One School is the groundbreaking free portfolio program for Black creatives

Following a successful first year, One School has opened applications for its Fall 2021 programs run out of Atlanta and Chicago.

24 August 2021

Diversity and inclusivity still remain top priorities on the radars of many creative leaders. The One school is an organisation that seeks to address these issues. And, in only its first year, the free portfolio program for Black creatives has had highly successful results.

Six cohorts run out of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York prepared 84 new Black creatives – 65 per cent of which were women – to enter the industry in its first year. The program boasts an 80 per cent hire rate and many of the 30 graduates are earning their places at leading agencies in the design and arts industries. For example Gut, Droga5, Mojo Spotify, and Squarespace are just a few of the brands taking on such graduates.

Behind One's concept is award winning Spotify creative director Oriel Davis-Lyons, who co-founded the free program alongside the Creative Development department for The One Club for Creativity – a non-profit organisation which seeks to create a global creative community. “There is still a great deal of work to be done,” argues 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.”

In the name of trying to improve the diversity of the creative community, only students who have not previously attended a portfolio school may be eligible to apply to the One School. Most importantly, they don’t need any prior knowledge of advertising to apply.

Davis-Lyons says that “With two programs done, the school is proving that our principles – to be unapologetically Black from start to finish – actually work.” The school’s founder hopes that graduates come back to teach at the school having spent solid time in the industry.

The school is free, online, and runs two nights a week for 16 weeks. Students receive tenn briefs and at the end of the course, portfolio’s are judged and job placements are discussed. Autumn 2021 applications are open now for Atlanta and Chicago and are due on the 10th of September.

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(Copyright © ONE School, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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