D&AD Awards Special Section

D&AD Shift NY 2021 open for applications

D&AD has announced the launch of the 2021 edition of the D&AD Shift with Google programme in New York.

Now in its fifth year, Shift is D&AD’s free industry-led night school for non-college educated creators. The aim of Shift is to amplify, support and ultimately help secure jobs for new creative talent. This year’s programme comes at a crucial moment as the next generation continues to face significant barriers to education and employment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic alongside rising racial and gender pay gaps.

At a time when the industry must examine its existing prejudice and prioritise structurally inclusive hiring, Shift enables creative organisations and businesses to tap into a fresh, rich mix of talent outside of the college system.

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Youth unemployment has rocketed in the US, with statistics showing that at the peak of the pandemic, in April 2020, over 27% of young people aged 16-24 were unemployed. In 2019, since completing the Shift programme, 60% of alumni in New York and London have entered into paid creative employment.

About the Shift programme


The annual Shift program provides aspiring creatives an opportunity to hone their skills, establish a network and develop their portfolios. Consisting of industry-set briefs, talks and mentorship, Shift provides a supportive and educational space for self-made creatives to gain a foothold in the sector and a crash course in its current processes.

Successful applicants will gain a place in the four month night school running from October 2021 to March 2022. This will provide an opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects that reflect the latest trends and topics of the industry. The projects will be brought together in a final showcase of creative work in March 2022.

For this year’s New York program, D&AD has once again partnered with Adidas to set one of the main creative briefs that will enable this year’s New York cohort to develop their portfolios and creative style, giving Shifters direct access to the brand and its mentorship.

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Earlier this year, D&AD announced the expansion of the Shift program in partnership with Google. This new partnership has enabled D&AD to launch digital training that aims to democratise access to learning, as well as facilitate the introduction of specialist modules into the curriculum in advertising, digital design, graphic design and production.

Paul Drake, foundation director at D&AD, said, “It’s time we look towards a fairer future for the creative industries. Creativity thrives from diverse minds and perspectives, and the only way this can be harnessed is by agencies and brands looking beyond those who have privileged access routes to get in. We all need to act on the belief that great creative talent does not only reside in a few universities or colleges. D&AD Shift with Google has consistently matched creative talent with professional opportunities over the past five years. With the continued support of our partners such as Google and Adidas, the programme is expanding and connecting a growing wave of self-made creative talent to the industry.”

The 2021 D&AD Shift with Google New York program is now open for applications. For more information on entry details and submission deadlines, go here.
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