The beginnings: Dawn Cole

The beginnings of From Wasteland to Wasteland (FWTW) can be traced back to my first visit to the Lochnagar Crater in August 2015.  That first visit had a lasting impact on me and is recorded here in my personal blog.


Following that original blog post I spent a good few months considering what a project at the crater might be. Very mindful of the need for sensitivity I also realised that anything I came up with would involve more than just me. There was a desire to share my experience with other artists; to see their responses to the site; that to develop a project just for me would be too overwhelming an experience.

Margate is a place rich with artists and creativity and so I was not short of artists to approach. However, for this project they had to be artists who would ‘get’ how important this site is. Sounding out each of the artist, with a not yet fully formulated idea, began late in 2015, with an agreement that we should all meet up in January 2016 to discuss how we might collaboratively develop a project.

It became clear at our first meeting that it was vital that each artist should see the site before they could commit to or even begin to consider a project in response and so it was decided to apply for R&D Funding from Arts Council England.

The key parts of our successful funding bid are:

  • a research trip to the crater so each artist can experience a first response
  • Undertake wider research
  • Document and share the research and development of the project
  • Each artist will develop a proposal for site responsive work to be completed during a week long residency at the site in 2018
  • each artist will make one new work in response to their first visit. This work will be sold to part fund the ongoing development of FWTW.
  • Present our initial research and thoughts to Turner Contemporary’s Wasteland Research Group
  • To host a First Friday event at Marine studios to present our responses to a public audience.

The title  takes it’s name from T S Eliot’s The Wasteland poem and the notion to connect the project with this came out of our first meeting. FWTW is not a direct response to the poem, but more a connection to the ideas of the poem. It is widely noted that Eliot wrote the poem as a response to the aftermath of WW1, writing a part of it during a visit to Margate. Visiting the Lochnagar Crater and the surrounding area, with it’s Red Zone fields (more about these to come) we connect the Margate wasteland of Eliot’s poem to the wasteland sites of WW1 through our individual and collective responses.

And so From Wasteland to Wasteland has begun and we will be using this website to share the project as it develops. Each artist will be writing their responses as individuals and as part of the collaborative project. We will share not only our research and work as individual artists but also share how we work together and develop a new working relationship.



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