Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Volunteering at the D&AD Professional Awards Judging Week 2015

Breaking into the creative industries is hard work, of course it is. Often it isn't a case of one interview and receiving a graduate, entry level position but one-two years after graduation of trying to get placements or work experience before you will even be considered. And so, almost one year on from putting up the degree show, I have been trying to do just that. The year brought with it many different experiences, both in work and personal aspects of my life. In taking chances, working hard and pushing for opportunities. 

D&AD has always had a close place to my heart. The prestigious awards that highlight you as the creative 'cream of the crop', both professionally and students. The events, workshops and talks. And the well known New Blood Festival where each year students from across the country showcase their best work, network and simply have the opportunity to get their foot in the door. During my second year at university my work was exhibited (an honour often reserved for final year students) and during my final year, myself and my close university friends rented a flat in London, attended the Festival, experienced the exhibit and attended many of the talks and workshops held in creative agencies and venues nearby. 

Each time offering me an entirely new experience and so this year I wanted to take part again. Rather than just attend I wanted to work at the event, and so while in my search for the position I found the role of 'Professional Awards Volunteer'. An opportunity to volunteer at the very judging process/event of the best creative talent in industry! It looked amazing, however the deadline had been a week ago and the role started in two days time over 200 hundred miles away in London. Yet I felt prompted to be cheeky and just apply, to email and ask. To explain my passion for the organisation and go for it. The worse that would happen would be a no or an ignored email right? 

Sending the application almost made me late for work that evening and I later returned home to see a response at around 1am. They wanted me!! After a quick text conversation with a friend I had somewhere to stay for the week and a silly amount of money on a train ticket later (made slightly better by a railcard) and I was on my way the following day! Leaving my husband of only three weeks behind.  

It was so incredibly wonderful to be surrounded by creative work once more. My last placement had ended a few weeks before my wedding and as each one ends it's an entire job search all over again to get another one. I was so happy to be in an environment full of buzz and energy for creativity again. I was able to attend talks in the evenings, was invited to the afterparties and simply loved being able to work hard surrounded by things I truly love and connect with. I was able to see a wide range of work and was overcome with joy that there was so much that still held a physical level or identity. My own style of work gravitates towards the 3D and the physical design so there was a real sense of attachment  and appreciation that it was being regarded so highly in an increasingly digital and print based world. 

The event itself was decorated insanely. Kudos to the events team! With the typography and illustration done by Marion Deuchars, I loved the hand lettered approach and was even given a t-shirt with the same design. I was given an iconic D&AD yellow badge to wear (after cheekily requested one of course!), a lanyard and even a radio which really helped me feel apart of the D&AD team. I had a a wide range of duties including setting up aspects of the exhibition, getting work ready that had been shortlisted, safe guarding work and generally assisting. It was such a privilege to see the exhibit before the general public and to know what had been chosen before it was even announced. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be even a small part of it. Sometimes we work so hard for opportunities and nothing seems to come of it and other times things seem to happen very quickly and very significantly. I have a great deal of hope and perseverance for my future career in the creative industries and will relish every moment getting there. 

*All photos (minus the collage above belong to the D&AD flickr account which can be found here  

For similar posts please see the 'education' section.

1 comment so far

  1. Looks like you had a great time Kiera! I think this is something I would like to do - I'm so nosey and interested in behind the scenes, especially for something as prestigious as the D&AD awards. I don't think I'll ever get to experience being a judge but I'd love to do a BTS blog post because I think it's important for students & people who enter the awards to see how it works :)


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