Instagram’s Niran Vinod on improving diversity in the creative industries

At our NME #Lifehacks event in London last month, Niran Vinod joined other leading creatives on a panel discussing the skills we need to succeed in a digital age.

Vinod is a creative strategist at Instagram, and also advocates as an inclusive voice aiming to improve diversity in the creative industries.

“The higher I go, the more rooms I’m in, I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m the token brown guy again’,” Vinod told NME after his panel. “It wasn’t evident when I was more junior. But at a CEO level, it’s still so white, male and probably from the same kind of socio-economic background.”


Asked how the creative industries can improve this situation, Vinod replied: “It’s about trying to bring in as much diverse talent as possible. I work in advertising – and advertising has such a huge cultural impact. But we have to be inclusive. And that’s not just through the models in the ads. That’s through people in the backroom coming up with ideas.”

“The problem is all about nepotism – and people from my background… just don’t have the network,” he added. “We aren’t really encouraged to get into these industries.”

He then advised young people from a similar background to himself to create their own professional networks, saying: “Use the power of the internet – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. If you want to work at Nike, go on LinkedIn, drop a bunch of people who work at Nike a message. One person might respond – but you’re not out there to go, ‘Hey, I want a job’. Just go for a coffee and learn their story. That’s building a network.”

Also speaking on the Skills To Succeed In A Digital Age panel were Ibrahim Kamara, co-founder of the world’s first video magazine GUAP, University of Salford’s Lyndon Saunders, and Lauren Thomas from tech education specialists General Assembly.

NME teamed up with University of Salford and youth initiative Create Jobs to lay on the #Lifehacks event at London’s Islington Metal Words on Thursday 23 November. Here’s the full story of the event in pictures.

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