Sunday, 20 April 2014
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A new D&AD?

‘This Government has done more destruction in the shortest period of time than any other government in British history – it’s absolutely extraordinary.

‘They claim to support the creative industries, but all their actions are producing the opposite effect – it makes no sense.’

Neville Brody

When Neville Brody was announced as D&AD president-in-waiting last year, it was fair to say nobody expected a particularly tranquil term of office, but as he takes his post Brody is, even by his standards, on proactive and combative form.

The big battle he plans to wage, through and with D&AD, is over education. The organisation is currently finalising plans for the D&AD Foundation, which will aim to support creative students facing rising costs by, for example, sourcing cash to directly pay for their education fees or bursaries.

D&AD, although probably synonymous for most people in the design industry with its awards scheme, has always had a remit to support education, through mechanisms such as its education network.

What the D&AD Foundation will do, Brody says, is focus and clarify these activities, which will allow D&AD both to develop new and more ambitious projects (such as paying student fees) and separate them from D&AD’s more commercial activities around the awards.

Indeed, the aim is for D&AD membership and awards to support the Foundation, potentially both financially (a certain percentage of membership fees could be ring-fenced to support education for example) and practically.

Brody says D&AD is looking at ideas like ‘community service’ for pencil winners, which could take in activities such as mentoring and the development of apprenticeship programmes.

One of the clear points about the D&AD Foundation is that it would be completely unable to achieve its goals without the support – both financially and practically – of industry.

Brody acknowledges this, saying, ‘Industry owes education so much – without it it couldn’t be there… We’re kind of leveraging off an industry that’s been capitalising on nationalised education for so long, and it actually needs to just step in and help support it at the moment.

‘I don’t believe that society and industry should be picking up after what fundamentally should be a Government role – because it goes straight back into the British economy – but given the fact that the British Government is Hell-bent on destroying all of this…’

The DAD 50 logo, designed by Neville Brody to mark the organisation's half-century this year

The D&AD 50 logo, designed by Neville Brody to mark the organisation’s half-century this year

Brody adds, ‘In 20 years time if we don’t do this then will there be a D&AD? Will the industry be properly supported by bright minds coming out of art school? The industry is such an important part of the economy, but it could start to collapse for lack of new thinking and new people coming into the industry.’

D&AD has spent the past couple of years trying to position itself as a ‘campaigning’ organisation, including work by Brody on the education sub-committee, but under his presidency this is stepping up a gear.

‘I said I would only become part of the D&AD development process if the remit was about strategy,’ he says.  Beyond education, he points to issues such as equal opportunities and representation at a Government level as other briefs he wants D&AD to tackle.

Regional development is also seen as key, with Brody keen to push D&AD as an organisation affecting all UK regions, as well as having a stronger international presence.

He says, ‘There are towns and areas in the UK where the public sector has collapsed, unemployment is very high and there is no access to any kind of creative skills training because Government doesn’t really support it, so that’s where we need to focus our workshop efforts.’

But education remains the core pillar. He says, ‘Myself, I probably couldn’t have gone to art school if I’d had to pay some of the fees that students have to face now.

 ‘The last thing we want in this country is great minds not being able to take on creative education because of the cost – it’s an absurdity.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • horray.

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  • For the past 5 or six years I have been campaigning on behalf of design thinkers in education, especially because when you look at the enterprise, entrepreneurship and employability agenda it has been led by our business schools, who have little experience of innovation in education, something they now seek to redress.

    Hopefully the new QAA Guidelines on EE indicate that this engagement has born some fruit, but without good design thinking the whole approach, in my view, could fail.

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  • I'm all for apprenticeships - industry stepping up to get young creatives a helping hand, learning while earning is a great start for anyone. I don't know how many times I've heard people with their degrees firmly in their back pockets saying they can't get a job. I grew up in the countryside where there are few creative job opportunities. I couldn't afford to go to University - my parents couldn't support me finically but they could support me with encouragement and by drumming it to me if you want it bad enough you'll make it happen. Instead I was proactive and got myself a junior placement in a design studio in Cambridge, cycled 20miles a day to get there and back again after a hour train ride each way and now i'm Senior Designer at my current place of employment. If these creatives what it enough they need to make it happen for themselves. Higher eduction isn't a given - you don't just deserve to get it all given to you. Drive, ambition and keeping your eye on your goal until you get there should be a given though - in my humble country girl opinion. Its OK blaming politics. Politics doesn't stop you making it happen for yourself. We've had work experience youngsters in my places of work - these were sadly more interested in surfing the net, when they should have been taken the great opportunity of being in a design studio, working on projects to put into their portfolios that they could take a long to interview and maybe get a job. Maybe its not so much about Government, politics and funding and more about personal attitude and ambition. Just an idea…….

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  • I believe we all (Government, Companies and individuals) have a role to play. Lee Ann your parents did a great job for you. They gave you a belief, and this you have used well. Sadly not all parents do the same. Paul Weller wrote the 'weak get crushed while the strong get stronger.' The weak (this can be weak in belief) need an advocate and it sounds to me like Neville Brody is the right person at the right time. The Government need to be reminded that there are those who need support. The successful (in this case creative companies and individuals) can enable the unsuccessful to step up. All of this take time and effort. Both time and effort cost. Finding the right route and then having the belief to follow that route doesn't just happen by magic. The route needs to be found and belief need to be nurtured. This is one of the great things about education. Whether its formal or informal education. Lets give a hand up to those who need it. So we can all stand tall.

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  • I agree with Mr. Brody.

    The government doesn't care if workers enjoy their jobs, all that matters is that they pay their taxes.

    We are quite literally in the matrix, powering a system that just doesn't fucking care.

    All the government wants are people who can sit down and perform menial tasks.
    So much for us right-brain-thinkers. We are the kind of people who drive change, innovation and industry, but the government is way too myopic in its planning.

    Fees for universities are extortionate.
    It does appear that the government are indeed resetting the social classes in this country; firmly placing the working man at the bottom of the ladder, so the well-off types can all play golf together, live together and inbreed.

    All you have to do is look outside the box; if you can?

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  • I don't agree with most of what mr Brody says, but with this occasion I am in agreement.

    The lacklustre, empty promises have rightly all but destroyed any credibility the Lib Dems had, as we'll no doubt see in two years when they lose all their seats.

    Take the Governments comms on the tax issues surrounding companies like Google. Sure, Google appear to have been clever, but unlike the Government ministers Google have been quite transparent about their operation and whilst their tax contribution is lower than the UK Government would like this is mere deflection tactics by the coalition. Corporation tax is taxed on profit, and Googles surplus is called operating profit.

    Google retain these operating profits, as do any other businesses, for reinvestment. And WHERE is a huge chunk of that invest going Mr Cameron? Mr Clegg? That's right, LONDON and the UK. Employing over 2,500 people, setting up, supporting and investing in tech and creative hubs. So the coalition would be wise to cautious around this topic.

    My laboured point is that the industry also needs to support this manifesto. Education is lacking because the Government haven't given them the tools to move with the times and so it falls to us to do more than our bit.

    Judging student awards, buying the D&AD annual/membership or creating another unpaid/minimum wage internship is not enough (it's a good start, but nothing more). We all need to provide more support and mentoring for our rising stars of the future.

    So can you do more? Will you do more? Well?

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