Summit launches with mission to educate industry educators

Karen Freberg

Karen Freberg

Educating and inspiring the next generation of creative talent is embedded in the ethos of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. But who educates and inspires the educators and inspirers? Where do they go to ensure they are keeping pace with industry change, building new and relevant curricula, and producing ‘job ready’ graduates equipped with the appropriate skills and expectations?

The answer, according to Karen Freberg, social-media professor at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, is the Educator Summit, which launches this week in Cannes and brings together more than 30 educators from around the world and across the advertising, graphic design, social, PR, marketing, media and technology disciplines.

“I really believe the Cannes Lions is the focal point of creativity and inspiration, so it’s the perfect place to talk about building connections between the creative communications industry and the individuals who are teaching and mentoring the creative stars of the future,” said Freberg, who conceived the Educator Summit in partnership with professor, futurist and learning pioneer Dr William (Bill) J Ward.

The five-day Summit features 300 original content sessions, as well as networking events with key industry partners. The programme concludes on Friday with a half-day summit focused on closing the widening gap between academia and industry. The latter, Freberg said, is currently educators’ biggest challenge: “There’s a perception that we’re not preparing our students properly, that we’re failing to teach them essential skills and that we’re sending them into the workplace with unrealistic expectations. It’s an urban myth but it persists and it’s been challenging to battle that narrative. So our message to the industry is: ‘Come and tell us what we can do and how to can work together to do it better’.”

The Educator Summit is the first time that there’s been real “face time” between the industry and educators, Freberg added: “We hope everybody walks away from this week with a ton of information and insights that will help prepare future generations of the industry. Our aim is to bring forth collaboration, creativity and inspiration through partnership — for the benefit of us all.”

Harriet Palmer