D&AD Graduate Academy Wrap Party

Together with Secret Walls, the students last night threw a Live Art Battle at Hoxton Gallery

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Selected from the D&AD Student Awards, one of the most prestigious celebrations of young Creative Industries talent, over the past month 29 graduates have been undergoing what can only be described as Creative Bootcamp. Working with brands and agencies from the UK including Mother, Brothers & Sisters, LBI and Moving Brands, the newly emerged students have been thrown into the real world. After such a gruelling schedule, briefed on Monday, present on Friday consistently for a month, it seemed only fair that before they undergo the second stage of the Academy, their industry placements, the team behind the scheme threw a wrap party, held at Hoxton Gallery. Adding a fittingly Creative element, the party itself consisted of a blank canvas Live Art Battle in conjunction with Secret Walls.

The aim of the Academy is ultimately about addressing the issue of how the Creative Industries fair during a period of economic difficulty, getting people to think outside of their speciality and connecting them with the industry itself

Bringing together four teams from Secret Walls themselves, agencies and the students, the task was to create a series of images across the canvases that sold their brief, in under 20 minutes, voted by the crowd. Set to a dub-step soundtrack, this was a little different to what they had been focused on for the past few weeks, but something with the core of the Academy's ideology at its heart. Diversity.

The aim of the Academy is ultimately about addressing the issue of how the Creative Industries fair during a period of economic difficulty, getting people to think outside of their speciality and connecting them with the industry itself. It's about giving them confidence and showing them what working is actually all about. “For me this is an amazing opportunity to be in contact with people from agencies that I would never normally be exposed to,” says Batya Ruff, one of the Academy members. “It really has been a completely new perspective on going into industry,” follows Sarah Hardcastle. “It's totally different from what you think you are going to experience. This has been a massive eye opener and you have the opportunity to see so much more than I had ever expected”.

For me this is an amazing opportunity to be in contact with people from agencies that I would never normally be exposed to

It's a difficult time for anyone leaving education at the moment and the Creative industries have always been notoriously competitive, so the opportunity for people to come in with varied backgrounds is an important one. Gone are the days when it was about staging a spectacle to draw your employers attention, it's not about standing outside the agency wearing a sandwich board that says HIRE ME any more. “Now it's more about doing really good work and being yourself. You’re not going to get into an agency because you go in with a stunt to impress, because at the end of the day you might not be the right person for the place,” says Louise Flanagan. “Everyone we have spoken to has said that you don't need to shout, you just need to be yourself. That's what this has given us, the confidence to be who we are”.

Photos by Graduate Academy 2012 photographer Ruth Jones

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