D&AD: Napier to launch post-graduate copywriting course

Britain's first post-graduate course in copywriting will begin later this year amid mounting alarm about the declining numbers of industry wordsmiths.

Edinburgh's Napier University is launching its initiative in September, kicking off what is hoped will be a significant effort to draw more English graduates into agency creative departments.

The IPA is so concerned about the dearth that it is encouraging redbrick universities to form alliances with local art colleges in the hope of linking graduate copywriters with college-trained art directors.

Senior industry figures fear that the growing trend among agencies to see art colleges as the main source of creative talent is leading to a "dumbing down" of advertising.

They cite the increasing number of poster-type executions that are being submitted for press awards as evidence that copywriters are losing out in what is becoming a more visual and less literate communications environment.

IPA executives have begun pilot schemes with Queens University in Belfast and Leeds University, which are urged to "twin" with nearby art colleges.

Hamish Pringle, the IPA director-general, denied it was an attempt to recreate advertising's "golden age".

"Some minds work visually, others are more cerebral and both are equally important in creative departments," he said. "But in the past 15 or 20 years, the balance has become unequal, with most creatives having come from art colleges."

"It's significant that most of the outstanding creative directors such as David Abbott have been writers. That's important because creative directors also need to be able to articulate campaign ideas."

The IPA is concerned that English graduates targeted by agencies on the "milk round" are usually earmarked for account handling rather than creative jobs.

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