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LSBU launches the South Bank Collective, a student-led photography agency

LSBU's newly launched student-led photography agency South Bank Collective provides students with commercial and entrepreneurial experience
02 October 2015

London South Bank University (LSBU) has officially launched the South Bank Collective, a creative photography agency run and staffed by students.

Through the agency, students deliver professional photography services at competitive rates, across a range of briefs including artwork, events, marketing and creative projects.

“LSBU’s arts degrees have a strong focus on professional practice, preparing our students for a range of careers including freelancing and entrepreneurship. We want to provide students with industry-relevant experience that goes beyond simply teaching them about it in a classroom,” said Daniel Alexander, Senior Lecturer in Photography and the supervising academic for the Collective.

The Collective recently registered as a community-interest company following a successful semester of test trading, where the students earned a total of £5,500. Clients included LSBU, the Royal London Society for Blind People and UK Youth Charity.

“The Collective has provided me with a platform to learn about setting up a business, and furthered my leadership and management skills. I have had the chance to work with a variety of interesting clients, build a good network of people I want to work with in the future, and find my preferred career path,” said Lisa Drew, who is currently studying BA (Hons) Photography and is Director of Creative at the Collective.

The Collective has many benefits for students. By providing advice on how much to charge clients and a structure for determining the value of their work, the Collective hopes to help students avoid falling prey to creative exploitation. Students also gain professional freelancing experience, building their expertise in invoicing, preparing quotes, time budgeting and handling insurance.

“LSBU, one of the Collective’s first clients, commissions a lot of photography, which previously had been going to external photographers. Now the University is commissioning the Collective and reinvesting in its students. By charging professional fees the agency is generating work for the students without undercutting on price, which would harm the industry as a whole,” said Daniel.

The LSBU spin-out company was set-up as a collaboration between the students, the School of Arts and Creative Industries, and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute.

Check out the South Bank Collective website, which was designed by LSBU graduate start-up Bento Web.