The contest asks members of the Halton community to submit written proposals, with supplementary visuals as needed, for a vehicle wrap. This type of contest asks for spec work, as entrants are required to create concepts up front with no promise of being selected or paid. This practice compromises the value of the time, effort and resources that go into the creative process. Crucial to note, spec work further harms already marginalized communities who, due to systemic racism, often do not have the ability to choose to complete work for free.
The RGD reached out to the Halton Regional Police asking them to amend the contest in its ask for spec work. Halton Regional Police responded saying that their “intention was obviously not to exploit any individual into providing free work but provide an opportunity to engage the community and encourage those in Halton to learn and share their knowledge of African and Caribbean history. [They] are providing a $2500 youth scholarship for the winning submission and all participation in this initiative is fully voluntary.”
The RGD believes this response is inadequate and that the contest should, at the very least, hire a Black designer or design student and consult the community for inspiration, as proposed in Option 1 in our Competition Guidelines. The Association encourages design and creative professionals to write to the Halton Police Force expressing disagreement with their decision.
For Members who may want to sign, a community member sent the RGD a petition that asks the Halton Police Force to stop the contest on the grounds that it does not reflect the opinions of all Black community members in Halton.
If you come across a request for spec work, you can:
- write to the offending organization and send them RGD's Spec Policy document, or
- let RGD’s Executive Director, Hilary Ashworth, know about the situation via email at email@example.com.
This article has been edited to focus on the Association’s ask that the ask for spec work be removed from the contest.