Brandcenter flourishes at Cannes Lions with Inaugural Study Abroad Program and Academy Participation

Vann takes a selfie with the members of the creative academy

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is one of the most prestigious events in the advertising and creative industries. The festival is a week-long celebration where the world’s top creative minds gather to showcase their best work, learn from industry leaders, and network with peers from around the globe. Held annually in Cannes, France, the festival has been compared to the Oscars of advertising.  

The week-long event features the announcement of the coveted Cannes Lions Awards across many disciplines of the communications and marketing industry in addition to talks and workshops with industry leaders and unparalleled networking opportunities. Three academies also take place during the festival (Creative Academy, Roger Hatchuel Student Academy, and Brand Marketers Academy), which help rising young talent fast-track their careers. The academies combine inspiring classroom sessions with world-class speakers, hands-on learning and coaching from industry legends.   

In 2024, Brandcenter not only had student representation in two of the esteemed Cannes Lions Academies, but we also launched our inaugural Cannes Lions Study Abroad program.

Brandcenter Executive Director Vann Graves is Dean of the Creative Academy, a certificate program for young creatives. The academy allows young talent to meet with world-renowned CEOs, CCOs, artists, actors, directors, journalists and creative superstars. Recent Brandcenter graduate Madeline Miranda (Art Direction, 2024) was in attendance this year. 

The Roger Hatchuel Student Academy is a unique learning experience designed to help students interested in pursuing a creative path in advertising launch their careers while creating a global network. Thirty students from thirty countries are invited to attend each year, and second year Brandcenter student Jared Montgomery (Strategy, 2025) was selected to represent the United States. The academy helps students explore the various avenues and creative spaces available to them after graduation. 

Brandcenter faculty member Jess Collins led our inaugural Cannes Lions Study Abroad program. This three credit summer course is centered around the Festival and built to maximize the student experience and networking opportunities. The class attended Brandcenter specific networking events with top companies like Wieden+Kennedy, Havas, and Amazon. The main project of the course focuses on an industry or brand of their choosing. Each student closely followed their chosen topic (think the future of AI, women in sports, the music industry and more!) at Cannes throughout social content, competitions, panels, awards, and workshops. Now after the Festival, students are creating a presentation that recaps their experience and details their industry future predictions, in addition to a networking plan and social content that align with their objectives, portfolio preparation, and resume building.

We’re incredibly excited for the program to become an annual opportunity.