Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place

10 May 2008 - 15 Jan 2010
Slide show: 
Nicky Bird
Nicky Bird
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place
Nicky Bird Beneath The Surface / Hidden Place

A major new Stills commission exploring the physical and emotional effects of economic change and regeneration in Scotland.

Gathering together family snaps, historical records and oral accounts, Nicky Bird has been collaborating with individuals and groups from communities across Scotland to unearth personal histories whose physical traces are on the brink of erasure.

Presented for the first time in Stills, this new body of photographic works investigates the simultaneously precarious and powerful nature of memory while exploring how photography and archaeology can be incorporated in both literal and metaphorical ways to speak of ‘history’.

Collaborators: Alexander Brown, Karen Hamilton, Drew Johnstone, Mary Kennedy, Jan McTaggart & George McTaggart, Martin Peter, Mark Scott and Lesley Weir.

Sites: Ardler (Dundee), Craigmillar (Edinburgh), Doon Valley (East Ayrshire), Paisley (Renfrewshire) and Prestongrange (East Lothian).

The project will culminate in a publication to be launched in 2009.

Nicky Bird Beneath the Surface / Hidden Place Events

  Exhibiton Opening
  Talk & Discussion: Globalistation, Gender and the Politics of Art as Labour
  Reading Group: text selected by Nicky Bird
  Discussion: Photography & Visual Ethnography
  The Magic Lantern at Stills: Norman McLaren
  The Magic Lantern at Stills: Memory & History
  Processes & Practice: with Rhona Warwick & Nicky Bird
  Experimental Music at Stills: Giant Tank


Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, alongside an offsite venue at Doon Valley Museum from 26 September - 9 December 2009.

Ninewells Hospital, Dundee:  27 February – 27 August 2009
Location: Off the main Foyer on route to the Children’s Outpatient Wards 19 & 20

Now in its final phase of regeneration, Ardler is one of six locations across Scotland to take part in Beneath the Surface / Hidden Place.  As the last multi was demolished in June 2007, four local residents began working alongside the photographer Nicky Bird to create this series of images. Family snaps in hand, the collaborators took the artist to the spot where their original photograph was taken, helping her to re-photograph the place as it stands today.  Placing the older image inside the new brought past and present together, hinting at elusive personal memories and finding new ways to describe the effects of history.


Ninewells Hospital Exhibition Reception: Saturday 16 May 2009 2-4pm

An opportunity to view the works alongside the artist and collaborators that participated in the project.
Reception location: Seminar Room C, blue University corridor of main foyer

For news of related events to coincide with the show's arrival at Ninewells, look out for Ardler Village Trust's Fun Day Event.  

About the Artist

Nicky Bird, a Scottish based artist, completed her PhD in Fine Art (Practice and Theory), at the University of Leeds, in 1999. She has exhibited widely; including at The Arcade, Providence, USA, and the City Art Gallery, Leeds.

Nicky's work concerns the theme of hidden histories of specific sites, investigating how - and why - they remain resonant. Starting with artefacts found in archives and collections connected to a site, the final results incorporate new photography with oral histories, genealogy, and collaborations with people who have a significant connection to the original site.

Previous Projects include Tracing Echoes, which takes its inspiration for a book of nineteenth century young women by Julia Margaret Cameron. Bird brings photography, art history and research in local genealogies together to uncover the missing histories of these women.

Image Credit:
Nicky Bird & Jan McTaggart: Foxbar, Paisley Back of Annan Drive, 1977? /
Back of Springvale Drive, 2007
Stills, Edinburgh 2008

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