D&AD Awards Special Section

D&AD re-launch New Blood Shift NYC programme

D&AD has announced the re-launch of New Blood Shift New York 2020, a free opportunity for aspiring creatives without college qualifications to get a foothold in the creative industries.

As the next generation of creative talent face significant barriers to education and employment as a result of the coronavirus, the organisation is partnering with Adidas and Spotify to continue offering a supportive and educational space for untrained talent.

Accessible space for untrained talent


Since 1980, D&AD New Blood has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent from all backgrounds to work towards a fairer, more diverse creative sector.

At a time when opportunities to learn new skills, impress creative employers and build portfolios are particularly difficult to access, especially for those without pre-existing networks, mentors or qualifications, D&AD are tackling this by continuing to offer 18 New York-based creatives a place on the Shift program. Now in its fifth year, the program is a night school designed to create pathways into the industry for those outside of the college system and provide aspiring talent a chance to develop and refine their creative skills.

Due to take place earlier this year but delayed by the coronavirus, Shift is relaunching in a primarily digital fashion through a program of online workshops, talks by industry leaders at agencies including VMLY&R and MullenLowe, alongside real client briefs. These learnings can help transform raw creative talent into tangible, marketable skills that help propel people forward in a career in the creative industries.

In collaboration with Adidas and Spotify, D&AD aims to create an accessible space for untrained talent to continue learning from and connecting with the industry, during an exceptionally challenging economic climate.

As part of Shift, applicants get the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects that reflect the latest trends and topics of the industry, brought together in a final showcase of creative work in February 2021. In 2019, 74% of the ‘Shifters’ on the London program secured placements after graduating the scheme, including in leading companies such as McCann, Droga5 and Design Bridge.

Improving routes of access


Hilary Chittenden, senior foundation manager at D&AD, commented:
Shift has always been dedicated to improving routes of access into the creative industries, showcased by the number of internships, paid-placements and full-time roles with leading agencies that our alumni have secured. As networking and job opportunities become difficult to access as a result of the pandemic, creatives without traditional qualifications face even more barriers to kick-starting their careers than ever before. We are proud to be able to continue offering Shift this year as a way of spotlighting a pool of untapped creative talent who can often go ignored. Our digital program will be our most accessible yet and we look forward to proving to the industry the value of investing in different types of creative talent.
Nicole Vollebregt, senior vice president of Global Purpose at Adidas, commented: "At Adidas, we believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives — and we action that belief by not just creating access to sport, but by also working to facilitate greater access to creative industries like ours. D&AD Shift is breaking the mould of traditional education and democratising access to career growth in our industry, and we're grateful to partner with them in this effort."

Alex Bodman, VP, global executive creative director at Spotify commented: “So many of the most successful and powerful voices on Spotify’s platform found their creative voice without taking a traditional path. For years now, Shift has been an essential program for an industry in need of new voices, perspectives, and the type of creativity you can’t earn with just a degree. We’re thrilled to partner with D&AD yet again - and look forward to seeing the impact of this year’s program.”

More information about the D&AD New Blood Shift New York program can be found on the D&AD website. The Shift program will also be taking place in London in 2021. Further details to be announced shortly.
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