Nicole Mullan Awarded Castlefield Gallery 2021/22 BA (hons) Photography Prize

Posted on 2 October 2021

Castlefield Gallery is delighted to announce that our 2021/22 BA (hons) Photography Prize has been awarded to Manchester School of Art graduate, Nicole Mullan. 

Thomas Dukes, AHRC NWCDTP Collaborative Doctoral Award Student, says:

“I selected Nicole Mullan for the deft creation of a photography project weaving together fundamental questions of identity.  Borders, religion and family history are traversed through cloud and sea, between Ireland and England, in the  project, North With The Spring.  Mullan’s inquiry into the experience of identity constructed between places is rich with curiosity and made with sensitivity.  The project invests transitional sites and symbols with thoughtful consideration, and communicates the potency of the in-between, and the un-finished, to a contemporary sense of self.”

Nicole has been awarded an honorary 12-month Castlefield Gallery Associate membership, giving access to information, skills, opportunities, resources, promotion and critical dialogue. Castlefield Gallery Associates acts as a hub, bringing together artists, curators and writers, facilitating critical exchange and engagement. 

Nicole Mullan is an Irish Photographer based in Manchester whose practice is largely based around lived experiences and her relationship to place, migration, and theories of identity. The development of her work usually starts with a methodical process of researching archived material and found imagery relating to key themes around displacement, and the movement of people across borders. The transition and movement across landscapes encourages her to look at past histories of Irish diaspora and the borders hidden within the landscapes of the everyday. The work often takes her back to her home country of Northern Ireland where she works predominantly with digital processes, found imagery and documentary. Her personal experiences growing up in rural Ireland with a strong catholic identity, somehow always find their way into her work and are a key contributor to her creative practice as a whole. 

For her degree show Nicole presented North with The Spring, an on-going body of work which explores issues around Irish Diaspora and losing one’s identity after migration. It looks at the familiar through a new perspective, one that changes and alters over time but is always present and never forgotten. It often results in feelings of placelessness; living in-between worlds, neither existing fully in Ireland or in England, reflecting a constant shift or movement between places we call home. It highlights religion and borders as both physical and emotional boundaries, a reflection of my own identity, a constant search for belonging.