Yesterday our Director of Communications and Behaviour Planning, Danni Mohammed, visited the School of Communication Arts to mentor some of its students.
Here, she shares what the students taught her:
Inspiration point 1. The building
The school occupies St Matthews Church on Brixton Hill, a fully functioning church used by the local community for worship and as a place for gathering. SCA found its residence up wide spiralling church stairs to the 4th floor. (Thinking of setting up a school? What better place than a Grade II listed church in the heart of Brixton?)
Inspiration point 2. The classroom
Unlike a typical lecture hall or tutorial classroom, the SCA has pulled together a ramshackle of tables, chairs, sofas, together with a mini stage for talks and what looked like some makeshift awnings to create its home high up in the church.
The philosophy of the SCA is to learn through collaboration and mentoring from within the industry. Each day, students attend 'school' and actively work on live briefs, from D&AD New Blood to industry briefs from the likes of Metro. The diverse range of the tasks set help students decide where they want to focus.
Some examples of the D&AD New Blood live briefs they’re currently working on include:
- Pantone - Reimagine your hometown through the language of colour
- WPP 'Their World' – brand a global movement to change girls’ lives through technology
- Monotype – Use the power of type to create a new visual language for film advertising
- Nationwide - Position Nationwide as a future-facing brand.
Inspiration point 3. The students
I managed to get around three teams in the three hours as well as a chat with an ex-D&AD student of year who came back to do a talk about how to approach the D&AD awards. What was inherent in the students' need to create was their underlying ambition to solve real problems in a purposeful way. The approaches they took all varied and showed glimpses of their future professional selves. Ideas were insightful, fresh and relevant.
What most impressed me was one student who decided on his briefs because of his passion for the topic, and even when advised against them by the Dean. You couldn't help but get carried along with his logic (because he knows what he's talking about) and most importantly the broad and insightful ways he came to his ideas.
It was a wonderful opportunity to meet a group of polite, ambitious students with no shortage of ideas. If you get the chance to be a student, go for it, and if you get the chance to be a mentor, go for it. You’ll come out of that church more inspired than when you first stepped upon it.
Finally inspiration point 4. The Dean
Is it just me, me or does he look like Alan Rickman?