Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Nicola Ashmore is a Principal Lecturer in Art and Design History. Her research and curatorial interests include collective remakings of Picasso’s Guernica for social change and creative practices for sustainable international development. She is committed to working collaboratively and developing international networks of artists and institutions interested in progressing the use of arts and culture for social change.

Nicola has made use of film documentary and digital technologies as research methodologies, investigating collaborative art practices and site-specific community artworks. She has published in several journals and has enjoyed co-authoring various publications.

Supervisory Interests

Nicola Ashmore's supervisory interests focus on creative interventions and curatorial practice, notably the means through which this can leverage change and collaborative activism. 

Nicola would welcome makers and practitioners and those working with collections and archives in their doctoral projects. She brings a wealth of experience in her supervision in communicating research findings through a wide range of platforms from documentary film, exhibition practice, to online and offline publications. Nicola has taken an interdisciplinary approach to her investigations into museum practices and community based collaborative practices and would encourage enquiries from those who push at the boundaries of their chosen disciplines. 

Scholarly biography

Nicola is a multi-award-winning researcher. In April 2023 she was awarded the Internationalisation Award for Research and Knowledge Exchange from the University of Brighton for her project Guernica Remakings. To date she has been awarded funding from the UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council three times.

Nicola Ashmore's interest in Pablo Picasso's Guernica was inspired by her participation in a collective remaking of Picasso's Guernica as a protest banner. In 2015 Nicola received Rising Stars funding through the University of Brighton which enabled the international research project: Remakings of Picasso’s Guernica: Community, Collaboration and Activism. This led on to a major research project: Guernica Remakings, South Africa which investigates the practice of cross-cultural translation through making. This project has received funding through the AHRC Translating Cultures and Care for the Future International Development call, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, UK. Nicola wrote a book titled Guernica Remakings in 2017 published to coincide with the opening of the exhibition Guernica Remakings she curated. The exhibition showcased an international range of 21st century collective remakings of Guernica.

Nicola went on to curate an international tour for this exhibition which began in 2019 and continued in 2022 and 2023

Guernica Remakings 2019

 Guernica Remakings 2019 was developed to coincide with the eightieth anniversary of the tour of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica to the UK in 1939. It was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Follow on Funding scheme 2019-2020. Two years in the making, the tour built upon connections that had come about through the first exhibition and was a great opportunity to develop the collaborative nature of the project. The exhibition aimed to create an inspiring environment showcasing different ways of working with art as an empowering force.

The exhibition toured to:

The exhibition responded to each location, through a programme of residences including the following artists:

Claire Hignett

Saradha Soobrayen,

Savina Tarsitano

Serge Attukwei Clottey  

So Mayer

Richard Prince

A Learning Lab at each location expanded the impact of the project further developing activities and events with the aim to co-create knowledge and understanding about key empowering collaborative art practices. This involved:

  • Future Hope, NGO that provides food and care, support and educational structure for children 
  • Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean
  • Keiskamma Art Project
  • pARTage, Mauritian Contemporary Artists Association
  • Trup Sapsiway, theatre company 

Guernica Remakings 2022

In October 2022 the Guernica Remakings project collaborated with Kids’ Guernica, the Keiskamma Art Project and NGO Masifunde in South Africa to facilitate two peace painting workshops and display the Guernica Remakings exhibition. The aim to immerse participants in collaborative art practices. This was funded as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Follow on Funding Impact and Engagement Scheme: Highlight Notice for the UN International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development (2021-2023).

Within these workshops the participants considered what they wanted to tell the world about their home, their community and experiences. For some they discussed what they want to change, while others talked about what gives them comfort and where they feel safe. Savina Tarsitano, Kids’ Guernica facilitator and artist, states:

“What we are achieving is the capacity to work together, to take responsibility, but also to understand how it is important to think together to make change. What is nice, is to see how the children are collaborating; this is the power of art and creativity. The workshop also gives them the space to think about who they are, their collective identity, and also their own identity. One thing that is also interesting is seeing the development of critical thinking, to say what is wrong and what is right, which is very brave” (Oct 2022).

These activities were part of a Learning Lab. The aim of the Lab was to co-create understandings of the role of art in the two respective communities, with a focus on elevating children’s views, opinions, and experience of art. 

Guernica Remakings 2023

50 years on from the death of Pablo Picasso the Guernica Remakings project went back on tour. Travelling to Spain in January 2023 and to Nepal in April 2023.

Unfortunately, the war continues to rage in the Ukraine. Many displaced families, seeking refuge from the conflict are now living in Barcelona, Spain.

Dr Nicola Ashmore joined Savina Tarsitano in Barcelona for the Cultural Diplomacy, Art, Peace and Solidarity project, in partnership with the German Consulate in Barcelona. The Guernica Remakings exhibition was on display at Espronceda Art Centre, 24 January – 27 February 2023, alongside the group show “Dialogue” curated by Savina Tarsitano and Victoria Tissot, featuring 8 artists in residence.

The Guernica Remakings exhibition displayed for the first time the Kids’ Guernica canvas made in Hamburg, South Africa in October 2022 by the families involved in the Keiskamma Art Project. This created an inspiring environment for the new peace painting Kids’ Guernica workshop with families and children from Ukraine and Spain now living in Barcelona.

Guernica Remakings travelled from the valley of Kathmandu to the mountains of Mulabari and back again in April 2023.

 In view of the Himalayas – the Guernica Remakings exhibition was exhibited in Mulabari village in the Dhading District of Nepal, 7- 10 April 2023.

Looking together at the Keiskamma Guernica, made in the village of Hamburg in South Africa evoked the sharing of experiences in Mulabari village in Nepal, notably the loss of a child. A powerful reminder of the universal nature of grief and the love of a mother for her child. To find out more see the web page Guernica Remakings in Mulabari Village, 2023: in pictures.

In the city of Kathmandu it was a joy to work with students and staff at Sirjana College of Fine Arts to install the Guernica Remakings exhibition, 11- 13 April 2023.

Discussions and images were generated on equality for women, the fall of corruption and the need for the caste system to fade further into the past. The students effectively worked together on their contribution to the Kids’ Guernica canvas started in Mulabari village, Nepal.

Art practices and art activist projects were presented by Takuya Kaneda, Kuniyoshi Murata, Asuka Ishii, Savina Tarsitano, Carolyn Watt, Nicola Ashmore. Encouraging discussions on the role of art and artists. To find out more please see the web page Guernica Remakings at Sirjana College of Fine Arts, 2023: in pictures.

Doctoral studies
Since 2003 when Nicola began her PhD, her research has focused on site specific art and curatorial practice. She has been investigating the ways in which art can raise questions about the formation of identities of people and place. Nicola has studied the commissioning of artists in Britain to respond to museum collections that claim to represent the world. This investigation has revealed layers of political issues from Britain’s colonial past to the preoccupation with ethnicity, within New Labour’s multiculturalism, both of which involve classification of people and a focus on difference. This research underpinned my practice led doctorate at the University of Brighton that focused on post 1997 art and museum practice.

Approach to teaching

Dr Nicola Ashmore is interested in the creative development of students through place-based work. This pedagogic research began in 2009/2010 working in collaboration and across disciplines with Dr Jess Moriarty. In a workshop setting, removed from the classroom environment, undergraduate students were placed in interdisciplinary groups.

Through the workshops students were engaged in activities that encouraged experimentation and reflection on their own creative practice. Creative briefs were set requiring the interdisciplinary student groups to combine image and text from archival material and collections. They were encouraged to discuss their individual creative processes and identify how these were similar and how they differed. By working in interdisciplinary groups and articulating their processes, we found that students were better able to: understand their individual practices, take inspiration from archives and collections and equipped with some important skills to enable them to work collaboratively.

Findings from these workshops were co-presented at conferences including the Higher Education Academy Arts and Humanities conference in 2013.

This research underpins the flagship Creative Writing MA module Communities of Practice, launched in 2014. Within this module a 40 hour placement is undertaken. This creative residency helps the post-graduate students transfer their creative writing skills from the confinements of the classroom and their notebook to a site of their choice. They establish a creative brief in collaboration with their placement embedding their creative writing firmly in their chosen location. Through research and reflection, encouraged through semi structured life interviews with tutors, students gain confidence and understanding of the role of their writing in a public place.


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