Voices

The Brooklyn Brothers Night School shows the power of fresh thinking

The Brooklyn Brothers celebrates the second year of its Night School initiative to attract young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds into the creative industries.

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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Last week, this year’s cohort of Brooklyn Brothers Night School graduated from their experience freshly equipped with new industry insight, an expanded network of friends and colleagues, each with their own major creative manifesto project.  

After a successful pilot of Night School back in 2019 which saw 80% of the students securing paid employment, this year’s curriculum saw the students collaborate with The Brooklyn Brothers staff and guest experts from a wide range of fields who all shared their collective wisdom with the budding creatives.

The class of 2021 experienced a new form of Night School with the free training and mentoring programme moved to a virtual format, meaning the scheme could be open to 18–25-year-olds across the whole of the UK. The six-part curriculum was designed to educate and empower the young people, unlocking their creative potential and opening new doors to a future career.

With only around 15% of UK advertising agency employees coming from Black, Asian or minority backgrounds, there is a huge need for greater diversity in creative industries yet a lack of accessible internships and training schemes. Existing traditional internships are often only suitable for a small number of people and can be unattainable for those with day jobs, or without contacts in the industry.

Based on the belief that creativity should be open to everyone, The Night School programme addresses this imbalance and provides students with an opportunity to receive free training facilitated by guest tutors from a wide range of creative industry sectors, including music, fashion, journalism and film production.

Open to students from a diverse range of backgrounds with differing levels of experiences, this year's programme helped the class plan careers and identified opportunities to make a genuine creative impact. Along the way each student also developed a personal manifesto that visually embodies their identity.

I’ve never done anything like Night School before and the programme has given me a new confidence and determination. I hope others get the chance to have the same experience

Sam Botchey, Night School Graduate & Filmmaker

These manifestos touched on a range of themes including selfhood, current events and culture, exploring the idea of finding a sense of belonging in the modern world. The students experimented with a range of creative mediums and platforms, drawing on their own experiences to create unique, thought-provoking projects. Diverse thinking is evidenced in the vast assortment of manifestos as each student approached a topic important to them through their own unique creative lens.   

“When I applied to Night School, I was passionate about the industry, but I really didn’t know what to expect. Now I’ve graduated I want to use my voice in the creative world.” said Sam Botchey, Night School Graduate & Filmmaker says,” I’ve never done anything like Night School before and the programme has given me a new confidence and determination. I hope others get the chance to have the same experience.”

In a time where there is much talk about the talent crunch, schemes like the Brooklyn Brothers Night School help nurture budding creatives, opening up opportunities to people that will help enrich the industry. Championing diverse talent leads to greater work as a result of broader viewpoints and fresh perspectives. As the graduates' manifestos show, the talent is out there and now the onus is on the industry to make opportunities and make sure that talent can break through. 

“Once again we were blown away by the talent, humility and collaborative spirit of our graduating class. They are the literal embodiment of the fresh thinking that can and should be fuelling the future of the creative industries – all they need is the opportunity,” added Will Sansom, Head of Strategy & Night School Coordinator, The Brooklyn Brothers.

Post-graduation, The Brooklyn Brothers will continue to work with graduating students, helping them to expand their networks and take the next step in their education or careers. To find out more about Night School please click here.