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Statement on D&AD Festival speaker fees

We understand that, rightly so, the industry is under scrutiny about accessibility and equal pay.

We welcome the conversation and appreciate the perspectives voiced around our policy on speaker fees because we are dedicated to serving the creative community. While we are saddened that some have chosen not to participate in this year’s Festival, we respect their decision.

As an organisation we stand for creative excellence in design and advertising, underpinned by the values of fairness, diversity and accessibility. All our activities and programs are designed to deliver these essential ingredients for a better industry. 

As a key part of this, we are steadfast in our belief that people from all backgrounds should be able to participate in an industry we care passionately about. The money we make as a not-for-profit allows us to run free-to-attend education programmes like New Blood Shift which provides training, mentorship and access to the creative industries for creatively talented individuals who would otherwise not be served by the traditional routes into the industry.

D&AD Festival is designed to include voices from many backgrounds with as many experiences as possible to inform a rich debate about the future of the industry we serve.

Across many of our initiatives, including the Festival, we rely on the generous knowledge-sharing and donation of precious time from leading creatives to educate, nurture and inspire the wider creative community. 

Our current policy is to not offer speaker fees. On very rare occasions we have entered into negotiations and some have resulted in fees or expenses being paid. The majority of speakers are not receiving any remuneration for participating and choose to join the Festival to use D&AD's global platform and add their views to the many important debates that impact our industry.

It is clear that this was not clearly and consistently communicated on this occasion and we are committed to ensuring we put necessary steps in place to communicate our policies to our community and collaborators moving forward.

Following the recent comments and feedback from the community, we are examining our speaker fees policy for future events and will make this public once the review is complete.

We have clarified our position directly with the speakers involved, and we hope those who have decided to not take part will reconsider joining us in conversations that must be had to ensure our industry includes as many views as possible and embraces vital debates about our future.

For reference, this is an extract from the D&AD mission statement;

‘As a non-profit advertising and design association, all D&AD's surpluses go straight into programmes such as New Blood, inspiring the next generation of creative talent and stimulating the creative industry to work towards a fairer, more sustainable future’

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