The residency will mark the first collaborative project between artist Katie Schwab and her father Ed Emery, a writer, political activist and researcher who has been documenting labour struggles in the motor industry since the early 1970s.
This project will begin with a one-month research period at The White House, taking Ed’s archive as a starting point to explore both the activism that rose up around Ford Dagenham in the 1970s and its legacy forty years on. The archive will be approached critically to look at its gaps in relation to gender, race, immigration and the home. The project will then evolve throughout the year, incorporating conversations, workshops and archival research to explore shared interests in production, labour and the family sphere.
Katie’s projects often evolve through explorations of personal, social, and design-based histories. She has a particular interest in the ways in which manual and social forms of production can develop within shared interior spaces. Projects often evolve through embedded research and workshops in arts, learning and community contexts.
Ed’s archive of material relates to the strikes and factory-interventions at Ford in 1975-1985, including sound recordings, leaflets, photographs, magazines and official Ford Company and trade union documentation. In June 1978, Red Notes* published The Little Red Blue Book authored by Ed Emery. The pamphlet contains reports, diary entries, photographs and drawings detailing layoffs and labour disputes at the Dagenham Ford Factory. A nod to Ford’s The Blue Book (a handbook of agreements between Ford and the trade unions) and China’s Little Red Book, the pamphlet was a manual attempting to map out a revolutionary practice which could operate in the day to day realities of struggle inside the Ford factories.
*Red Notes is a publisher of radical political texts based in London, largely based on radical movements in the UK and Italy in the 1970s.
Recent exhibitions include A Working Building, The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth (2019); Jerwood Solo Presentations, Jerwood Space, London (2016); Making the Bed, Laying the Table, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow (2016) and Together in a Room, Collective, Edinburgh (2016). Recent projects include This Interesting and Wonderful Factory, Clore Sky Studio Commission, Tate St Ives, St Ives (2018); Atrium Commissions, mima, Middlesbrough (2017) and A Portable Mural, Serpentine Galleries, London (2017). She was the recipient of the 2016 Nigel Greenwood Art Prize, the 2017 Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Residency at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, the 2018/19 New Contemporaries/ SPACE Studio Bursary and the 2017-19 Design Residency at Plymouth College of Art.