Community Music Artist & PhD Researcher
Eternal believer in creating a fairer world.
Nicola is currently a PhD researcher at The International Centre of Community Music & The Institute of Social Justice at York St John University supervised by Professor Lee Higgins, Dr Joan Walton & Dr Murphy McCaleb. Her participatory action research focuses of community music and social justice, exploring the role that community music might play in resisting inequality post-pandemic.
Nicola was born in Dudley in the Black Country and educated in Sandwell, learning the cello in group classes from Sandwell youth Music. She went on to study Music at Leeds College of Music (2007) and then completed a Msc in Music in the Community at The University of Edinburgh (2009) under supervision from Composer & Aid worker Professor Nigel Osborne exploring the use of music as a self advocacy tool for people with complex needs. Nicola has worked in the community since she was 16 as a play worker, youth worker and self-advocacy support worker which led to her to the field of community music of which she has worked in for 18 years within various community groups and settings. This has included music-making with people with disabilities and additional support needs, poor mental health and wellbeing, elderly care and dementia, early years and families, newly arrived mothers and those affected by Trauma and Brain injury. She co-founded the Glasgow based not for profit organisation Hear My Music producing and facilitating Inclusive participant led music projects across Scotland for both Adults and Young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities, additional support needs and Autism.
In 2017, Nicola assisted on therapeutic music programmes led by Nigel Osborne in partnership with The Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry India and looks forward to continuing this in the future.
Nicola is registered on the DBS update service to work with Children and Vulnerable Adults and is certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid & Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA England). In 2016-2017 Nicola underwent professional development training with Musicians Without Borders in Advanced Community Music leadership (Derry) and Training for Trainers (The Netherlands) offering expert mentoring in working with current and post-conflict regions. Nicola was awarded a bursary to attend The International Teaching Artist Conference ITAC (New York City, 2018).
Music Connections (2013-present) managed by Quench Arts in partnership with Solihull and Birmingham Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is a song-writing and creative music programme for isolated adults, including those with specific needs, physical disabilities and mental health service users.
Mothership Playgroup (2017 - Present) is a cross-art form creative befriending project for newly arrived mothers and their 0-4 year olds and local mothers and their 0-4 year olds. **Note**Mothership has currently been awarded funding to deliver virtually due to Covid-19.
Hidden Voices (2020-2021) produced by Midland Arts Centre is a creative music project in Birmingham working to improve the wellbeing of female carers. Nicola is working both as Lead Artist and assisting with the creation & analysis of qualitative and quantitive data which is to be shared nationally for the purpose of co-learning with other Spirit of 2020 Carers' Music Fund programmes.
Cellist in The Strangest Feeling, Birmingham based 4 piece chamber pop band.
Cellist and Manager of The Emerald String Quartet