Neil manages over 30 different special collections at the Royal College of Art, providing access to the College’s unique heritage materials and supporting a wide range of research projects and enquiries from staff, students and the external research community. The College’s special collections include the RCA archives and art collections, the photographic record of student work, and the internationally renowned Colour Reference Library, one of the largest collections of material on colour in the world.
Neil holds an MA in English Literature and Language from King’s College London and an MSc in Information Management in the Cultural Sector from City University, where his dissertation focused on the future of special collections. He has also worked in the University of Sussex’s special collections and consulted for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) on digitisation programmes and the promotion of collections.
Since joining the RCA, he has worked to unite disparate collections across the College and now also manages the art collection and the visual archives of the Graphic Design (now Visual Communication) and Print programmes; together these include thousands of paintings, prints and posters spanning a century of work at the RCA.
He is the author of several publications, including Poets & Polymaths: Special Collections at the University of Sussex (University of Sussex, 2002), Digitisation in the UK (JISC, 2005), and several articles on the Colour Reference Library, including an essay for the Journal of Design History (2013). Neil has co-organised and chaired various conferences related to archival practice and the RCA’s unique collections, including Archiving the Artist (Tate Britain, 2009) and the Grammar of Colour (RCA, 2014).