Ravensbourne students design for Nike Jordan in Obama Foundation collaboration

US and Ravensbourne students pose together on Greenwich Peninsula, London

Article by: David Millett

Publication date:

Students from Ravensbourne University London and My Brother's Keeper, part of the Obama Foundation, have collaborated to create a multi-platform creative campaign for the iconic Nike Jordan basketball brand.

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The campaign was launched on Saturday 29 October at the Nike Future Forward Festival, a weekend-long celebration of black culture and sport that took place in London.

The students’ concepts and designs were displayed on a full-size basketball court at the event, with two basketball teams also wearing custom jerseys emblazoned with logos designed by the students.

The ground-breaking project was the result of a creative and cultural exchange between London and Chicago.

MBK Alliance video

Watch to learn a bit more about our students’ dynamic cultural exchange journey. A special thank you to @comcast for their work to tell this inspiring story.


The programme was run by CreativeLab, Ravensbourne’s in-house creative agency that was established to provide real-world opportunities for our students to work on exciting projects and briefs with major brands.

It was made possible thanks to a partnership with two other collaborators.

The Obama Foundation is a US organisation, founded by Barack and Michelle Obama, that provides opportunities, facilitates networking, and grants scholarships to inspire, empower, and connect young people.

The third partner is Vault49, a creative agency based in New York City and London that has its roots in street art culture.

The project was designed to provide students from marginalised and underrepresented backgrounds in London and Chicago – or those who are the first in their families to attend university – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate and broaden their life experiences and creative networks.

In total, nine students from Ravensbourne and four students from Chicago were brought together for the project. The US participants were nominated by the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Alliance, a branch of the Obama Foundation that supports young men of colour in Chicago.

They were briefed by Nike’s Jordan brand in Europe to create a campaign that captures both London and Chicago’s cultures through the lens of basketball.

As part of the project, the students came together on both sides of the pond, first in London and then in Chicago, to immerse themselves in both cities and research how basketball has influenced them through fashion, music, and street art.

The trip, which took place over the summer, saw them meet players from the Detroit Pistons basketball team; Don C, the Chicago Bulls creative director; Tinker Hatfield, the influential Jordans sneaker designer; and John Glasgow, co-founder of Vault49.

The students also met face-to-face with Colin Kaepernick, the inspirational American football player who originated the ‘taking a knee’ movement against racism.

US and Ravensbourne students pose together on Greenwich Peninsula, London

Ravensbourne x Obama Foundation

Students from Ravensbourne and MBK Alliance hang out at Vault49

Ravensbourne X Obama Foundation - Vault49

Ravensbourne and MBK Alliance students take a group photo with pro basketball players

Ravensbourne X Obama Foundation - basketball

Students from Ravensbourne and MBK Alliance pose on a basketball court in London

Ravensbourne x Obama Foundation - London

Ravensbourne and US students in front of a display of basketballs at Chicago Bulls HQ

Ravensbourne x Obama Foundation - Chicago Bulls

During the project, the students worked together to develop a creative strategy and key messages that they then translated into visual assets and a campaign.

The students combined their talents to create a fully rounded overall package, including logos, custom basketball jerseys, and a short film. The film is also narrated with a powerful poem written by the students.

Lawrence Lartey, Ravensbourne’s Director of Innovation, Industry, and Enterprise, was the founder and leader of the project. He said: “My relationship with the Obama Foundation spans six years.

"I’ve always sought to provide students with opportunities to travel and experience different cultures, the cultural exchange program alongside Ravensbourne, the Obama Foundation and Vault49 continues to do this.

“The fact that students can work on a creative brief and then showcase their work with the support of Nike is an unparalleled opportunity to support every young person that takes part in the programme.”

Joseph Ariyibi was one of the Ravensbourne students involved. He said: “It was such a life-changing experience. The networking opportunities were truly incredible. To be able to see how other people work and to learn about different cultures and where people are from was really special.”

Another Ravensbourne student, Safiyyah Henry, said: “It was such an incredible experience! I met so many amazing people throughout the project and had a wonderful time connecting with them both in London and Chicago. Getting the chance to travel abroad and learn more about Chicago was so fun and inspiring for me.”

You can learn more about Joseph and Safiyyah's experiences during the collaboration in our blog post.

Chris Crater, Senior Associate at MBK Alliance, said: “Providing opportunities that allow our young men to explore a world beyond the confines of their neighbourhoods or city can have a profound impact on their vision for their own future.”

Come along to CreativeLab’s open studio programme to learn more about their many exciting industry-facing projects. Email to find out more.

Students involved in the project:


  • Adam Abouzanad
  • Crystal Valine Alleyne
  • Joseph Ariyibi
  • Em Downton
  • Sinead Duffus
  • Ayana Grant
  • Safiyyah Henry
  • John Kamara
  • Ravinia Rose-Ekwealor

MBK Alliance

  • Trey Maurice Baker
  • Freddie Lee Golden Jr
  • Alex (Alexander) Salgado
  • Semaje Vaughn