2021 are Archie Cogin, Christian-Alexander Alba, Christina Lo Giudice, Don Parkinson, Emma-Kate Hart, Godfrey Pena, Hope Siafega Maposua, ‘Jemmy’ Augustian Rostandy, Jessica Chignell, Jordan Sykes, Josh Bell, Leon Kannangara, Nicholas Kell, Ping Sheng, Ben Tofan, Taja Taitua Vaetor, Yaraman Thorne.
Shift builds on D&AD’s mission as an educational charity by providing direct routes into the commercial creative industries for talent from all backgrounds in the belief that diverse thinking leads to better creative outcomes. The program consists of industry set briefs, talks, workshops, coaching and mentorship, and provides a supportive and educational space for creative talent who face barriers accessing the industry to hone their skills, build a network and develop their portfolios. At a time when inclusivity and diversity are priorities for the industry, Shift also enables top creative businesses to tap into a fresh mix of talent outside of the university system or traditional avenues of talent acquisition, to help build an industry which is reflective of society at large.
The inaugural Sydney class of 17 participants presented their portfolios as well as responses to three industry set briefs. adidas set a ‘brief in a day’, which challenged participants to develop a content series that uses the brand’s digital and social media platforms to drive storytelling with local communities at the centre. Google briefed the group to inspire audiences to use Google Trends, demonstrating how they can explore the world through data and make their storytelling more impactful by weaving insights from Google. Purpose driven coffee brand, Kua, briefed participants to develop a communications strategy that positions its new instant coffee as the desirable and planet positive choice. Participants had direct access to the brand’s creative teams and all three tasks were inspired by real client briefs, giving the work the relevancy it needs to stand out to employers.
A taste of Shift talent:
Taylor Hawkins, Shift Australia program producer at D&AD, commented, “It’s been truly incredible to see what’s possible when you bring together a group of tenacious young creatives. The sense of community, mutual support and ambition amongst the cohort has been astounding and they truly have the potential to bring a new and fresh perspective to an industry that is craving it.”
The program has been running in London and New York since 2016 and was launched in Sydney in 2021 following initiatives developed by D&AD and The Glue Society in partnership with Google Australia to provide emerging creatives with opportunities to work with industry leaders to develop their skills. The introduction of the program was also in response to research conducted by Diversity Arts Australia which found that although CALD (Culturally and linguistically diverse) Australians make up 39% of the population, they are disproportionately underrepresented in key leadership roles.
Tara McKenty, creative head at Google APAC, stated, “My hope is our industry can progress in a way that reflects society and culture today, which is why we partner with Shift. Without diversity there wouldn’t be imagination, and without imagination there wouldn’t be innovation. And the creative industry is in the business of both. This is why our industry needs difference, and this is why Google is proud to partner with Shift to continue to support getting difference in!”
In 2021, more than 18 agencies, 30+ industry instructors and 21 mentors participated and contributed to the global program. As a result, 67% of the graduates went on to secure placements and jobs at leading creative companies such as Droga5, The Mill, McCann and Design Bridge.
Jonathan Kneebone, co-founder of The Glue Society, commented, “By design, D&AD Shift is a hugely ambitious project seeking to unearth, develop and amplify the passions and skills of a diverse mix of creative individuals. From the very first briefing with the Shift Sydney team, it felt like this group of young creative talent had a very serious passion for growth and direction – there was an amazing thirst for knowledge and an energy to make the most of every opportunity. The group had a true collective spirit – which made each of them feel encouraged and enabled to achieve what they were capable of. It also made them rewarding to tutor and teach. And given the industry right now needs great emerging talent, it is truly refreshing to know that many of these creative individuals are not just ready, willing and capable of bringing some originality to the agencies they will join, they will actually change the face of the Australian industry. Something that is more than a little overdue.”
Earlier this year, D&AD announced the expansion of the Shift program which now includes Shift Studio and Shift Campus. Shift Studio is an industry-led learning experience that enables D&AD Shift night school alumni to continue to develop their skills and portfolio through a paid stint to respond to a live client brief. Shift Campus is a new free digital training platform and is aimed at a wide audience from school leavers to career changers. Designed as a four-week program which allows learners to access at their own pace, the digital portal opens up the Shift curriculum globally. Shift Campus is currently running as a beta version, with full public roll-out in July. Further information can be found at Shift Campus online.
To find out more about this year’s participants and see their work please visit the D&AD website. Further details of the next D&AD Shift with Google in Sydney program will be announced shortly.