D&AD challenges industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ with the return of in-person Festival in London in May

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D&AD challenges industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ with the return of in-person Festival in London in May

The long-awaited D&AD Festival is set to return to London for the first time since 2019. Marking its 5th year and in partnership with Adobe, four days of events across two venues will feature 300+ international judges, leading brands, progressive speakers, pressing topics, provocative debates, hands-on workshops and the awarding of this year’s Pencil winners.


The festival starts at The Truman Brewery on 9 and 10 May 2023 against the backdrop of D&AD Awards judging with keynote talks, jury insight sessions, immersive workshops and an exhibition from the D&AD Awards 2023 Shortlist, followed by two Awards nights revealing this year’s D&AD Pencil winners at BFI Southbank on 24 and 25 May.

Offering a significantly reduced ticket price to allow for broader accessibility, and with its first female CEO Jo Jackson now at the helm as well as the recent additions of forward-thinking, game-changing creative leaders Chaka Sobhani, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett UK + Global, and Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock, Soursop co-founder, to D&AD’s Board of Trustees, this year’s festival is a must-attend event to stimulate, challenge and enable the creative industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ Alongside talks, workshops and the Awards, vital new talent initiatives such as D&AD Shift will feature.

D&AD challenges industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ with the return of in-person Festival in London in May

(Pictured L-R: Jo Jackson, Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock and Chaka Sobhani)

The principal theme ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ shapes the festival’s programme. MAKE celebrates creative excellence today, uncovering insights and sharing tools to empower you to achieve it. CHANGE looks at what’s next, debating opportunities and challenges arising from evolving and emerging technologies, pushing the industry forward, standing up for what’s right, and making space for new voices to thrive.

Speakers from brands such as TikTok, Dove, Uber, depop, Microsoft, The FT and Oatly, and award-winning designers, tech leaders, advertisers, animators and storytellers from across the creative world will explore topical subjects from talent and accessibility to changing consumer behaviour, technology’s opportunities and risks, mental health, sustainability, craft skills, and more through provocations. These include: ‘Why the industry needs to think more neurodiversely’; ‘Do you feel the pressure to be purpose led’; ‘Pushing back against burnout’; ‘Machines will make us more creative than ever before’; ‘How to support the Ukrainian creative industry’; and ‘it’s a gamer’s world’’.

This will be the first D&AD Festival overseen by new CEO Jo Jackson. She plays a critical role in furthering D&AD’s education programmes and charity remit to stimulate the global creative community to create excellent, impactful work and nurture future generations of creative talent.

Says Jackson: “We’re making work in a world that’s creating new intelligence, embracing renewables, facing extinction, confronting its biases, entrenching inequality, exploring further, living longer and still fighting a pandemic.

“It’s clear that we can’t just make things that are pretty. We can’t make plastic junk. We can’t waste time making things up that aren’t even real. We can’t ignore how technology is shaping us. We can’t play off our privilege, take comfort in convention, or turn a blind eye. But our creativity can make a real difference in response to these challenges.”

D&AD challenges industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ with the return of in-person Festival in London in May

This direction will be noticed with an increased spotlight on D&AD Shift with Google. This free, industry-led night school for self-taught creatives from under-represented backgrounds is supported by the awards and festival revenue. This growing initiative informs the festival programme through panel discussions examining political, systemic and cultural barriers and art by Shift alums made especially for the festival, inviting the industry to #ShiftCreativity.

Says Hitchcock: “It’s such an honour to join the board at this transformative time for D&AD, alongside other industry giants looking to change how our collective creative industry and education can be more inclusive, culturally broader and braver. We’re all relishing the opportunity to support Jo and the wider team as they usher in a new era that will hopefully help lay the foundations for a truly bright, creative future.”

The Festival will feature an exhibition of selected work shortlisted for a 2023 D&AD Pencil, showcasing the best commercial creativity from around the globe. The D&AD Awards will reveal this year’s Pencil winners, closing the Festival at BFI Southbank on the evenings of 24 and 25 May.

The complete programme and speakers can be found at dandad.org/festival.

Passes are available to purchase at https://www.dandad.org/festival
Passes start from £128+vat
Discounts are available for students, freelancers, small business owners, and retired persons.

The Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
BFI Southbank, 0 Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT

9 & 10 May at The Truman Brewery – D&AD Festival
11 May – D&AD Awards Shortlist announced online
24 & 25 May at BFI Southbank – awarding and announcement of D&AD Awards 2023 Pencil winners

D&AD challenges industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ with the return of in-person Festival in London in May D&AD challenges industry to ‘MAKE. CHANGE.’ with the return of in-person Festival in London in May