Squirrel Nation is a creative, not-for-profit agency formed of three core members: filmmaker and writer Erinma Ochu, visual artist Caroline Ward and curator Bianca Ama Manu, and several associate members. They make and curate films, installations, and live events while discursively critiquing narratives around diaspora, disability and environmental sustainability.
Ward is a visual artist, researcher and designer, whose practice spans moving image, performance, digital interaction and installation. Her interests lie in intersectionality and the crossovers between nature-culture and technology. Ochu, who originally trained as a neuroscientist, focuses on the afterlives of creative practice, exploring what remains from creating or experiencing intersectional work. Manu is a curator and producer who works between London, UK and Accra, Ghana. Her practice explores the socio-political, the environmental, issues of identity and the use of new media.
Squirrel Nation were Jerwood Fellows at Manchester International Festival in 2017 and 2019. They have been commissioned by Sheffield Doc/Fest, Brighton Digital, Shuffle Festival, Arts Council England, European City of Science, Wellcome Collection and Manchester Science Partnerships.
In 2018, Squirrel Nation was awarded the Stuart Hall Library Artist’s Residency which ran between February and April. Taking Iniva’s material as a springboard, Squirrel Nation used this opportunity to investigate the cultural ‘touchpoints’ between diasporic generations. Using social media and modern technologies, they explored how individual experiences of diasporic communities today relate to the experiences of previous generations. The residency created a space for the collective to rethink the politics of blackness, diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging or isolation. Their project, Coming Out of the Blue was the culmination of this research, approaching the archive as a catalyst to imagine “Diasporan post-Brexit, post-human” identities.
The collective is based in their studio in Manchester.