Nicola is interested in studying complex ecosystems and environments, in order to understand how their internal workings interact to function as a ‘whole’. She observes documents and subverts the intended function(s) of processes and communications, most recently within manufacturing and scientific research organisations.
Her work is shaped by the relationships between people, materials and processes, and often contributes something back to that triangular dynamic. This might be in the form of disrupting an established process with the people who usually work with it, by presenting an existing quality of an object or infrastructure in a different way, or by carving out a new way of operating – as an individual, a collaborator or an outsider – in a specific context.
In 2018 Nicola undertook a shortArt in Manufacturingplacement with Ritherdon & Co Ltd, a manufacturer of steel enclosures based in Darwen, Lancashire. Following this, she secured ACE funding for the two-year residency projectReturn to Ritherdon, which began in February 2019. During this residency, she studied the ecosystem of the factory and its associated business operations. New works and methodologies are informed by studying the application of Lean Manufacturing philosophy – a philosophy aimed at the reduction of waste in the form of time, energy and material – throughout every aspect of the workplace. The project will be contextualised by research into the original Artist Placement Group activity, along with more recent iterations such as Organisation & Imagination and Incidental Unit. The project facilitates situations in which an Artist and Manufacturer can witness each other work in the factory, studio, gallery and respective communities. Identifying, investigating and utilising their similarities and differences.