Rare with Google

MAUD Google DAD-Rare Deliverable 01
Client: Google
  • Curation & programming

  • Design & art direction

  • Event Production

  • Talent management

  • Content capture & development

  • Ticketing & registration

How might the world's largest tech company help change the face of a notoriously homogenous creative industry?

The creative industries are notoriously homogenous. Diverse talent is abundant, but opportunities are few if you don’t fit a certain mould. Google wanted to do something about it, and so started Rare—a year-round Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program by and for underrepresent voices.

The insight

DEI programs have proliferated across industries as the world seeks to rectify systemic injustice and bias towards minorities of all backgrounds. Designing the Rare experience allowed us to tap into two decades of experience design and pivot it into programming that was both collaborative and relevant to the community we were creating for. 

"Creating meaningful connections with the cohort, expanding the vocabulary I have to describe and understand my own experience as a diverse person, articulating my strengths, unique value and ikigai, and being inspired to embrace my own diversity unapologetically simply by seeing others do this well."

2021 Rare delegate

What is Rare?

Since its foundation in 2017, Semi Permanent has designed and produced Rare's evolving program of talks, workshops, mentorship opportunities and research projects to increase DEI initiatives both internally at Google and in the creative industries at large. Rare’s vision of diversity spans race, gender, sexuality, neurodiversity and physical ability, and we’ve been proud to help this movement evolve in terms of how those stories are championed in the years since. 

In 2021 we produced:

10 pre-recorded talks

11 live speakers

6 virtual leadership academies

108+ hours of live sessions

300+ delegates

2 virtual graduation ceremonies

Making Rare

Making use of an intelligently punk graphic identity from MAUD and deep insights from the team at Google, an emphasis on connectivity underpinned our philosophy from day one. Spatial design emphasised collaboration and conversation between participants; practitioners were hand-picked to enable a cohesive group experience across both physical/digital experiences; and talent was curated (in collaboration with inclusion agency Utopia) to inspire and enable them to carve their own space in a brave new world. 

"DEI initiatives require sensitivity and precision in order to faithfully address the landscape and create genuine, tangible impact. Semi Permanent's expertise and attention to detail helped Rare set a benchmark for meaningful change in the field and grow into a program that is truly global in approach." 

Tara McKenty, Rare co-founder and Google creative director

Rare with Google 2021 Poster
Rare with Google Graduation Certificate 2021
Rare grew quickly, and in 2019 we supported its global expansion by designing and producing physical activations and experiences at major creative festivals in London (D&AD), Cannes (Lions), New York (Advertising Week) and Sydney (Semi Permanent), as well as Rare-initiated executive meet ups and workshops in Las Vegas and Tokyo. We deployed our design, storytelling, curation and production credentials to bring each city to life with custom programming and design, while overseeing digital campaigns to bring it all together globally.

"I'd really just like to say thank you. Rare has changed my outlook, helped me refine my purpose, and given me a renewed energy to back myself and pursue my goals."

2021 Rare delegate

A virtual academy and building a global community

When Google initiated a no-live-events policy in 2020, Rare was redesigned as a highly interactive digital experience that still stayed true to its global mission. In order to continue to reach a truly global audience and foster community in the time of COVID the virtual Leadership Academy continued into 2021 and will remain a fixture of the Rare program in years to come. 
The Rare Leadership Academy is a 3-week virtual program of talks, workshops, community events and resources for underrepresented voices in the creative industries. In 2021 we had over 300 delegates graduate from the academy from all over the world. 
Semi Permanent curated a program of live and pre-recorded speakers including Aries Moross Creative Director; John C Jay, President of Global Creative at Uniqlo; Karrelle Dixon, Trainee teacher and former Managing Director of Wieden Kennedy Portland; Rajdeepak Das Cheif Creative Officer, Leo Burnett Mumbai, Mama Alto, performing artist and CEO of Transgender Victoria and more. We also designed and executed the academy’s slides, workshop materials and handouts, as well as delivering the social strategy and content with the aim to build Rare’s global community. 
Rare with Google – John C Jay
John C Jay
Rare with Google – Mama Alto
Mama Alto
Rare with Google – Aries Moross
Aries Moross

E-learning modules

To continue Rare education and community intitiatives in 2021 we introduced new open-source learning modules that are available for everyone to watch, listen, read and share. After conducting wide-spread surveys with the Rare community, culture change consultancy Utopia zeroed in on the topic of ‘allyship’ as Rare’s first e-learning module. 
The word 'allyship' is often misused within the context of diversity and inclusion and has come to be associated with performative, superficial DEI initiaitves that don’t result in real systemic change. We produced a series of videos on Allyship interviewing a number of creative leaders and academics from around the world on their thoughts on Allyship. The video was shot in London, Sydney, New York and Johannesburg. 

A global expansion

Thanks to overwhelmingly positive participant feedback and Rare’s timing with a global awakening on industry inclusion, Rare was recently appointed as Google's global in-house DEI program and expanded to incorporate a paid traineeship program and creative campus to really put into practice internally what was learnt over the years externally. 
2019 Book GIF
Credit: MAUD
Rare at Semi Permanent
Rare at Semi Permanent
Web RareEvent RobinWright CannesLion2019
Robin Wright, on the Rare with Google stage at Cannes Lions, 2019.
Semi Permanent was also commissioned to executive-edit, produce and publish RARE 2020, a 200-page compendium of stories, essays, research, conversations and highlights from Rare's 2020 program and the social context of which it existed. Here, we collaborated with four emerging leaders from the UK, Japan, Australia and the USA to dissect the year and create a path forward for the industry at large; an experimental publication and precursor to year-round editorial and research programming currently in development. 
In 2022, Semi Permanent will bolster Rare’s physical and digital program production with digital strategy, social media management, talent curation and the introduction of Rare’s first publicly available book project; small pieces of a bigger puzzle that will be solved only through deep collaboration and inspiration from around the globe. 
Rare 2020 lanyards
Rare Tote Bags
Rare Sydney workshop