Donna Holford-Lovell is on the Curatorial Director of Fleet Collective & part of the management team for NEoN, international digital arts festival featuring moving image, performance, music and technology driven arts across Dundee.

I worked freelance for a while after graduating in Fine Art but my first ‘real’ job, as my Dad would call it, was with the University of Dundee’s Museum Services. I was Assistant Curator of Arts and my principle role was to correctly acquisition Duncan of Jordanstone’s art collection into the main University collection. One of the best jobs was the re-housing of a print collection bequest by the Scottish Arts Council, which can now be seen at the Visual Research Centre in Dundee. I also got to clean the zoology collection – I hoovered an emu and buffed a giant tortoise.

From there I went to the Exhibitions Dept at Duncan of Jordanstone as the Assistant Curator and I had the immense pleasure of working with Jenny Brownrigg. The Brownrigg taught me many things and I owe her a lot. We had a great time and produced some excellent projects such as Jerusalem Syndrome with Nathan Coley, discparc an audio label and Paul Butlers Collage Party. We had 7 great years of creative fun.

I then had the urge to sell all of my worldly goods and travel across Canada, get married and have a baby. In between this I was Dundee’s City Coordinator for the Six Cities Design Festival. This was a great experience as I really got to know and love Dundee and make many new contacts.

After the birth of my amazing daughter I became Cultural Projects Officer for the University of Abertay. I ran an annual programme of events and exhibitions in the Hannah Maclure Centre and in their performance space. This is where I become involved in the NEoN project. For the first manifestation of the NEoN Digital Arts Festival my assistant Clare Brennan and myself were asked to curate an interactive exhibition for the public.

By early 2010 we had become fully-fledged NEoN committee members and we help deliver an excellent programme of events in November 2010 having the pleasure of working with Akinori Oishi, Tado, Pictoplasma and Ken Perlin.

This brings me to me to my two current jobs! I am still on the management team for NEoN and my personal ambition is to make this festival Scotland’s leading platform for digital and technology driven arts, which I am sure is the ambition of the committee also. My main day-to-day job is Curatorial Director of Fleet Collective. Lyall Bruce and I set up this art collective out of frustration really – we wanted to bring together the arts and creative industries, mix the organic process of creativity with the structure of business and get the individuals together to make a powerful creative force.

Fleet is commitment to increasing provisions for the creative community and to tackling retention issues by keeping work, opportunities and talent in Scotland. Under one roof we empower a community of creative people by fostering collaborative working practices, we represent artists and manage multi disciplinary creative projects. Fleet Collective is new, fresh and unique, brought together out of a commitment to the arts and a passion to use it to make a better world.


We’ve asked professionals in creative industries what jobs they have had in the past to get their foot through the door (or at least pay the rent). For more in the “My First 5 Jobs” series look here.