Nicole Archer

Dr Nicole Archer

Soil hydrologist and environmental artist

I am a practicing environmental artist and soil hydrologist. I combine scientific disciplines of soils, ecology and hydrology with art-based research. I am presently undertaking a second PhD in art-based research at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, researching Environmental Art and Water Management Policy. I also engage with scientific research relating to human relationship with environment, such as disaster risk reduction and climate change. I use creative practices with the intention of expressing different ways of thinking to understand patterns, relationships, and processes within nature, focusing on the relationship of water and human activities. I combine aerial photography, clay sculpture, embroidery, and audio techniques to generate connections between people and environment, in ways that are intuitive, phenomenological and experiential.

Nicole Archer’s Biography

  • 2018 – present: Practice based PhD (Scholarship) – Art-based research and water policy, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
  • 2015 – present: Practicing Artist, based in Jedburgh, Roxburgh (
  • 2013 – present: Soil Hydrologist, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh
  • 2010 – 2013: Hydrologist and flood management, Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science (under the auspices of UNESCO), University of Dundee, Fife
  • 2007 – 2010: Founder and Director of ECOWAVES, Natural water solutions, Reinosa, Spain
  • 2006 – 2007: Resident Facilitator for short courses in environmental sustainability and holistic science, Schumacher College, University of Plymouth
  • 2004 – 2006: Coordinator and SOIL Science Research, Inner Mongolia, China and Giessen University, Germany.
  • 2001 – 2004: Post doctorate in remote sensing and water use, University of Dundee, Fife
  • 1996 – 2000: PhD Above-ground/below ground soil water relationships, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire
  • 1994 – 1996: MSc Natural Resource Management, University of Cranfield, Bedfordshire
  • 1991 – 1994: BSc Environmental Science, University of Aberystwyth

Research interests

  • Climate change, soils, ecology and art-based research, resilience and sustainability

Current projects and collaboration

  • Art-based research and water policy – Developing art-based methods relevant to water policy
  • Agzero+ and Uplift – Carbon sequestration and farming practices in the fens – using art-based research to follow transformation of soils, farmers and science
  • Carbon storage – Art-based methods and understanding carbon storage
  • Midlothian Climate Beacon – National Mining Museum Scotland – A Scotland-wide collaborative project engaging with climate change following COP26
  • Ateneo de Manilla University and Vietnam National University funded by the Royal Society – Multi-hazards & resilience in hyper-expanding cities
  • ASSIST – Integrating surface and sub-surface processes in relation to farm productivity
  • Emergent forest dynamics of ancient Scots pine and mature plantations – Investigating natural flood management in scots pine plantations and ancient scots pines


Manley, N A L, Tankiamco, X, Galindo, A C R, Schrag, A, Nguyen, T A, Dao, T H, Duong, T T, Guzman, M A L G, and Payo Garcia, A P. 2022. Creative Interpretation of Global Flooding – Experiences from the Philippines, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. British Geological Survey, UK Research and Innovation.

Key papers

Manley, N A L . 2022. The Importance of Tacit Knowledge in Geoscience brought to the surface through Artistic Methods. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 7 (1), 123-155.

Archer, N A L, Bell, R A, Butcher, A S, and Bricker, S H. 2020. Infiltration efficiency and subsurface water processes of a sustainable drainage system and consequences to flood management. Journal of Flood Risk Management; e12629.

Vereecken, H, Weihermüller, L, Assouline, S, Šimůnek, J, Verhoft, A, Herbst, M, Archer, N A L, et al. 2019. ‘Infiltration from the Pedon to Global Grid Scales: An Overview and Outlook for Land Surface Modelling’, Vadose Zone Journal. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 18(1), p. 180191.

Ó Dochartaigh, B É, Archer, N A L, Peskett, L, MacDonald, A  M, Black, A R, Auton, C A, Merritt, J E, Gooddy, D C, and Bonell, M. 2019. Geological structure as a control on floodplain groundwater dynamics. Hydrogeology Journal, 27:703-716.

Archer, N A L, Otten, W, Schmidt, S, Shah, N, and Bonell, M. 2015. Rainfall infiltration and soil hydrological characteristics below ancient forest planted forest and grassland in a temperate northern climate. Ecohydrology.

Archer, N A L, Bonell, M, MacDonald, A M, and Coles, N. 2014. A Constant Well Head Permeameter formula comparison: its significance in the estimation of field saturated hydraulic conductivity in heterogeneous shallow soils. Hydrology Research.

Archer, N A L, Bonell, M, MacDonald, A M, Coles, N, Auton, C A, and Stevenson, R. 2013. The relationship of soil and woodland cover on soil hydraulic conductivity at a hillslope scale and local flood management in the Scottish Borders. Journal of Hydrology 497, 208-222.

Archer, N A L, Quinton, J N, and Hess, T M. 2012. Patch vegetation and water redistribution above and below ground in south-east Spain. Ecohydrology, 5, 108-120.

Archer, N A L, and Jones, H G. 2006. Integrating hyperspectral imagery at different scales to estimate component surface temperatures. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 27 (11), 2141-2159.

Archer, N A L, and Jones, H G. 2003. Estimation of evaporation using ground and airborne methods. In: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society, Scales and Dynamics in observing the environment. 10-12 September 2003, University of Nottingham, UK. Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society. ISBN 0 946226 32 6.

Archer, N A L, Hess, T M, and Quinton, J N. 2002. The water balance of two semi-arid shrubs on abandoned land in south-eastern Spain after cold season rain.  Hydrology and Earth Systems Sciences. 6 (5), 913-926.

Archer, N A L, Quinton, J N, and Hess, T M. 2002. Below-ground relationships of soil texture, roots and hydraulic conductivity in two-phase mosaic vegetation in south-east Spain. Journal of Arid Environments. 52: 535-553.

Jones, H G, Archer, N A L, Rotenberg, E, and Casa, R. 2003. Radiation measurements for plant ecophysiology. Journal of Experimental Botany. 54, (386), 879-889.

Jones, H G, Archer, N A L, and Rotenberg, E. 2003. Thermal radiation, canopy temperature and evaporation from forest canopies. In: Forest at the land atmosphere interface. Edts. Mencuccini, M, Grace, J, Mencrieff, J, and MacNaughton, K. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.

Quinton, J N, Morgan, R P C, Archer, N A L, Hall, G M, and Green, A. 2002. Bioengineering principles and desertification mitigation. In: Mediterranean Desertification: a mosaic of processes and responses. Edts. Geeson, N A, Brandt, C J, and Thornes, J B. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. UK.

Solo exhibitions

  • Nov 2021 – May 2022 – Carbon Conflict & Climate Change (shared with British Geological Survey) – National Mining Museum Scotland, Midlothian, UK
  • 29 – 31 January 2020 – Becoming River – Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre, Glasgow, UK
  • 19 – 21 June 2019 – Evolving the Forest – Space Gallery, Dartington Hall, Dartington, UK
  • 9 – 11 Nov 2018 – Hanoi Forum 2018, towards sustainable development – Marriott Hotel, Vietnam
  • 21 – 25 May 2018 – The Red River: The Cascading Hazards Workshop – Vietnam National University, Vietnam
  • 6 – 7 Feb 2018 – Flood Risk Management Conference 2018 – Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre, Glasgow, UK
  • 2 – 7 Sept 2017 – Graduate Show – Glasgow School of Art, UK
  • 18 – 25  May 2017 – Water Ways (solo) – British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, UK
  • 16 May 2017 – Water Ways (solo) – Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, UK


  • Art-based research
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Hydrology, soils and ecology
  • Skilled in digital design
  • Environmental arts – tapestry, audio, film, ceramics, and alternative photographic process
  • Fluent in Spanish and French


  • Scottish Artist Society
  • Professional member of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

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