Katie Schwab

Katie SchwabDuring a residency at The White House, Katie Schwab has been exploring overlooked histories of industrial, domestic and material culture in Dagenham.

Sign up to Katie Schwab’s Pillow Workshops in late July

Katie has been meeting with local residents, organisations and manufacturers to explore workwear designs, items made from by-products of industry and the costume designs of former White House resident, Hardy Amies. Hardy spent his childhood living in The White House, while his father was overseeing the building of the Becontree Estate. Hardy went onto to become a world-famous fashion designer and Still Here takes its name from his autobiography. Katie is developing a new collection of functional textiles inspired by materials that have been cut out or ‘leftover’. The collection is being developed in collaboration with local manufacturers and makers, and will be used at The White House and in other domestic spaces, creating material connections between homes across Becontree.

Dagenham has long been synonymous with manufacturing, known for companies such as Ford Dagenham (employing 40,000 workers in its 1950s heyday), May & Baker and Sterling, many of which have since closed or downsized. Still Here seeks to explore methods of weaving, stitching and quilting; platforming local manufacturers and traditions of making that are still here.

In spring 2019 Katie and her father Ed Emery began a period of research at The White House, marking the first collaboration between them. Ed is a writer, political activist and researcher who has been documenting labour struggles in the motor industry since the early 1970s.

Read more about Katie’s residency at whitehouseart.org/katie-schwab

Katie Schwab’s practice interweaves personal, social, and craft-based histories, often drawing from overlooked traditions of living, making and working collectively. Spanning exhibition-making, design commissions, printed resources and workshops, she works across arts, learning and community contexts to explore histories of domestic, social and civic design.

Commissioned by The White House and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.