VMLY&R, leading global brand and customer experience agency, will open its doors this month to a new Detroit Experience Studio (DES), a 10-week immersive program where high school students can explore creative careers, build skills in marketing, advertising, and design, and work alongside industry experts and leaders.
Rooted in the Detroit community, DES was created to inspire the next generation of creative trailblazers and to address the stark racial inequity that exists in the creative industry.
“There is so much creative talent in the city of Detroit. Unfortunately, there are also so many barriers to enter industries like advertising. Detroit Experience Studio is designed to empower young people to not only think about having traditional careers like being a doctor or lawyer, but also consider careers like a creative director or UX designer,” says Nikeisha Beckford, Chair of DES’s advisory board.
DES will run two cohorts a year: Fall (October-January) and Winter (March-May), with 20 students in its inaugural year. The 10-week program meets twice a week, and class sessions are two hours each day. The DES vision is to celebrate youth as they are, while amplifying Black and brown voices in a highly creative and collaborative environment.
DES is a free program for all student participants. It was one of the first projects selected by WPP, VMLY&R’s parent company, to receive funding as part of the company’s Racial Equity Program. The program invites agencies from across WPP’s global network to apply for financial resources and support to run innovative programs that will advance racial equity and bring about change. It forms part of WPP’s wider $30 million racial equity commitment, announced in June 2020, to fund inclusion programs within the company and to support external organizations.
DES was developed in partnership with VMLY&R sister agencies, Makerhouse and UWG, as well as a few of the Detroit Public Schools.
“We’re excited to open our doors and work collaboratively with the next generation of creative leaders. The inspiration for DES is action-oriented social change. While it is a unique approach, hopefully these type of opportunities become more prevalent across our industry,” said Jon Cook, VMLY&R Global CEO.
DES is located on the WPP Detroit Campus at Marquette Building, 243 W Congress St, Detroit, MI 48226. For more information and to apply, go to www.detroitexperiencestudio.com.