Nicola Ellis

I am interested in studying complex ecosystems and environments, in order to understand how their internal workings interact to function as a ‘whole’. I observe, document and subvert the intended function(s) of processes and communications, most recently within manufacturing and scientific research organisations.


My work is shaped by the relationships between people, materials and processes, and often contributes something back to that triangular dynamic. This might be in the form of disrupting an established process with the people who usually work with it, by presenting an existing quality of an object or infrastructure in a different way, or by carving out a new way of operating – as an individual, a collaborator or an outsider – in a specific context.


Throughout the last 4 years I have developed a relationship with Ritherdon & Co ltd – a manufacturer of steel enclosures based in Darwen, Lancashire. I was introduced to Ritherdon by The National Festival of Making’s Art in Manufacturing programme in 2018 which initiated my initial 10 week residency at the manufacturer. The success of this residency lead the further two-year ACE funded placement Return to Ritherdon which resulted in an invitation to remain in placement indefinitely. I will continue to observe, participate in, and at times disrupt the ecosystem of the factory while working alongside and in collaboration with the Ritherdon workforce.


I am a member of Para-lab Manchester; a group of artists and material scientists interested in cooperation and collaboration based in Greater Manchester and Yorkshire. As part of my work with Para-lab, I am developing a relationship with scientists researching superalloys at Manchester University. This work will resume after Covid19 restrictions are lifted.


I am a member of Incidental Unit, the current iteration of Artist Placement Group. The Incidental Unit draws out key ideas, methods, process and rationale for maintaining the independent and critical work of artists and curators, connecting the historical legacy of APG with the complex nature of social practice now.

Incidental Unit





Return to Ritherdon: Photography and Drawings e-publication
Incidental Rendition essay by Nicola Ellis

Incidental Rendition essay by Manoli Moriaty


Podcast in-conversation with Matthew Pendergast


The Factory Residency. Article by Lauren Velvick in


No Particular Place to Go exhibition catalogue


Corridor8 review. Each Toward the Other by Derek Horton


Nicola Ellis in residence at Ritherdon & Co Ltd. An Essay by Lauren Velvick


Molten lines and metallic dreams: The recent sculpture of Nicola Ellis. An essay by Derek Horton


Corridor8 review. More room for error: Nicola Ellis


Corridor8 review. Meanwhile See This


Corridor8 review. Nicola Ellis & Aura Satz, Castlefield Gallery