Events: D&AD Shift with Google in London: night school programme providing opportunities for unrepresented creatives culminates in Showcase event

LONDON, UK – Last night, the 2021 D&AD Shift with Google in London five month night school programme culminated in a Showcase event which saw 19 aspiring creatives present their responses to industry set briefs to top creative professionals in an in-person event at D&AD. The event saw leading industry professionals come together to view the work and meet with this year’s cohort.

Since 1980, D&AD New Blood has stimulated creative excellence by nurturing emerging talent. Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, Shift aims to uncover, support and ultimately help secure jobs for a rich mix of creatives. The programme delivers a vital opportunity for emerging talent without 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 learning environment for creatives who face barriers to both education and employment.

At a time when the industry must prioritise diversity and inclusivity in the workforce, Shift provides creative organisations access to an exceptional pool of fresh talent, outside of the university system, with the aim of working towards a more stimulating and equitable future for the industry. In 20191, over half the graduates from the Shift programme went on to secure placements in leading creative companies such as Droga5, The Mill and McCann.


The Shift London class of 2021 are Aaron Hettey, Ashley De Guzman, Aurelie ‘Kutcha’ Bouzin, Ben German-Hamilton, Chibuikem Akata, Csaba Domboroczki, Ebika Pinneh, Ellen Walpole, Lücy Aa, Kims Mihailovs, Luke Patrick James McCabe, Maria Paula Dominguez Diez, Peggy Pollard, Phoebe Langley Gussin, Renaldo Otoo, Runako Bedeau, Safiya Abdinasir Farah, Sukyella Randle-Caprez, Tarrine Khanom.

Lücy Aa, Shifter Class of 2021, commented: “My experience throughout D&AD has been Gucci! D&AD has opened up so many doors for me already and I’m eager to see what the future holds for me in Adland. If anyone has the opportunity to join D&AD Shift in the future I’d advise them to take it and soak up everything.”

Phoebe Langley Gussin, Shifter Class of 2021, commented: “Looking back on my time on Shift, I couldn’t have had a better time. Making wonderful work with wonderful people, Shift has been transformational in all sorts of ways.”

Due to continued Covid-19 precautions, the 2021 London Showcase was a small in-person event, which took place on 14 October at D&AD in London. All 19 participants had the opportunity to present their responses to the three set briefs with select industry professionals.

The Showcase event will be followed by both in-person and virtual 1-2-1 portfolio sessions, allowing Shifters the opportunity to network with industry professionals face-to-face, to discuss their work and get in front of prospective employers. For those unable to attend the Showcase the Shift cohort’s work is viewable in person at D&AD from 18th – 29th October, to book a slot register here.

Paul Drake, Foundation Director at D&AD, commented: “We are an industry that thrives on diverse voices and divergent thinking and yet by recruiting from narrow pools of talent we have squeezed differences out and often the work is poorer for it. Shift remains vital for the sector to prioritise more diverse voices to ensure our industry is as relevant and reflective of the society we live in.

Aliyah Hasinah, Programme Producer D&AD Shift, commented: This year’s Shifters are a challenge to the industry of how they can do better to engage pro-active thinkers and creatives outside the university pipeline, who are ultimately the future of creative innovation. We are pleased to be able to host this year’s Showcase in person for the first time since the pandemic and hope it’s the start of something special for the Shifters, with many of them being catapulted into the industry and tangible jobs as a result.”

Shift Select, new for 2021, is an optional continuation of the main Shift programme kicking off in November. Leading agencies have committed to extend the learning experience through in-agency placements focusing on a particular discipline. A number of London based agencies have signed up to offer paid placements allowing Shifters to double-down on a particular discipline including Superunion (Design), ENGINE Mischief (PR), and Iris (Advertising). We hope to announce more pathways shortly.

Saskia Owens, Partnership Lead at Google, commented: “D&AD has long been a leader in reaching immensely talented creatives from outside the traditional education system, and this year’s London class was no exception. It was a privilege to partner with Shift in delivering learning and networking opportunities to these creatives, and to see their work throughout. It is voices like these that the industry needs more of.”

Carole Davids and Nate Woodhead, Group Creative Directors at Virtue, commented: “Working with the Shifters has been a shot in the arm for creativity: their passion, talent and imagination knows no bounds and we’ve been endlessly impressed with their ideas. Our industry isn’t one dimensional and the routes into it shouldn’t be either. Working with D&AD on this programme is a reminder that whilst the advertising industry collectively knows there’s work to be done on bettering accessibility, this ethos is ultimately about actions, not just words. We’re excited to watch the Shifters’ careers flourish.”

To find out more about this year’s participants and see their work please visit the D&AD website.


1. In 2019, 70% of Shifters secured placements in London, 50% of Shifters secured placements in New York

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