‘Mayn’ is the Cornish word for mediator; an apt name for an agency that hopes to help talent make a successful transition from academia to working in today’s competitive landscape of commercial creativity.
Mayn Creative operates like any other agency in that it represents a group of artists, helps them find work and manage PR – and in return earn commissions on the work. But what makes Mayn different is that it works within Falmouth University and exclusively represents students from its five graduate and postgraduate photography programmes.
Falmouth University has historically had a very strong photography department – and attracts a high volume of students across the five programmes. But taking a course doesn’t automatically qualify students for being represented by Mayn. It’s a rather rigorous, three-step process, explains Head of Mayn Creative, Lynn Chambers.
Mayn makes students aware of their proposition through on-campus promotion, workshops and more, she explains. Students with an interest in doing professional work can book in appointments, have their work evaluated and discuss their career aspirations with Mayn. Students thought to have the required technical and soft skills are selected, if required they begin by doing unpaid assignments and apprenticeships, alongside academic work.
Those that show promise are them moved on to being ‘nominees’. At this stage they start doing paid work but are paid rates that reflect their experience level. In February each year, the nominees are evaluated by industry professionals and tutors at Falmouth and a few of those are chosen to be ‘associates’ – their rate cards reflect industry standards.
Adding just a handful of associates to their roster each year means that Mayn can really work closely with each individual, finding them work they will enjoy and are good at.
The model is nurturing and aims to make the entry into the industry as smooth as possible, but is deliberately competitive, says Chambers. Not everyone who studies on a photography programme makes it as a photographer in the industry and the sort of funnelling model seems to reinforce that. It also ensures that the associates chosen each year are actually at a stage in their personal and professional development where they can independently execute projects.
Once at associate level, artists are represented while they are at Falmouth plus for an additional two years after they graduate. “The two year time limit is an important part of our model. We don’t offer them indefinite support, because we see Mayn as a stepping stone,” Chambers explains.
Representation continues even if students move out of Cornwall, or even the UK, as many do when they graduate. Chambers believes that their geographical location doesn’t really matter in terms of their relationship with the artists.
But because a lot of the artists are still at university while working with Mayn, they are geographically bound to Falmouth, during term time at least. They may not be able to travel too extensively for projects, but this has turned out to be a bit of an advantage. As Chambers explains, agencies and brands doing work in the South West have often reached out to the university asking for art students to work on projects.
“The South West has beautiful outdoor locations which have become a bit of a destination for shoots, particularly for fashion,” she says. “Having local talent, familiar with the area and connected with other artists is a big advantage.”
In the larger scheme of things, by working with artists based primarily in the Falmouth area, Mayn also hopes to also grow the local creative industry.
Though officially launching this month, Mayn has been working behind the scenes for a year now. Its first batch of 11 associates will be introduced to the creative community in an exhibition at the Downstairs gallery at Mother in London.
Private view of the exhibition is 6:30 pm onwards on November 23. Viewings will be available by appointment on Friday 24 and Sat 25 between 10-4pm by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on Mayn Creative and see more work from the represented artists visit mayn-creative.com