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Exhibition will commemorate talented Fine Art graduate

Every Space We Occupy will present an in-depth and inspiring view of the work, life and legacy of artist Ella Dawson who studied Fine Art at Newcastle University 2015-2019.

9 February 2022

Every Space We Occupy will present an in-depth and inspiring view of the work, life and legacy of artist Ella Dawson who studied Fine Art at Newcastle

Ella, from Huddersfield, was described as a rare talent and graduated from Newcastle University in July 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art. Only a few short weeks later, whilst travelling in Colombia, Ella was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and in July 2021, despite two years of gruelling treatment regimes, Ella sadly passed away from progressive disease.

The exhibition, which will open on what would have been Ella’s 25th birthday, presents an extensive body of her work that explores her inspiration and development as an artist during her time at Newcastle and after graduation.

The central themes of her work examine boundaries between space, matter and experience, with an aim to create an experience for the viewer exploring ideas such as matter, materiality, time, duration, and spatiality, while working intuitively with textile and colour. Ella’s work expertly develops her own imagery and language of colour through sustained and varied experimental techniques resulting in an ambitious and skilfully produced body of work.

Ella was determined never to be defined by cancer. She was passionate about living well with purpose, positivity and gratitude each day despite her life situation and to create a much-needed blueprint of physical, emotional, and wellbeing support to help other young adults with cancer.

Richness, beauty and potential

Ella’s family said: “We are incredibly grateful to Newcastle University’s Fine Art staff for their support through 2021 and for hosting ‘Every Space We Occupy’, an inspiring exhibition of Ella’s life, her work as an emerging young artist and her legacy through The Ella Dawson Foundation.

“Ella was a passionate artist and her use of vibrant colour in her work, in the last two years in particular, reflected how Ella saw the world, seeing richness, beauty and potential in every single day.

“Ella believed passionately, through her own experience, that physical and emotional wellbeing support can make a huge difference when going through a cancer journey and Ella was determined to create a wellbeing blueprint to help others in the same situation as herself.

“Ella was, and remains, an absolute inspiration to so many people and through her vision, her creativity and her philosophy on life, we are committed to building a positive and sustainable charity which is able to provide help and support to young adults with cancer to allow them to live well despite a cancer diagnosis.

“Ella spent four incredibly happy years in Newcastle and, so, it seems entirely fitting to us, that the official launch of The Ella Dawson Foundation takes place in Newcastle, a city she loved so much, on the opening night of ‘Every Space We Occupy’ – the 11th February, a date which coincidentally would also have been Ella’s 25th birthday.”


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An honour 

Nick Fox, Deputy Head of Fine Art at Newcastle University, was Head of Ella's final year. He has helped to organise the exhibition.

"Ella was a rare and tremendously positive spirit in and outside the department," he said. " It was an absolute joy to work with her in final year and to get to know her in the lead up to her degree show exhibition.

"Ella was a very talented artist and it's an absolute honour for us to host this exhibition in her memory.

“We will always remember her as an important part of our Fine Art family.”

The exhibition coincides with the official launch of The Ella Dawson Foundation  a charity established to provide physical, emotional, nutritional, wellbeing and social support to young adults with cancer and their families.

The foundation is created as a legacy to Ella, her creativity, her inspiration and passion to help others. Ella’s work can be seen at where prints of her work along with notebooks and journals can now be purchased with all proceeds being donated to the charity.

Every space we occupy by Ella Dawson takes place from 11 - 23 February 2022 in the XL Gallery at Newcastle University. 

OPEN: 10am-5pm (Monday to - Friday )

Free Entry with donations to The Ella Dawson Foundation (Registered Charity 1197112) gratefully received.

For more information about the Ella Dawson Foundation email:

Press release adapted with thanks to the Ella Dawson Foundation.


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences