Nicky Bird considers contemporary relevances of ‘found’ photographs and latent histories of specific sites, investigating how they remain resonant. Her work incorporates new photography, oral histories and collaborations with people who have significant connections to the original site and its photographic archive. She is interested in how such artefacts, archives and sites carry both social and personal histories, leading to a key question: what is our relationship to the past and the value we ascribe to it? Dialogues with archivists, archaeologists, local community members, local history groups, and museum volunteers are instrumental in her practice. This means the collaborative process, and the physical site, shape the form of the final artworks.Alongside commissioned projects, she has exhibited nationally and internationally, published essays on themes of erased place and digital exchange of photographs.
Nicky is a Reader in Contemporary Photographic Practice at The Glasgow School of Art.
“Well, here you are tae ask me about ma time living in Westwood House. Ah well, ah remember it very well, actually, because there were so many interestin things that ah liked about it. One was the garden, wi aw the auld fashioned flowers an the roses hangin, ye could smell them for miles, and beautiful rhodiedendrums, of every hue, would come fae countries abroad, wouldn’t they?”Isabella Mason Kirk, 2015
Nicky’s current solo show Legacy at Street Level, Glasgow, looks back at over fifteen years of her work. It includesHeritage Site, 2014-2016 / 2020. This lens-based art and archaeology project works with the story of a house buried in five industrial spoil heaps, known as the Five Sisters in West Calder, West Lothian. Originally a multi-media installation, Heritage Sitehas been reimagined as a photographic series with the voice of Isabella Mason Kirk for Street Level. At the project’s heart is an Edwardian photographic postcard of Westwood House and her memories of living there as a girl. Her family were one of 12 living in Westwood House, with the men being employed by the nearby Westwood Oils Works.
27 April – 6 June
Street Level Photoworks