D&AD has launched the inaugural D&AD Shift with Google program in Sydney, its free, four-month industry-led night school which aims to uncover, support, and ultimately help to secure jobs for self-made creative talent without a traditional degree qualification. With the support of the local Sydney industry, the program will champion underrepresented voices to challenge the assumption that great creative talent can only be found within a small number of universities and communities.
Shift builds on D&AD’s New Blood program, which has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent into the industry. It aims to open access to the commercial creative industries for talent from all backgrounds in the belief that diverse thinking leads to better creative outcomes. The program provides non-university educated creatives an opportunity to refine their skills, build a network and develop their portfolios with its program of industry briefs, talks and mentorship and provides a supportive and educational space for creatives to gain an understanding of what it takes to work within the creative sector. In 2019, six months after completing the Shift program, 60% of alumni in New York and London have entered into paid creative employment, demonstrating the urgent need for the program.
The launch in Sydney follows ongoing initiatives developed by D&AD and The Glue Society in partnership with Google to provide emerging creatives with an opportunity to work with industry leaders to develop their skills. The program is also responding to recent 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, with only 10% of CEOs, 14% of Creative Directors and 12% of Senior Executives identifying as CALD, stemming from a lack of diversity within the hiring process at junior level.
In the Sydney program, D&AD will partner with adidas to set a ‘brief in a day’, which will enable participants to develop their portfolios and creative approaches, while giving them direct access to the brand’s creative teams.
Paul Drake, foundation director at D&AD, commented, “With so much of our focus on building a fairer future for the creative industries, it’s important we continue to expand our programs to allow agencies across the globe access to more inclusive hiring practices. Expansion into territories like Sydney, which have a globally renowned creative community, will allow us to spread the core mission of Shift – that great creative talent is not born solely in universities and colleges, and in certain parts of society. Both our London and New York programs have helped nurture untapped creative talent into professional opportunities and we are extremely excited to push for the same in hubs such as Sydney and beyond.”
Shift Sydney has been made possible by a partnership between D&AD and Google. Shift will expand into two more cities over the next three years, as well as launch new digital trainings that aim to democratise access to world-class learning and the introduction of specialist modules into the curriculum in advertising, digital design, graphic design and production.
Tara McKenty, creative head, Google APAC, commented, “Over the last four years, Rare with Google has had a strong partnership with D&AD. Today, we are proud to be building on this further, to bring the night school to Sydney. In New York and London, we have seen diverse talent gain immense value and confidence from this program, which reflects in the high employment numbers for these talented creatives. It is exciting to see what opportunities the Sydney chapter opens up.”
Jonathan Kneebone, co-founder of The Glue Society, commented, “D&AD Shift has been such a success in every city where it has been staged – seeking out and encouraging unique creative voices in various corners of the world. We have been hoping to bring Shift to Sydney for a while – as unearthing brilliant, diverse and ‘hidden’ talent is something that is truly needed within our rather uniform creative departments. The more different the experiences that people within our industry can have, the more it enriches our collective ability. And new perspectives bring new dimensions to the work. I can’t wait to break new ground with a new generation of raw Australian talent.”
Successful applicants will gain a place on the four-month night school running from November 15 2021 and will work on a diverse range of projects that reflect the latest trends and topics of the industry, with a final showcase of creative work on April 4 2022.
The 2021 D&AD Shift with Google Sydney program is now open for applications. Everything applicants need to know can be found on the D&AD website.
Shift Sydney Timeline
- 26 July 2021 – Shift Sydney Applications Launch
- 11 October 2021 – Shift Sydney Applications Deadline
- 15 November 2021 – Shift Sydney Night School Opens
- 4 April 2022 – Shift Sydney Showcase