A Much-Needed Shift
  • Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

From short shrift to long-term Shift--that’s the progression for diversity and inclusion in at least one corner of our world as D&AD New Blood Shift New York recently held its first all digital Showcase. The culmination of the four month night school program for 2020 saw 18 aspiring creatives present their portfolios to leading professionals and get the opportunity to build important industry connections through virtual networking sessions.

The Shift New York class of 2020 consists of Albania Salas, Alysa Browne, Ama Adams, Amelia McDonald, Andrew Barley, Caleb Church, Christopher Martin, Dane Phillip, D’Angelo Heyward, Dougal Cormie, Juan Gonzalez-Gruber, Kendra Payne, Ngu Asongwed, Roxanne Castro, Sofie Betelman, Terra Supp, William Hannon and Yewa Aloba.

Castro said, “I was at a crossroads of where I wanted to be in my career, and right now I’m in a different space, I feel more confident in what I want to do, and I actually have an idea of where in the industry I want to be as well. I’m so happy this program came at this time despite the challenges we are facing today.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Shift has delivered the opportunity for a deserving mix of creatives without college degree-level education to come together to hone their skills, build a network and develop their portfolios. Consisting of industry set briefs, talks and mentorship, Shift provides a supportive and educational space for creative talent who face barriers to education and employment.

Now in its fifth year, the program offers industry pros access to a diverse talent pool. Shift is looking to help build an industry which is reflective and relevant to society at large. 

In 2019, more than half of the graduates from the Shift program went on to secure placements at creative companies such as Droga5, The Mill and McCann. 

Paul Drake, who serves as Foundation director at D&AD, commented, “Shift has always been about delivering inspiring learning opportunities for talented individuals who are outside the formal creative education system. Now more than ever, the creative industry needs diversity of ideas to ensure it remains relevant--this isn’t just about social justice, it makes business sense.” 

Robert Goldrich is a SHOOTonline editor.

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