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Dazed and Converse launch far-reaching plan for next-gen creatives

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Open to Change is a resource for young creatives offering mentorship from those at the top of the industry, paid creative commissions and a series of events over the next 12 months

If the past few years have demonstrated anything, it’s that radical change is needed urgently in every arena of the creative industries. That’s why 2021 will see Dazed join forces with Converse to launch Open To Change, a partnership to support, empower, and platform the new generation of creatives. Coming to life through a new digital hub on Dazed, Open To Change seeks to carve out visibility for underrepresented communities in particular, driven by the vital question: Why are so many voices left out of the conversation, and how can we make them heard? 

Multifaceted and wide-reaching, Open To Change will encompass this year’s Dazed 100. Continuing the spirit of last year’s change-up the 2021 list is a truly global lineup of next-gen names leading change in their communities and across their fields. Selected with help from Dazed 100ers of years gone by, everyone featured was asked, “How will you shape the future?” Converse is granting $30,000 to help make one of the ideas proposed a reality. 

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At the heart of Open To Change is a special initiative led by Samuel Ross, the visionary founder of A-Cold-Wall*. Ross has curated a programme of roundtable sessions to run over the next year, which will tackle the urgent question of how to push for change in the creative industries. 

This launches with Manifesto For Change, a film starring Ross and shot by the emerging film-maker, photographer, and artist Gabriel Moses. It opens with a clear statement of intent from Ross: “Life is about precision. You have to be sharp, you have to be precise. It’s about focus.”

“What do I see today?” he continues. “I see the need for critical thinking, for continuity, access and entrepreneurship. I see new pathways for creativity, new archetypes, and new frontiers. I see barriers ready to be broken by young people who want to make a difference. So if you’re asking me what change looks like, open your eyes.”

“Life is about precision. You have to be sharp, you have to be precise. It’s about focus.” – Samuel Ross

As part of this mission, Ross has selected a lineup of eight creatives from the Converse All Stars program; Environmental scientist Tiziana Zen, artist and illustrator Engy Saint-ange, photographer and filmmaker Nathan Clement, stylist and agency owner Coco Mell, artist and designer James Tailor, designer and label founder Reece Yeboah and visual artists Fon and Fa. Over the year each person will develop their own business idea through a series of intimate workshops co-hosted by his network of collaborators. Themed across food, technology, fashion, and design, each session will provide a forum for mentorship, inspiration, and knowledge exchange. Each of the eight will create their own film, spotlighting what they have learned from their time in the field. Together, these will form an educational YouTube series taking on different industry challenges. 

Open To Change will also encompass an ever-evolving roster of resources, mentorship from the very top of the industry, creative commissions and a curated series of events too, so keep an eye out for more to come.

Watch the director’s cut of Samuel Ross’ video, directed by Gabriel Moses, above.

For updates on Open To Change and the Dazed 100, follow @dazed, @converse, and @converse_london.