The Brooklyn Brothers celebrates the graduation of its class of ’21 and the second year of its Night School initiative to attract young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds into the creative industries. To read more about the graduates see their bios below.
Whilst studying Industrial Design at Uni and landing UX/UI roles after graduating, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the Footwear Design or Fashion world. Not having any experience or connection to this industry kept me from exploring any possibilities. I also felt, as a woman wanting to jump into a male-dominated field, incredibly intimidated and out of my depth. At Night School I decided to use my manifesto as a calling card for potential interviews, through this, I was able to realise my abilities and creative skills. It is a portfolio of work showcasing the process behind the creation of the concept brand ‘Not Your Hypebae’, using sneaker design as a platform for conversations around women in the streetwear/footwear culture.
Night School was the creative space I needed to realise that I could make my passion a reality. Getting the Night School team’s encouragement and support was a push towards creating a manifesto that was not only a real reflection of myself, my creative abilities, and the issues I want to bring light to, but also a path towards a career. Without the Night School’s connections, opportunities, and guidance, I wouldn’t have the relationships I’ve built with other creatives and industry professionals.
The most important lesson of Night School was understanding that I wasn’t a creative, a photographer nor an artist but that deep down I was a storyteller. I’ve learned so much on how to believe in who I am and develop my full creative self. During my time as a night schooler, I had my eye behind the viewfinder which allowed me to be present, to connect with myself and the world around me. By meeting amazing people, a whole new world of jobs and opportunities opened up. It’s given me an entirely different perspective of London’s creative industry. George and his crew believed in every single night schooler and that for us, the sky was the limit.
I'm Muskaan - a final year media student and aspiring creative. I moved to the UK in 2019 from India for a bachelor's degree, creative pursuits and fish and chips. Over the last few years, I've explored several creative routes and the advertising industry feels like the right place. When I am not painting or writing, I love to hold candid conversations about mental health and find ways to make education accessible.
The Brooklyn Brother’s Night School is one of a kind; unlike other programs it doesn’t focus solely on advertising but aims to foster creativity in all its forms. Additionally, all the speakers, mentors, and fellow Night Schoolers, hailed from completely different backgrounds leading to exciting conversations, new perspectives, and meaningful projects. When I started the Night School I was back home in India. Through this programme, I had a chance to continue learning across continents and not let quarantine contain my growth. After every session, I left feeling energized, inspired, and having learnt something new. This experience has helped me believe in my own power and creativity and given me access to people who can help me cultivate it. I am extremely grateful for this experience and would like to thank the entire Brooklyn Brothers team for their support.
I'm Saadadeen, A proud West-Londoner and recent Night School Graduate. Night School opened the door to a world to which I had little knowledge. I remember having a conversation with Tito ex-Night School student, who is now a Junior Strategist and rising star at Brooklyn Brothers, when we were both at university, about the creative industries. And it was with his encouragement that I applied to the programme. The highlight of Night School was my cohort. Meeting each week (albeit virtually) and learning with and from my fellow Night-Schoolers was inspiring and injected the type of energy that made Zoom meetings not only bearable but engaging!
The impact that my Night School experience will have on my future is difficult to wrap in language, but two things come to mind. Meeting the good people at the Brooklyn Brothers George, Georgia, Saffron, Will and Bella, and getting to know them has already been formative and I'm sure it will continue to be. Their generosity when it comes to time, resources and networks is something me and my cohort have benefitted from immensely. Experiencing the final projects of each of my classmates has forced me to rethink the parameters and purpose of my own creative endeavours. This is what I think will have the biggest impact on my future.
I am a creative with a passion and desire to generate positive and sustainable change in both my professional and personal life. In my free time, I enjoy incorporating and combining my love for history with graphic design and helping other women see their creative potential through the Creative Women’s Hub. My manifesto was a series of my graphic designs and illustrations which I used to depict the cyclical nature of hardship and ease. The world needs to be reminded that although times have been tough as of late, ease will always come as it always has in history. I drew on my culture, religion, and love for history into my designs. The title “Verily with Hardship comes ease” is a Quranic quote. The rest of my designs showcase my British/Bengali heritage and my passion for female empowerment.
Night School has encouraged me to trust myself and my creative instincts in a way that I have never been able to do so before. It has opened my mind up to different creative processes, ways of thinking and more importantly has reaffirmed and strengthened my belief in myself and my abilities as a creative. As someone who grew up believing I was not innately creative and took a more traditionally academic route, it has also provided me with a strong foundation on what the creative world entails, the potential it has to grow and the spaces that are opening up for poc to assist in this process of transformation.
Samuel Botchey Jr
My passions are football, film, and writing. I was playing semi pro football and coaching and when I heard about Night School, I was very interested in learning more about the creative industry. And working with other creatives. 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. I’ve never done anything like Night School before and the programme has given me a new confidence and determination.
Through Night School I always feel like I can do anything, some people are slowed down by their perceptions of themselves, hopefully mine and the other Night School graduates’ stories can push people from ethnic minority backgrounds to join internships like night school and succeed. Night school has put me in a great space for the future to push on and continue working hard. I hope others get the chance to do it.
My name is Tife, and I am a third-year student studying marketing and psychology at the University of Sussex. After graduating, I am excited to explore the world of technology, and particularly the creative applications of digital tools. When I first joined the Night School, I was in the beginning of my second year not knowing what path or what direction I wanted to go in. All I did know was that I had a passion for the arts and wanted to surround myself with creativity. Through Night School I was able to deepen my curiosities and discover multiple new things about myself. Night School gave me a voice and the confidence to broaden my horizons and try things I had never done before.
Through Night School I was able to deepen my curiosities and discover multiple new things about myself. Night School gave me a voice and the confidence to broaden my horizons and try things I had never done before. Night School has enabled me to understand the importance of finding yourself and that is something that I will take on with me in future. Especially, believing in yourself and allowing yourself to be the best version of you.
Toyah Demi Panton
My name is Toyah Demi Panton. Since I was a young girl, I've always found comfort in being alone with my thoughts. There's something I enjoy about the world around me being silent but the world within me roaring with ideas and questions. My inner voice is the driving force behind my poetry and through my own self reflections, I hope for others to be inspired to look within self too. Outside of poetry, I've always been interested in business, whilst I studied business at university, I wasn't too sure what a career after graduating would look like. I had a brilliant mentor through the NS programme who provided me with exceptional support when I was job searching. During the past 7 months, I’ve been working as an innovation consultant - a role that enables me to explore my interests in both business and creativity. My manifesto 'Black Joy' is a sweet concoction of jazz and spoken word poetry (two things I love) presented in the form of a video montage. When I look around me, black joy is waiting to be discovered everywhere…in the unspoken moments of the everyday, to memories within the mind. Black joy is past, present, and future and is something to be shared and celebrated.
For me, Night School taught me how to implement. As a creative, it's all too easy getting lost in your own mind but there comes a point when you must divorce yourself from the creative process and produce. Night School provided me with the tools necessary to make my creative process actionable. Overall, I feel confident that I’ll be leading more creative projects of my own in future.
My name is Juliana. I am passionate about stories– particularly drawn to those that speak to the human experience. For my day job I’m a Junior Creative at copywriting agency Sonder & Tell. On the side, I host and produce a podcast called No Shame In My Name where I ask my guests to share the stories and meanings behind their names. I’ve learnt so much from Night School. I loved that the brief was set with no reins on how I could achieve it. From the very beginning I’ve had the support and encouragement from the Brooklyn Brothers team – particularly my mentors Tito and George. They encouraged me to reach out to my network to bring my project to life in a personal and authentic way. “Be yourself,” said Tito. “Keep it simple and honest,” said George. I loved that advice and I hope that I’ve been able to honour it with integrity. My manifesto ‘ripthereceipt’ is a commentary about forgiveness and a personal account of my own struggles to forgive. Jacqueline Davies, a talented designer helped me to bring my vision to life.
Overall, Night School has given me the platform and the courage to test and interrogate my ideas. But it has also given me the freedom to discover more about the kind of creative that I want to be. Since exhibiting my work at the final showcase, I no longer see myself as just a writer or a storyteller. I’m an Artist.
Cameron & Rebekah
CAMERON ST CLAIRE AITCHESON-LABARR
I am a queer Black multidisciplinary artist who experiments with painting, photography, archives, film, and other mediums to explore and tell stories about the liminal space that BIPOC people inhabit while living in white supremacist societies. By analysing these modes of being, I can ‘sit in the room with history’ (Brand, 2001 in Sharpe, 2016 p.28) and retrace the stories of those who inhabit the ‘undercommons' (Moten & Harney, 2013). By bringing these stories to life I not only demonstrate how ‘racism does not stay still, but changes its shape, size, and contours’ (Sivanadan, 2008 p.64), but I reveal that in such space of liminality there is resistance, love, and community.
Night School allowed me to develop confidence in my artistic expression/practice and proved to me the beauty of collaborative work. I think this will impact my future by giving me the confidence to execute more artistic projects, seek out more opportunities for collaboration and take more risks.
I am a freelance Sociopolitical Photographer, Cultural Events Producer and Creative whose work seeks to celebrate Black culture and explore social issues surrounding the global majority in today's world, often focusing on the woman experience. Through my community art and engagement work, my mission is to make the creative industry more diverse and inclusive, specifically by ensuring the arts is more available and accessible to young people from Black, Asian, and non-white backgrounds.
Through Night School, I enjoyed having the opportunity to explore collaborative work and the challenge of making an outcome during a time where access to materials was limiting. I now feel more confident to continue that more collaborative way of working as it has allowed me to grow as a creative practitioner and understand the magic of working alongside other great creatives.
Eden Ezinne Igwe
Eden Igwe is a 20 year old writer-filmmaker from South West London, in their final year of study at the University of St. Andrews, with current interests in music video, animation and above all independent black cinema. Entering Night School with a degree of experience behind the camera, the programme strongly solidified my interest in the medium of moving picture. Hearing from weekly speakers telling stories through graphic design, ad campaign production, writing and more, it became clear with each week of talks that making films fit the way my brain works - multiple sensory components all coming together to produce a singular narrative. By the time we heard from professional director Joe Connor, it became clearer I had a strong desire to work on films far into the future.
From Night School I mostly took away an awareness of the power of your story. I knew my experience of creativity couldn't be separated from my experience as a young black person in Britain. But hearing about the power in relating that story to others, and the joy of letting go of perfection in favour of conveying what is most important, was a lesson that I've taken to everything I've made since - from experiments in animation in my spare time to my work as Head of Video for my university radio station. I also loved the meetings with my liaison and fellow cinephile George Bryant - watching (and becoming obsessed with) the film 'Rocks' on his recommendation was a moment I won't forget!
I began night school just concluding my first 3 years studying architecture, with a slightly rigid mindset approaching the creative world. As a singer songwriter, with some experience curating art exhibitions and events - and also reflecting on my passion for design - I knew I had a deep passion for storytelling but struggled to find direction in how to maximize my creative voice.
Night school has impacted my creative outlook massively and most significantly given me the confidence to know and believe there is a space to tell my stories in the way that feels most authentic to me. Navigating my future, I think I’ll be more motivated to challenge the creative boundaries of existing spaces and even create new ones for marginalised audiences, as opposed to just trying to fit in!