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Dr Nicola Simpson

As Research Impact Fellow, my role is to support the development of practice-based research and contribute to the evolution and implementation of the University’s Research Impact Strategy. I work closely with academic staff who are practice-based researchers in art and design and media and assist them in utilizing Research Data Management models and Research Impact Toolkits and methodologies to document their practice-based research and enhance the impact of this research.

My principal specialism is the work of the Benedictine Monk and artist Dom Sylvester Houédard and my doctoral thesis investigated the artistic experimentation and textual practices found in the poemobjects he made between 1960 and 1975 and provided an interpretative conceptual theoretical framework based on Mahayana Buddhist epistemology, in particular Tibetan Vajrayana Tantric Buddhism and its associated performance rituals.

This subject specialism and my research to date can be primarily positioned more generally both within an emerging body of scholarship on British and International concrete poetry and interdisciplinary transnational research addressing the influence of Zen and Tibetan Buddhisms on global avant-garde art movements.

My research and curatorial practice reposition a number of influential international artists within Western encounters with Buddhisms and explore how their practice is an important conduit for the dissemination and understanding of experiential transmission. I am actively engaged in curatorial and performance methodologies that can explore this interdependent transmission across kinetic art, concrete poetry, mail art, performance art, participation art, collage and beat poetry.


2020 2016tantric poetries: spiritual architypestractures and environmentpoem in the work of dsh, Lisson Gallery, London, March 11th -July 2020. Exhibition available online due to Covid-19 closures. Performing No Thingness: The Kinetic Poetry of Dom Sylvester Houédard, Ken Cox and Li Yuan-chia, East Gallery, NUA, 27th September – 29th October, 2016
2012The pop-up exhibition, symposium and performance evening, Notes from the Cosmic Typewriter, South London Gallery, 2nd December, 2012
2010frog pond plop: the yoga of concrete in the work of Dom Sylvester Houédard, The Gallery, NUA, 24th September -16th October, 2010  


2020 2017dsh: tantric poetries (London: Lisson Gallery, 2020). Dom Sylvester Houédard, eds. Andrew Hunt and Nicola Simpson (London: Richard Saltoun | Riding House, 2017)
2016 “polyphonicportraits & mantraportraits & mantrayantras”, NOTES ONE –onos & nonos: an introduction to the book of onomasticons by dsh (Oxford: South Street, 2016).
2016“d-r-a-w-n-i-n-w-a-r-d towards the centre of things: On Dom Sylvester’s c-dagesh”,, August 2016
2012The Cosmic Typewriter: The life and work of Dom Sylvester Houédard, ed. Nicola Simpson (London: Occasional Papers, 2012).


2019 2018“dsh & yantramantra: typestract as poemscore and prayer”. Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck University of London, 5th December 2019. “frog pond plop overture & phonata”, Concrete Poetries, LOWER.GREEN Gallery, Norwich, August 2018
2018“Vertical Group Exercises” Astro-poems and Vertical Group Exercises: Concrete Poetry at CSA, Chelsea Space, June 20182017
2017 “partial circle within a circle” with reference to Houédard’s typestracts. Collaboration with mmmmm on the occasion of DOM SYLVESTER HOUÉDARD, Typestracts, Richard Saltoun Gallery, 26 May-14 July 2017

Conference Papers:

2020 2019 2017“Not this and not that. Cutting a(way) to a Tantric Buddhist Collage in the work of Dom Sylvester Houédard”, Cutting Edge: Collage in Britain, 1945 to Now, Tate, Conference postponed until Autumn 2021. “begin again (and again and again and again): Performance, No Thingness and Dependently-Related Transmission in the poemobjects and poemenvironments of Li Yuan-chia and Dom Sylvester Houédard”, The LYC Museum & Art Gallery and the Museum as Practice, Manchester Art Gallery, 6-7th March 2019. “free interpretation of ideas suggested by dsh”, Making Beyond Words Conference, Bath Spa University, Corsham Court, June 2017
2017 “performing no thingness”, Concrete Poetry: UK Networks & Connections Research Symposium, Chelsea School of Art, March 2017
2016“d-r-a-w-n-i-n-w-a-r-d towards the centre of things: the mentifaction & destruction of mandala in the work of dsh”, Burnt Poetries conference, University of Cardiff, February 2016
2015“emptiness and the bomb: destroying & creating concepts of nothing in the counter-cultural avant-grade of 1960s London”, AHH conference, University of East Anglia, April 2015
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