BEING BROKE AT THE SCA – By @eudaimonicr

By Rachael Simoes 




My journey to getting a place at the SCA was completely unorthodox. I didn’t even know creative advertising was a career before February this year. During my teenage years, I became wary of the potential negative effects of mainstream media; how a lack of representation made my friends deeply insecure. The advertising industry is born from capitalism and for better or worse carries some blame for under-representing certain groups. However, alongside most of my friends at the time, we hadn’t paid any direct attention to adverts, and so never developed this stream of thought.


So how and why am I going to the SCA? Thanks to Commercial Break, a paid opportunity for young creatives, from low-income and minority ethnic backgrounds, to get their foot into the advertising industry. When I found the application for Commercial I was up to my neck in applications for various creative apprenticeships. But theirs was different, with questions such as “I love my dog more than anything in the world- convince me to eat him” and absolute freedom with how to respond. Commercial Break was where I learnt that being part of creative within advertising is a challenging and demanding area that really fascinates me like no other. I managed to impress Marc Lewis from the SCA and, with the help of Commercial Break, was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship.


 I am grateful for this opportunity, but I still have a bug to bear with the advertising industry; from under-representation to a lack of accessibility to people of low-income/minority ethnic backgrounds, discomfort I feel in the white majority industry, and notice a lot SCA isn’t doing to make their course accessible for people of my background. But it’s only by people from low-income/minority ethnic backgrounds coming into these spaces and make their voice heard where it can change for the better. Hopefully, I can make good and inclusive adverts, bring more diversity to advertising teams, and complain enough to Marc about how inaccessible SCA is so that more people like me can attend the school.


Money is a constant issue for a self-supported 20 year old living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I work part-time to make ends meet, but with no student finance, no bursary and and no help from the National Careers Service (trust me, I’ve called). Generously, Commercial Break has organised to pay for my travel, but that leaves rent and food bills. The SCA requires 40 hours of my week, leaving little time for paid work. SCAs partners’ covers the tuition fees and Commercial Break covers my travel within London, which totals to over £18k. For reference, that’s more or less the yearly income of someone who works fulltime on a minimum wage job in the UK.


Although not obvious to others, people of colour are more likely to be stopped or questioned by the police and come under social prejudice. Speaking from experience, we are more likely to hide our ethnicity behind our projects than perform public acts like the previous scholarship winners that were all white/Caucasian.


Lastly, some of the summer assignments set require a bit of money. I was assigned to read 3-4 books and pursue a passion project (the examples given were produced an album or design a range of t-shirts and develop them). It may not seem like a lot, but for someone with little cash to spare it may seem like a  hurdle.

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