Previously Unavailable joins Special to create pathways for Māori and Pacific students

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AUCKLAND Today: Brand, innovation, and venture studio Previously Unavailable is joining Special by offering a second scholarship to support more inclusion and diversity in the creative industry and is putting the call out for other agencies to join them.

The release informing us of this said: “Previously Unavailable is excited to announce their investment in a scholarship package specifically designed to support Māori and Pacific students at AUT, providing a pathway to success in the fields of design, branding, innovation, and creativity.

“Previously Unavailable was inspired by the example and action of Special, who introduced a scholarship earlier this year for Māori students.

“Previously Unavailable contacted Special and asked if the studio could support their effort by adding another scholarship. They loved the idea, and together Special and Previously wish to encourage more agencies to join them to increase pathways into an industry that has a diversity and inclusion problem.

“Each year, Previously Unavailable will award one scholarship. This scholarship covers tuition and compulsory student fees for a Māori or Pacific student in Years 2 and 3 of a bachelor’s degree programme at AUT, focusing on design or innovation.

“It’s also open to part-time students, acknowledging the challenges of some students juggling multiple work, family or community commitments outside of their studies. The successful scholar will receive mentoring, with the potential to gain practical experience by working part-time with Previously Unavailable during semester breaks.

“Previously Unavailable was inspired by the example of Special, who introduced a scholarship earlier this year for Māori students.”

This initiative was led by creative strategist Phoebe Smith and Previously partner and head of design Phoebe Devine (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui). Both leaders balance working in the industry with work and connections to academia. Phoebe Devine was a part-time lecturer at AUT for six years, and Phoebe Smith is currently a part-time lecturer for AUT’s Communication Design Degree.

“As a Pacific woman, I’ve always been so grateful for the support and opportunities I’ve had to progress my career,” she said.

“We believe the entrepreneurs, researchers, strategists and designers of tomorrow will thrive best as a more inclusive community and industry, and we know we have a key role to play in creating those pathways and opportunities in order to make that a reality.

“Previously Unavailable hopes its scholarship program (sic) will inspire other industry players to join them in this effort towards a more diverse and inclusive creative industry.

“Scholarships have the ability to give someone permission to lean into and explore what they want to do with their lives. The hope is that this opportunity can inspire Māori and Pacific students to truly live out their potential — It’s important to me that industry has a strong connection to academia.

The scholarship application process will be open to eligible Māori and Pacific students at Auckland University of Technology.

About Previously Unavailable
Previously Unavailable is an innovation and venture studio founded by James Hurman in 2014. Its team is made up of experienced entrepreneurs, researchers, strategists, and designers using a human-centred, design-led approach. Previously Unavailable has helped create the brand strategy for AF Drinks, Compostic, Ārepa, Simplicity Kiwisaver and Tracksuit.

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