Nicola Richardson Is Changing Cultures With Creativity

There are just a few hours left until Garage48 Enable Tallinn 2014 kicks off and as the excitement builds up, we have one more special person to introduce you to! Nicola Richardson - a creative visionary and entrepreneur, who creates magical pieces and designs that takes everyone on a visual journey. Nicola is also keen on improving spaces for the disabled and has an extraordinary sense for what can be done to enable better access for them. We at Garage48 are so happy that Nicola is mentoring the teams and we wish her all the luck in the world! :)

How did you come to team up with Garage48 Enable? 

My colleague Nikky Smedley was a speaker at the 2014 Creativity Forum held at Narva College of the University of Tartu earlier this year and heard about the event, conversations started and now I’m here! 
How would you describe yourself? 
Creative, a keen sense of fun and play which I use to support the more challenging aspects of my work.  Positive.
You own a creative company called Vortex Creates. Tell us a little about what you do and what inspires you in your work? 
I actually own two creative companies.  Vortex Creates is the more obvious.  We design and produce large costumes and installations for events and performances. We’ve made everything from 5 meter high costumes for Carnivals, to transforming a whole square in Birmingham in the UK into another world.  Sometimes we work much smaller like our current touring theatre piece Traveling Treasury made entirely of paper housed inside a caravan. My other company Changing Cultures uses creativity as a catalyst to enable change and development. 
I think inspiration can come for the most unlikely places.  For me it’s about keeping my eyes and mind open to what’s around me.  It might be a building that I see, an article in a magazine or a conversation.  I think its also important to go out and live life and see as much as you can. I try and see as many exhibitions and performances as I can and attend events like Garage48 Enable. I also think over the last few years Facebook has become a great source of inspiration, it has opened up the whole world of inspiring people and work in one handy newsfeed!
How does your usual day look like? 
What is a usual day? I don’t think I’ve ever had one! In this week alone I have delivered training for a school and put a giant bow on a building to wrap it up for Christmas, and now I’m enjoying the delights of Tallinn.
In your career as a space designer, what have you learned to appreciate? 
That people always want to fill spaces, and sometimes it’s the things we leave out that is important. When I start working with a client, they usually want to begin by talking about the look, but I think it is crucial to start with how you want people to feel, and what you want them to do.
Are the disabled people in the UK recognised by the society? 
Yes. Although I think there is still work to be done to fully enable everyone to be able to access what’s available.

Does your work as a space designer benefit from technology? 
Yes. I use my computer to design and plan and use the internet to find inspiration. In the spaces themselves, it depends on what the space is for and the budget available, but it’s great that technology is becoming more accessible and affordable so it can be used more.
Do the disabled people in the UK rely on technology and IT or do they have personal help in the form of caretakers? 
I think there is a lot of very accessible technology that supports and enables people with disability in the UK. It’s not always perfect, and there is still work to be done. Where technology is not as accessible, then support workers are available. 
What have you heard about Estonia? 
When my college returned from Tallinn earlier in the year she spoke of beautiful architecture and warm and friendly people with a passion for creativity and developing possibilities, when I spoke to other friends and posted my trip on Facebook, I had exactly the same feedback!
What are you expecting from the Garage48 Enable event? 
To be inspired. To confirm my belief that anything is possible if people work collaboratively to solve a problem.
What are your plans for the next year? 
To build on and develop everything from this year. To do a few more crazy projects alongside ensuring the sustainability of the really important ones. And of course to return to Estonia!
What has been the best advice that has ever been given to you? 
I’m lucky to have been given lots of good advice over the years. However what always sticks in my mind is people often say in the UK, “you're really lucky, you always seem to be in the right place at the right time”.  However I was told if you put yourself in the right place, the right time will always come along, and it’s true.  My other favourite is a quote. “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you stand still”.   

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