Lecturer Emily Godden sitting at a desk in a computer lab

Emily Godden

Staff. Digital Media Production

Emily Godden splits her time between lecturing in Digital Media Production and running award-winning social enterprise Virtually There Studio, creating exhibitions, experiences and educational opportunities to benefit both the environment and personal wellbeing.

Does your work outside of the University ever tie in with your teaching?

I love both jobs and believe they complement each other. I take learning from my company into the classroom and keep my students up to date with all the new developments in industry. It also means I can bring industry into the classroom via live briefs and hack days, working with local organisations such as Cambridge Makespace and Collusion.

Head shot of Lecturer Emily Godden

What one thing, event or opportunity inspired you to do what you do now?

I’m really passionate about the environment and I love trees. After graduating, I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the environment now program, and with their support, I was able to build my company and first VR app – bringing virtual tours of forests to care homes and raising awareness of deforestation. I loved meeting people from across the country, who were the same age and had the same ambition. The program also gave me the opportunity to network with digital giants like O2, and learn how to pitch. These skills that have enabled me to grow my company so it’s both financially and environmentally sustainable.

Lecturer Emily Godden sitting on a sofa, talking

“Being an artist isn’t a job title, it’s not something that you are given, you earn it and live it.”

Close up of someone's hands on a laptop keyboard

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from education?

When I was a Fine Art student, I studied a professional practice module and had the opportunity to work in Gainsborough’s House. It was like a mini residency and it’s where I started to work with all things digital. I felt like a real artist, working in the archives, (nervously) holding a real Rembrandt.

After that experience, I identified as an artist and haven’t looked back. So I’d say my valuable thing is to not be afraid to apply for things and reach out – creatives are some of the most supportive and giving humans out there.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

How can I say this without being cheesy or cliché… Don’t be afraid to be ambitious. When I was at college studying a foundation diploma in Art & Design, we were asked something along the lines of, ‘what are your goals?’

I remember saying I wanted to study a doctorate and be the first printmaker to win the Turner Prize. It was more of a joke, and I didn’t really think those things would happen. In January this year I started my PhD with the wonderful StoryLab, so I’m on my way to one,  and will keep at it with the Turner Prize! You never know, it might just happen…