“The only creative directors I see are white” – Shape the Narrative is here to change that

“This is unlike other types of funding,” explain the founders in a statement, “we’re giving a support network to two new creatives of colour. We want incoming creatives, who are of an ethnic minority, to have help and guidance navigating the industry. We’ve seen that a lack of this can leave people feeling isolated, causing them to leave it altogether.” Shape the Narrative therefore aims to be more holistic in its support of fledgling creative talent, asking its applicants simply have “the desire to come up with lots of ideas and show you have different approaches to problem-solving”.
Another way the industry can help is to give the Shape the Narrative students live briefs to take on during the course. “They can be small social campaigns to big national and international campaigns,” say the founders. “They can be weirdly shaped like a fame-driving brief or more collaborative as something the teams could brainstorm with an agency or strategist. This will give them a real taste of the industry.”
The programme is also looking to the industry for support in its cause, by way of offering funding, mentorship and paid work placements for the candidates. Placements should ideally last three months minimum, and consider individuals and creative teams. Mentors should be mid-weight to creative director level, and be willing to dedicate time to their mentor at least once a month. Shape the Narrative is looking for mentors from all backgrounds, as long as they are passionate and nurturing to the candidates. Donations are also welcome, which will help buy course materials such as books, laptops and software.
Find out more on Wonderday’s dedicated web page or the initiative’s Instagram page.
It’s not exactly breaking news that there’s a severe lack of diversity in the advertising industry, but the past year has seen a surge of schemes launched to try to address the imbalance. One such new initiative is Shape the Narrative, started by the teams behind advertising recruitment agency Wonderday and Black-owned storytelling agency Fatmelon Studios. The fund invites anyone over the age of 18 to apply, with no degree or experience needed, for the chance to be awarded a full scholarship to Watford Advertising School, career-long mentorship and paid work placements – not so much a foot in the door, rather a giant leap through it.

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