A free night school for self-taught creatives, D&AD’s Shift with Google is on a mission to bring diversity to the creative industry

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A free night school for self-taught creatives, D&AD’s Shift with Google is on a mission to bring diversity to the creative industry

D&AD Shift with Google is on a mission to #ShiftCreativity by helping creatives enter the industry from outside traditional pathways to shift their creative talent into career-making skills.


#ShiftCreativity’s approach aims to shake up old industry paradigms to benefit self-taught creative talent, creating a fresh system to both access and flourish in the commercial creative industry.

Internationally, Shift has trained over 300 creatives in London, New York, Sydney, Hamburg and Berlin since 2016 with an average of 74% of Shifters going on to creative jobs and placements after completing the programme.

Shifters go on to write for Apple. They strategise for Spotify. They have creative ideas for Disney. They direct Stormzy, animate for Katy Perry and shoot for Vogue. Shifters are employed by every major advertising and design agency network. They win Pencils. And sit on the board at D&AD.

After the program launch in Sydney in 2022, 88% of the inaugural class of Shifters have gone onto working in the Sydney commercial creative industry employed by the likes of  The Monkeys, Heckler, Abel, and BMF Australia.

The Shift Sydney 2023 cohort of 17 aspiring creatives have been learning from industry pros, honing their craft, polishing their brief work and creating their portfolios.

After five months of learning, answering briefs by Google, adidas and The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, now, this group of creatives are ready to take their talent even further to make an impact on the creative industry.

The Shift Sydney Class of 2023 are: Ella Gilberg, John Paine, Jess Stapleton, Minori Ueda, Raf Potenza, Daniel Muscat, Rey Vargas, Rodney Todd, Marmi Alatipi, Tom Gregory, Rubee-Rose Stephenson, Kent Boumaïza, Andrew Riis, Sammara Woolrich, Ayah Darwich, Binti Kamara, Hannah Churchill.

Says Lauren Chibert, lead producer, D&AD Shift with Google Sydney: “Just like other regions, we know that our Australian commercial creative industry severely lacks diversity. But due to various barriers at play, often agencies struggle to reach candidates from diverse backgrounds. Shift forces us to rethink how we recruit by equipping self-taught creatives with the industry skills they need to thrive.”

Says Michael Poland, campaign director, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty: “It was incredible to see teams of talented, passionate creatives come together and produce creative strategies for tackling one the world’s biggest challenges – climate change. In just a day, these incredibly talented individuals came up with exciting, new communications strategies with huge potential for impact. Shift isn’t just an exciting opportunity for up-and-coming creative leaders – it’s an opportunity for the entire industry to be challenged by people from all walks of life who are ready to use design for good.”