Dawn Cole’s work with archives and interest in drawing out narratives has led to several commissions. Details of these can be found below.

About this project

Work Like an Artist 2015

Creative Foundation commissioned Dawn Cole to work with children aged 7 – 11 at two schools in Dover and Folkestone as part of the Kent Inspire programme.

The challenge was for young people to experience what is was to work like an artist. A series of  workshops were based around objects that each child had chosen at the start of the project. They used their objects as inspiration and through a programme of printmaking and photography workshops they made books, films, photographs and  posters which led them to develop, lead and deliver their own workshop to their fellow pupils at each school.

Some of the work they produced.


Operation Pugin 2013

Commissioned by the Pugin Society to develop an education pack for schools. The pack consisted of 10 creative workshops to tell the story of the life and work of Augustus Pugin.

Cole co-commissioned 2 artists to design a workshop each and a graphic designer to design the final pack. Cole consulted with schools to develop a pack that was appropriate for the curriculum, age appropriate and useable in a classroom environment.

The education pack, Operation Pugin, can be viewed here

Table Mat Commission for Jenny Duff Mats 2012

In 2012 Cole was commissioned to design a collection of tablemats and coasters for Jenny Duff Mats. The design took it’s starting pint from the archive of Clarice Spratling, a WW1 VAD Nurse, and the references in her diary to trips out on afternoons off. The finished design, made using the words from the diary ‘Went out to tea with a friend’ resemble lace doilies (referencing Cole’s previous body of lace works). The mats were for sale for a period of 3 years and sold to customers around the world.


I Wish I Could See My Little Willy 2011

Fearful that the nation’s morals were in decline after World War II, the authorities confiscated and destroyed thousands of British ‘saucy’ seaside postcards in the early 1950s.

Dawn Cole was commissioned in 2011 to curate an exhibition that told the story of the hearings that were held in Margate in the 1950’s that led to the confiscation of postcards that were considered ‘too rude to view’, from shops around the town.

Cole worked with the British Cartoon Archive to select postcards and develop the narrative to run through the exhibition. She developed a programme of talks, a ‘listening’ of the radio 4 play ‘Getting the Joke’ by Tinniswood Prize nominee Neil Brand; held in the ex magistrates court where the original hearings took place, and commissioned a series of life size saucy seaside cutouts that made appearances around the town and invited the public to take a photo with the cut outs, write their own saucy caption and upload them to a dedicated Facebook page

Press cuttings for this project can be viewed here Postcard exhibition

and a lovely review here


Ashford SummerSounds 2006

Commissioned by Ashford Town Centre Partnership to work with the community to ‘brand’ the town and highlight the SummerSounds Music Festival.

Cole created a pop-up studio space in an empty shop to provide a working space for members of the public to drop-in and help create a series of hangings that were hung in shop windows throughout the town on the run up to the festival. Cole, assisted by artist Jackie Russell, also took the workshops into 4 schools making a total of 20 hangings.

One of the hangings was used by Ashford Borough Council as the design for the banners adorning the street lamps throughout the town during the festival.

Cole commissioned a barber shop quartet to sing outside each shop highlighting the project and leading people on a musical trail around the town to launch the start of SummerSounds.

Installation 2005

Commissioned by the University of Kent to create a large scale installation responding to the space within Keynes College Atrium.

The installation consisted of 8 mono printed hangings, measuring 800x150cm each, hung within the space between two floors. A space looked through and beyond but overlooked and unconsidered. The geometric design was taken from the patterns, textures, angles and measurements of the space.

Sculpture Commission 2004

Commissioned by the League of Friends, Kent and Canterbury Hospital to create a sculpture for a garden they were developing for their 50th anniversary.

The sculpture Cole designed and created, made from cast concrete and inlaid with ceramic tiles, took its inspiration from the Kent coast. The shape reflecting that of a Mussel shell and the textures on the tiles created from imprints made from numerous walks by Cole along the beaches at Minnis Bay, Birchington.