Volunteers' Week 2017 - Meet Volunteer Fiona

For #VolunteersWeek2017 Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Parkes interviewed seven of the RWA's wonderful volunteers.

Meet Fiona Feane!

How long have you been a volunteer at the RWA?

Since Autumn 2015, but a little off and on at times, as other commitments tend to take over sometimes.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the RWA?

The opportunity to learn more about art history and criticism, from the staff, other volunteers, and some very interesting conversations with visitors.  It's great to be able to just spend ten or twenty minutes sometimes, chatting about the exhibitions; the influences on the artists, and the thoughts and emotions provoked by art.

What has been your favourite RWA exhibition?

I always love the Open Exhibition, because it's like a visual smorgasbord; an amazing cross-section of current Western art. I also loved the Jamaican Pulse Exhibition, because it was a much-needed challenge to the sense of complacency that art can so easily fall into. The established art world so often forgets, or doesn't acknowledge, the influences coming from outside the West. It's also so important that art reflects and deals with the realities of multiculturalism and social inequality.

Who is your favourite artist of all time?

Artemisia Gentileschi; she was a seventeenth century artist who managed not only to be successful at a time when women were not considered capable of artistic talent or even of having any kind of control over their own lives, but she very cleverly challenged the patriarchal status quo through her art, without alienating her patrons.

What is your favourite thing to do or place to go in Bristol?

I love to potter around Christmas Steps and Park Row, looking in all the independent shops, followed by a pint on the terrace at Zero Degrees.

And lastly, what do you do when you are not volunteering at the RWA?

I've just completed my degree in History of Art at the University of Bristol, so I am job-hunting whilst I await my results. I'm intending to create a career combining writing, curating and teaching. I have arranged a voluntary position with the Special Collections department at the University of Bristol, who look after all the rare books, prints, and documents, to begin to catalogue the images in a collection of works by Samuel Johnson, involving lots of research and visual analysis - I can't wait! When I'm not doing any of this, my three-year-old daughter usually finds plenty to keep me busy...

Follow #VolunteersWeek2017 and @RWABristol on Twitter to keep up with the campaign!

Find out more about joining the RWA as a volunteer!

Fiona was photographed by talented volunteer Mike Hale. Mike's Volunteer Project is aiming to explore the variety of volunteering opportunities in Bristol. The longer aim is to also show the diversity of volunteers.