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Visual Communication (MA)

Ashmina Lamichhane

Ashmina is a British-Nepali Social Designer based in London who leads her practice through catalysing dialogue with and for marginalised communities. She utilises participatory activities to facilitate conversations that are disseminated through multidisciplinary mediums.

MA Visual Communication, RCA (2022-2023)

BA Graphic Design, Kingston University (2018-2021)

Foundation Art and Design Diploma, UCA (2017-2018)

Ashmina and her mother crocheting individually sat on a brown leather sofa in their living room.

My practice has expanded from a Graphic Design background to become multidisciplinary during my study at RCA. My research has been grounded through exploration of the bridge between the diasporic and assimilated identities of the British-Nepali diaspora, my work has been extrapolated through cooking, collaging, crocheting, drawing and zines.

I conducted participatory activities in participants' domestic households to situate myself in their environment. To become a facilitator that initiates verbal and non-verbal dialogue among the household members, documented the process through video and audio.

The simplicity of these tools allows them to act as a medium in individual and group participatory activities, for the cultural richness of the dialogue with family members to remain at the forefront. Fostering collective solidarity through conversations on the experiences of as a diaspora.

These activities are to spotlight the perspective of the diasporic working-class immigrants in the modern post-colonial context. An uncovering of the challenges faced during the transitory phase of ‘assimilating’, the yearning for a ‘better life’ cultivating a need to prevent the erasure of the diasporic experience by documenting current history.

A part of my outcome is a Zine that encompasses all my research conducted, readings, experimental making, interviews, and participatory activities. In honour of my late grandfather, Dil Bahadur Thapa, an archiver of Gurkha magazines. Who would teach and prompt me to read Nepali history, his remaining archive has become tangible objects that connect me to him. In the hope to continue his legacy of documenting and archiving, these zines are to re-enter the domestic environment of the participants' homes to become archives.

My aspiration is to continue expanding and exploring other forms of workshopping as a research framework to illicit dialogue, expanding to the wider Nepali community and beyond. To remain curious and partake in the roles of a journalist, facilitator, graphic designer and videographer.

Ashmina's father and mother sat together, holding Bidesi Zine open and reading
Ashmina's father and mother sat down on sofa in front of a coffee table reading the cover of the Bidesi zine
Zine to be given to participants of my research.
birds eye view of Ashmina's mother reading Bidesi zine open with a stool next to her with Gurkha magazines stacked.
'Bidesi' designed to be situated within the domestic environment.
Bidesi zine placed on top of a stack of Ashmina's late grandfathers Nepali Magazine archive, on top of a wooden side table
Placed with my late Grandfather's archive of Nepali magazines.
Front and introduction of Ashmina's Bidesi Zine publication showing images of herself as a child and interviewees.
Launch Project
Cover and introduction spreads of 'Bidesi' zine.


‘Even though we have British passports, we’re still Nepali.’
– Muhan Kumari Thapa (My mother)

‘Bidesi' translates to foreigner in Nepali, encompassing the inquiry into the bridge between the diasporic and assimilated identities of the British-Nepali experience.

What began as a critical exploration of my cultural identity, explored through observational analysis of my archival images of family gatherings, manifested into participating in conversational dialogue with my family. Familiar with journalistic interviews as part of my research, I explored workshopping and participatory activities as a novice research method to illicit critical dialogue in informal domestic environments.

‘Me at home is definitely more Nepali. Whereas me outside, [..] be a lot more British me.’
– Sabrina Sharma (My cousin)

Group activities such as large-scale mind mapping and drawing household objects within the safe enclosure of their home allow the room to become recontextualised as a space for vulnerable discussions. A reflective tool that aids in individual and social criticality in the context of their family. To become critical of my own echo chamber of perspectives, my research has been conducted in three homes, totalling six participants. All of which are close family and a friend I have known since my first day in British education. In chronological order, they are:

1.    My parents: Puran Rana and Muhan Kumari Thapa.

2.    My Aunt and her daughters: Rukmani Thapa, Swastika and Sabrina Sharma.

3.    My childhood friend: Kripa Vitrakoti.

Individual interviews and participatory activities were documented through video and audio recordings. Along with the archiving of mind maps and drawings. These then were materialised into a tangible object of a printed book publication, that re-enters and situates itself into the same domestic environment the workshops were conducted in.




A5 (148 x 210mm)
Birds eye view of oil pastel drawing with four total participants and objects in the middle surrounded by A3 drawings
Drawing workshop with my aunt and her two daughters, Rukmani Thapa, Swastika and Sabrina Sharma on their living room floor.
8 A3 oil pastel drawings made by Ashmina and her aunt and cousins on a loop gif
Compilation of all the drawings produced during the workshop demonstrating varied perspectives of objects.

Drawing Workshop

An oil pastel drawing workshop with my aunt and her two daughters was conducted in their home, in their living room. The brief was to pick an object that has personal significance to them, placed it in the middle of the floor as we sat around and drew them whilst discussing their relationship to their object. This became a fun, light-heartened method of engaging in dialogue about their experiences as Nepali living in Britain through intergenerational dialogue.

Objects drawn:

1.    Plant Pot by Rukmani Thapa

2.    Netball by Sabrina Sharma

3.    Portable handheld fan by Swastika Sharma

Ashmina's father and mother mindmapping sat on the floor in their conservatory.
A mind mapping exercise of writing about British and Nepali experiences with my parents in our home.
Two mindmaps British and Nepali on A0 sheet of paper written by Ashmina's mother and father
Results of mindmap produced by my parents.

Mind Mapping

Diagrammatic group inquiry into reflecting experiences of being British and Nepali. Individuals from each home were asked to participate in writing a mind map of their experiences living in Britain and being Nepali. Participating in a group activity creates a diagram that is an individual's thoughts in context with others close to them. Nepali community being a community-based society, it was a choice to not have these be done individually. With the exception of my friend, Kripa, who did not live with her family during this time.


Mixed Media


Crocheting with my mother whilst learning about her upbringing in Nepal.
A5 publication made through cut and paste collage of images and transcript from crocheting with Ashmina's mother video
Launch Project
A5 cut and paste collaged zine prototype using transcript and screenshots from the video.
Ashmina's mother in traditional Magar clothing in her garden posing with crocheted bag Ashmina made
My mother wearing a crocheted bag I made with 'Magar' written in Nepali. Worn with traditional Magar clothing.
Moving image of Ashmina's mother wearing Magar clothing and opening the crocheted made by Ashmina

During the early stages of experimental making, before the interviews and workshops were conducted, I reached out to my mother, my closest point of contact and connection to my Nepali identity. We used crocheting to bond, a craft she has practiced as young girl, which she learned through the women in her upbringing living in Palpa, Nepal.

Due to limited resources, my mother would crochet her own school bag. She taught me how Nepali women would use craft skills, such as crocheting, weaving, and sewing to create functional items for everyday use. I learned how craft can be medium to catalyse conversations and share intergenerational indigenous skills.

In response, I crocheted a bag using the stitch patterns taught by my mother. I experimented with Nepali Devanagari typography by using alpha patterns to be able to crochet ‘Magar’ (my ethnicity) or ‘Nepali’ onto the bag.

An exploration of collaborating the traditional craft of crocheting with my creative practice as a Graphic Design graduate. Materialising my research question of the bridge between the diasporic and assimilated identities; a functional piece of item representing sharing of intergenerational skill and how it can adapt and evolve.

Three images of Ashmina's cousins kitchen with cut out of interview transcript pasted on top of the images
Interview with Sunita Rana (cousin) during Tihar about cooking. Collage made with photographs and cut and pasted transcripts.
Video of me cooking my Mama (uncle)'s Bhuteko Bhat (fried rice) recipe, with the audio of his interview.

I took the subject of food to begin a dialogue between myself and family members during my visit to my parent’s home for Tihar and Bhai Tika. Utilising the family gathering of celebrating festivities to eat and listen to stories, documented through audio-recorded interviews.

Through one-on-one conversation, I was able to learn about their upbringing in Nepal through the subject of food. Unveiling expectations of gender roles, environment, and endearing memories. I collected each one of their adorned cooking recipes, to bring back with me to London in my student accommodation.

I recreated my Mama (uncle) and Ama (mother)'s recipes in my shared flat kitchen. Resurfacing memories of cooking with my parents as the aroma of spices transcended me back in time. The act of cooking alone became the meditative process of connecting to my family and my Nepali heritage. Redefining my environment of solitude to a temporal space of familiarity and safety.