Annie Nichols

During her year at Open School East, Annie drew on her past experiences and skills from working as a chef in hotels and restaurants, and later as a food stylist and cookery writer. This developed into research on the global effect of colonialism and the inequality of cheap food production, trade and distribution, investigating historical, and traditional formation of hierarchy in social class structures.

For the Public Programme, Annie invited Darren McGarvey (aka Loki the Scottish Rapper) to lead a public forum on social cohesion. The forum was an opportunity for the local community to get together and have a conversation about the future and what we may be able to achieve to make positive change. 

For many years Annie has aspired to open a community café so that she can use food as a tool to bring people together, specifically the new wave of people moving to Margate and the community that is already here. With initial funding and support from OSE, Annie opened the Hot Meals Now Canteen at the Margate Adult Education Centre. OSE also funded a series of cooking workshops and events for Annie to test her recipes with local community groups and organisations such as United Mothers, Beyond the Page, Artsedex, Seaside Dementia Choir, Bags of Taste, The Garden Gate Project and GOLD East Kent Mencap, and OSE’s Despacito Art School and Young Associates Programme.

For the Microworld OSE open day, Annie used skills learned from the creative coding course with Genetic Moo and Matt Maplestone to combine folded linen napkins with self-built Arduino micro-controllers, in order to create the installation ‘Trattato delle piegature (It’s a lot, it’s a lot, it’s a lot, like life)’.

For the final show Annie developed the live cooking performance/sound installation ‘The beauty of the fold (he yes’s you to death)’, consisting of folded linen napkins, dead lemons, and live, amplified banana flambé preparation. This performance brought together all of the separate strands of Annie’s work, and she found that in the end her art practice, her community work, and her cooking skills became one.