BACK TO SCHOOL: Independent media platform Dazed & Confused is taking action to support creative education in the U.K. with its latest project, Dazed + Labs.
The initiative is created in partnership with Red Hook Labs, a U.S. public benefit corporation composed of a photography studio and school in Brooklyn that aims to create dynamic, free-to-access spaces where students can get together to share ideas, create work and get mentoring.
“Cuts in U.K. education have led to many schools losing their creative courses, including any photography provisions,” said Dazed Media cofounder Jefferson Hack, pointing to the timely nature of the new project. “The U.K.’s creative industries rely on new talent and new generations to keep it competitive and innovative. Dazed and Red Hook were built on incubating talent and participating in community projects, but we felt that now the time was right to put a more formal structure around [the initiative], so that it has the potential to scale.”
The launch of Dazed + Labs comes right after the Burberry Foundation announced plans to back an educational initiative for schools in Yorkshire, England, to measure the impact that an arts and creative education can have on young students’ lives.
The first iteration of the Dazed and Red Hook Labs program will be a series of weekly, two-hour photography classes hosted at the Rugby Portobello Trust, a West London youth center. The classes will be led by photographer Eddie Otchere and Dazed arts and culture editor Ashleigh Kane.
“We are taking our Dazed creatives and contributors into the Rugby Portobello Trust to share their personal experiences and knowledge with the first generation of Dazed + Labs students,” said Hack, pointing to additional workshops in the works, which will cover areas such as styling, zine-making and art-directing, as well as offer mentoring on how to enter the fashion industry or create a portfolio. “The ambition is to start providing many more locations with the program in the years to come. The more important thing is for us to reach out to youth that can’t obviously reach us.”
The publication will also be hosting young students at its headquarters, on 180 Strand, building on the success of an event hosted with Nike Inc. earlier this year, where students attended talks, a shoot and styling workshop at the magazine’s offices.
Another aim is to create a dialogue between students in the U.K. and the U.S. by sharing work, hosting joint exhibitions and organizing exchange programs between students in the U.K., participating in Dazed + Labs classes and U.S. students taking part in the Red Hook Labs programs.
“Most importantly, we will be sharing learnings from each other’s experiences. Jimmy Moffat, the founder of Red Hook Labs and his team of teachers are the key inspiration and sharing the work and stories of participants whose lives have been changed by going through both projects will be vital. That’s when we can inspire genuine change and give courage to [more students],” added Hack.