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Awards and Events

ONE School Free Portfolio Programme Graduates 84 Black Creatives in First Year

Women make up 65% of graduates in programme from The One Club, 80% hire rate at top agencies and brands

ONE School Free Portfolio Programme Graduates 84 Black Creatives in First Year

Following a successful first year, ONE School, the groundbreaking free portfolio school for Black creatives, has opened applications for its Fall 2021 programmes run out of Atlanta and Chicago.

The results-oriented online programme has already made a substantial contribution to adding diversity to the industry: six cohorts run out of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York prepared 84 new Black creatives - 65% of them women - to enter the industry in its first year.

ONE School has an 80% hire rate, with many of the 30 inaugural graduates landing jobs at leading agencies and brands including R/GA, Gut, Droga5, Translation, VMLY&R, Mojo Supermarket, Area 23, Spotify, Squarespace and others.  

ONE School will continue to be run by award-winning Spotify creative director Oriel Davis-Lyons, who came up with the concept and co-founded the free programme with The One Club for Creativity’s Creative Development department.  

Due to the hands-on mentoring aspect of the programme, Fall enrollment in the Atlanta and Chicago programmes is limited to 15 students in each.  The Atlanta cohort will be run by Dominique Wynne, award-winning associate creative director at Spotify, and Chicago will again be headed by Lewis Williams, chief creative officer, and Terrence Burrell, VP, creative director, at Burrell Communications.

To be eligible for ONE School, students cannot have previously attended a portfolio school.  Applicants are selected based on their raw creativity, passion and commitment so as not to discourage those with no prior knowledge of advertising.  

“With two programmes done, the school is proving that our principles -- to be unapologetically Black from start to finish -- actual work,” said Davis-Lyons, who before his current role at Spotify held creative positions at R/GA and Droga5 in New York and Colenso BBDO in New Zealand.  “Our grads are now working at the industry’s top agencies and brands, and having an impact on the world.  The goal now is to make sure ONE School goes from strength to strength so that in 10 years time, our grads come back as teachers and keep the cycle going.

The free online school runs two nights a week for 16 weeks, with students getting 10 briefs over the course covering everything from OOH to Innovation and Data-Driven Storytelling.  Later weeks of the course are devoted to portfolio building, judging by top agency professionals, awarding of the top student portfolios and job placement.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done,” said Bob Isherwood, head of The One Club’s Creative Development department.  “ONE School is a stake in the ground, and we’re building upon this foundation and cementing programme sustainability to continue bringing creatively excellent Black graduates to advertising for years to come.”

The One Club has a track record of creating ongoing programmes that help address the ad industry’s lack of diversity.  

Other long-running DEI initiatives from the nonprofit organization include more than a decade of annual Where Are All The Black People diversity conferences and career fairs, global Creative Boot Camps and mentorship programmes for diverse college students, the WE ARE ONE poster design initiative rallying creatives around the world to take a collective stand against racism and intolerance, the COLORFUL global grant programme to help young BIPOC creatives advance their careers, the Paid Internship Pledge to help aspiring BIPOC creatives get a foot in the door at agencies, and introduction of The One Show Fusion Pencil and ADC 100th Annual Awards Fusion Cube, the industry’s first global awards to recognize great work that best incorporates DEI principles in both creative content and the team that made it.

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