2017 AWARD School Exhibition and Co-lab Day 2: "It's not just creativity for the sake of creativity"

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WA State Manager for The Communications Council, Danielle Norrish, says the co-labs initiated this year as part of the AWARD School Exhibition have been a small but successful step towards a broader understanding of the industry. 

Day 2 of AWARD School Co-labs hosted year 11 and 12 students from Perth girl school's Iona Presentation College and Perth College. It was the second of this year's co-labs presenting an opportunity for Perth's public and private secondary school students to attend a free industry AWARD School workshop. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think today was an AWARD School first.

Now I've been with the Communications Council for the past 6 years and I am very aware that our industry is misunderstood. I see it all the time, open days at universities where parents often ask if copywriters, art directors and content creators are actually real paid jobs. So I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that after personalised letters, posters, emails and phone calls we didn't have high schools beating down the door to register their students. Or perhaps our reach and frequency tactics didn't hit the right school influencers, but what I can say for sure is the 11 young ladies who attended today's co-lab valued their experience.
The positive nature of their feedback reassured me that industry connection with secondary schools is an important step towards stronger talent strategies, as well as building broader awareness and credibility of our industry and our disciplines.

Paul Coghlan Creative Director, J Walter Thompson Perth and Head of AWARD School Perth shared industry fundamentals and techniques for ideation with the students. Then with layout pads and pens in hand students worked in small groups on a real brief with industry creative leaders Dav Tabeshfar (&Partners) and Wilora Keeley (J Walter Thompson).

The opportunity to not only learn ideation but to be mentored by senior creatives was invaluable, so special thanks to Paul, Dav and Wilora who gave up their morning to take part.

After two and half hours of working through the various phases of insights, ideation and execution, students presented their work and we ask for their feedback on the co-lab experience.

"I have never really thought of ideas before execution," said one student. "I have learnt today not to go for my first idea but allow myself time to explore more ideas as part of my process," said another.

Whilst these statements might seem quite obvious to those within our industry, it was interesting to hear students talk about the application of ideation techniques, making the connection to problem-solving skills they can apply to many areas of their day-to-day lives. Students reflected on their use of creativity at school in graphic design and English but not necessarily applying their learning to problem-solving or understanding if either link to an idea.

The learning today was definitely not a one way, what I received from this experience was incredibly inspiring. In only 3 hours 11 enthusiastic young ladies delivered solid thinking. Most importantly their ideas were insightful, simple and fresh which surprised us all.

The fact we enabled students to understand the difference between creativity for the sake of creativity and the use of a creative ideas to solve a problem was the aim. Whilst it was only two schools and a small cohort, it was the start towards building a broader understanding of what commercial creativity is and how it contributes to society and business.

Was today worth it? Absolutely. Is this why I love my job? Totally. Will we do it again next year? Definitely!

AWARD School Exhibition Final Day TODAY
10am to 4pm
Showcase Gallery
cnr Aberdeen & Beaufort Sts, Northbridge.

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