Sarah Cole

Senior Lecturer

Central Saint Martins


Sarah Cole's practice involves the orchestration of collaborative encounters as a form of live research into lived experience. She studied English Literature and Fine Art, with an MA in Media Fine Art from the Slade, and has worked as an artist and educator for many years, with people of all ages and abilities.

She regularly works in both the private and public sector, offering experiential learning as a method to explore ideas and issues that emerge through workshop scenarios. Outcomes for this research are increasingly performative, involving participants and/or professional actors.

Recent work includes In-Kind a mobile one-to-one performance in an old military ambulance, Smother, an Artangel commission set in a three-sided house in Kings Cross, Tribe at Peckham Platform and Nest, a promenade performance in a primary school in Basildon. Sarah also contributes to publications and lecture programmes to discuss the ethics and methodologies of her practice, examples of which can be found in On Not Knowing; How Artists Think (ed. Fortnum and Fisher), which uses an image of her work on the front cover, and Parts Per Million, (ed. Hart and Fowler) a practice-based publication by Air Studio and Islington Council.

Research interests

Socially-engaged art that involves immersive, collaborative and playful, speculative processes. Looking at care, community and conversation, and the relationships between pedagogy, performance and place.

Research statement

Sarah Cole is a visual artist whose practice navigates different forms of social engagement as a method to open up conversations about different people's experiences of life, depending on their circumstances or situations. Her work is speculative, the process open to going off on tangents, and is concerned with finding personal 'truths', political perspectives and practical ways to visualise shared experiences. Working across media, with photography, video, drawing, sculpture and performance, the research explores the potential for art to be not just a social practice but a tool for viewing, reflection and potential change.

Sarah Cole has worked with many arts organisations, businesses and charities, including the National Theatre, Artangel, The Serpentine Gallery, Islington Council, Creative Partnerships, Philips and London Transport. Since 2005, her research has focussed on ideas of care - pedagogic, family and health care - and she has worked with children, teenagers, young parents and older carers to generate performance works that articulate questions of the, often conflicting, value of care for individuals and institutions within the wider socio-economic framework.

Selected research outputs