May 29 2018

Our latest exhibition Digital Forest is currently open in our Exhibition Space until Saturday 14 July. We recently caught up with Exhibitions Curator, Harriet O'Neill to discover what visitors have thought about the exhibition so far, and what exhibitions are planned for the future.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role as Exhibitions Curator?

I came to Royal Holloway two years ago as College Curator. At that time the Davison Building was being built and I became heavily involved in the development of the Exhibition Space. I now spend my time programming exhibitions, curating them and delivering engagement activities for internal and external audiences.

2. The Digital Forest exhibition is currently open in the Exhibition Space until Saturday 14 July. Could you tell us a bit more about the exhibition?

Digital Forest is a collaboration between Professor Polly Dalton (Psychology), artist Madi Boyd and composer Nye Parry, and informed by the latest attention research in particular, the notion that the ‘soft fascination’ provided by natural environments can restore people’s mental resources. We wanted to know whether these effects could be recreated in a constructed performative space. Madi, Polly and Nye have created a really beautiful installation, it is a pleasure to be in and surprising and different with each visit.

3. What feedback have you had so far from visitors to the Digital Forest?

We have had really positive feedback from students, colleagues and external visitors. Students in particular seem to have appreciated an installation which aims to have a positive impact on mental well-being while preparing for and sitting exams. Some of our visitors have also found it be quite dark – it takes a while for your eyes to adjust. Polly has also conducted experiments in the space so it will be interesting to see what the results reveal.

4. Can you tell us about any exhibitions that are planned for the future?

Next up is ‘200 Years of Going Digital’ a collaboration with the Computer Science Department and after that we will be examining the life and art of Lady Christiana Herringham, whose work hangs outside the Picture Gallery and is well represented in our permanent collections.

5. What projects/exhibitions have you most enjoyed working on in the past?

Before I came to Royal Holloway I worked at the National Gallery. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the permanent collection there and on temporary exhibitions ranging from Sansovino frames to Delacroix.

6. Outside of work do you have any hobbies or interests?

I do. I volunteer at St Mungo’s Recovery College and I’m currently in a running ‘phase’. I have just started a new research project which has emerged from my PhD.   

7. What’s your favourite term at Royal Holloway and why?

Summer – I love walking through the gardens and woods on my way to meetings!

8. You may have seen our latest recruitment campaign, ‘Find your why’. We are interested to find out what Royal Holloway has helped you to discover about yourself…

Being exposed to a whole range of academic disciplines is extremely enriching, not just in terms of my own work and research but in the sense of being more informed about the world we live in.