ONE School Graduates 84 Black Creatives

Following a successful first year, ONE School, a groundbreaking free portfolio school for Black creatives, is taking  applications for its Fall 2021 programs run out of Atlanta and Chicago through September 10. The online program 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 program with The One Club for Creativity‘s Creative Development department. 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, 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 programs done, the school is proving that our principles – to be unapologetically Black from start to finish – actually 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 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 program sustainability to continue bringing creatively excellent Black graduates to advertising for years to come.”