Jerwood Fellow 2020/21 - Emily Nicholl

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Photo by Emily Nicholl
I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Jerwood Fellows with Imaginate this year and to be thinking about what will be my first work for young audiences. I’m excited to see where this period of research and learning will take me, excited to learn from all those I meet throughout the year. I think there’s a huge value in learning about how to place your audience at the heart of a creative process. I feel very privileged to be offered the support and time to be able to do that for younger audiences with additional support needs.

—Emily Nicholl

Emily Nicholl is a Scottish circus artist interested in creation in the places between disciplines. With a background in politics and environmental education, her research interests lie in our varying relationships with the outdoors. In her work she aims to find narratives within honest physicality, creating often through improvisation, in dance, partner acrobatics, and aerial choreography, working with a focus on collaboration and devising. She is interested in work which takes risks, asks questions and tells meaningful stories. Becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of perceiving others as ‘other’, and through also having a personal history with illness, she is interested in ensuring inclusivity and making space for learning from others’ lived experiences.

My performance idea for this fellowship stems from my interest in our varying relationships with the outdoors, inspired by the sense of vulnerability I have felt recently due to illness and injury, and an awareness of how my relationship to the outdoors and wildness has changed. I am interested in how we see the wilderness as ‘other’ and aim to explore in what ways performance can help to enhance a connection to the natural world, asking if this will aid our understanding of how to deal with struggles we face.

With ‘climate anxiety’ being increasingly recognised as as a discrete mental health issue, I’m interested in exploring issues around how we relate to a natural world which is at risk, and how we gain solace and therapeutic benefits from interacting with it. In exploring how we, in all our varying physical abilities and support needs connect to the landscape, from wilderness to our own backyard, from adventure sports to gardening. I’m interested in developing work which might border outdoor education alongside theatre making and learning from those already in this practice.