Mutual Restructure

Mutual RestructureCommunity Governance, Participatory Decision-Making & Cooperative Practices

The White House and Create London invite you to join us for a series of exploratory conversations and practical workshops to examine the challenges we face in generating and supporting greater participatory control over resources and community life.

Thursday 26 September, 10am – 6pm

Hosted by the Centre for Plausible Economies

c/o Company Drinks, Outdoor Bowls Pavilion, Barking Park, Longbridge Road, Barking, IG11 8TA

The day will bring together groups, organisations and individuals who demonstrate different processes of mutuality, cooperative working and participatory governance. Together we will explore different models, approaches and challenges to decentralise decision-making across social, cultural, economic and political spheres and systems.

The day will:

  • Explore different community governance models and approaches to understand where we are now and where we need to be;
  • Explore current participatory and cooperative decision-making within an arts and heritage context;
  • Undertake practical learning to develop collective and sustainable strategies.

Sign up for tickets here.

Event Contributors:
Kate Batchelor (Peabody, Thamesmead) / Denise Bowler (Whitworth Art Gallery / Constituent Museum) / Susanne Burns / Tom Crawford (Cubitt) / Hilary Jennings (Happy Museum Project) / Gemma Leigh Holyoak (Community Led Housing London) / Lucy Lopez / Siôn Whellens / Stephanie Gamauf / Kathrin Böhm (The Centre for Plausible Economies) / Verity-Jane Keefe

Event Schedule:

10:00-10:30am – Arrive and refreshments

10:45-11:00am – Ice breaker activity led by artist, Verity-Jane Keefe

11am-12:20pm– Convening on arts & heritage models

Speakers: Kathrin Böhm (The centre for plausible economies), Tom Crawford (Cubitt), Denise Bowler (Constituent Museum / Whitworth Art Gallery), Hilary Jenkins (Happy Museum), Lucy Lopez (Independent Curator)

Chair: Susanne Burns

12:20-12:35pm – Refreshment Break

12:35-1:15pm – Convening on housing models

Speakers: Kate Batchelor (Senior Regeneration Manager, Peabody, Thamesmead), Gemma Leigh Holyoak (Community Led Housing London)

Chair: Verity-Jane Keefe

1:15-2:00pm – Lunch

2:00-3:00pm – Workshop led by Stephanie Gamauf
Building inclusive spaces: Engagement beyond the ‘usual suspects’
– Strategies for participatory co-creation
– Community engagement and inclusion
– Privilege and positioning and how it influences our work with communities

3:00-3:20pm – Refreshment Break

3:20-4:20pm – Workshop led by Siôn Whellens
Co-operative approaches
-Overview of processes used within co-operatives, exploring people-focused work practices
-How these can be applied to approaches within various sectors

4:20-4:50pm – Group discussion – Summing up of the day (30mins)
Led by: Susanne Burns

4:50-6pm – Drinks and chatting


Whitworth Art Gallery: Denise Bowler
Denise Bowler is the Curator of the Constituent Museum at Whitworth Art Gallery (University of Manchester), her role involves connecting projects to the Whitworth’s recent acquisition of the Arte Útil Archive. Her skill is bringing people together to create useful art in whatever form it takes: working collaboratively; drawing on existing skills; encouraging new ways of thinking and making; focusing on what really matters to each individual in an expanding world.

Formerly, she has co-developed formal and informal education programmes addressing current concerns with schools and colleges, families, young people, artists, volunteers, undergraduates and adults.  She has made valuable contributions to institutions such as the Whitworth, Bolton Museum & Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery.  Denise has worked for the Arts Council of England across Visual Arts and Education; she has taught Art & Design in secondary schools and colleges in the North West; performed in four nationally touring co-devised contemporary theatre shows; curated several exhibitions and delivered mindful workshops in galleries and parks.

Cubitt: Tom Crawford
Cubitt is an artist-led co-operative based in Islington, London. Founded by a group of artists in 1991, Cubitt consists of a non-profit gallery, 32 artist studios and a locally-focused education programme.

Tom Crawford is a Cubitt Artist and Co-chair of the Public Programmes Committee. Tom Crawford works with moving image, painting, print and installation to explore the politics of urbanism and the class antagonisms that go hand in hand. His video work draws on methods of abstraction, using found and original footage to construct narratives that consider nostalgia and its role in distorting the imaginable future. He completed an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ University in 2011 and has since contributed to exhibitions and projects with Syndicate, Tenderpixel, Art Night, Southwark Park Galleries, South Kiosk, Bloc Projects, and g39.

Happy Museum Project: Hilary Jennings
Hilary Jennings is Director of the Happy Museum Project supports museums, and other cultural institutions to experiment with practice which supports the wellbeing of people, place and planet. She is Co-Chair of the Transition Network, a charitable organisation supporting a global movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world – the organisation has recently moved to a shared governance model using consensual decision making. She is also a trustee of Bioregional (founder of One Planet Living) and an active member of a local Neighbourhood Forum, Healthy Streets group and Transition initiative in Tooting SW London.

Siôn Whellens
Siôn Whellens works for Calverts, a worker coop in East London doing creative design and print. He moonlights as a cooperative organiser, working with new and established groups, taking a coop approach to securing work, housing and space. He has worked with several collectives of artists, arts graduates and activists. Siôn also co-designed SolidFund (the Worker Coop Solidarity Fund), a resource for worker coop education, co-mentoring, skills development and organisation

Stephanie Gamauf
Stephanie Gamauf is a Community Organiser based in Brixton. Her background is in international development and participatory democracy. In the past she has been involved in community capacity building projects with NGOs and UN programmes in Mexico and Kenya.

 The Centre for Plausible Economies: Kathrin Böhm 
Everybody is exposed to economic forces, but nobody seems to be in control. Responding to this frustration with upbeat pragmatism, the Centre for Plausible Economies brings together artistic action and critical thinking to reclaim the economy. It is as a new platform for mapping and reimagining economic systems, in the arts and beyond. The Centre for Plausible Economies was initiated by Kathrin Böhm and Kuba Szreder and opened on 08 June 2018.

Kathrin Böhm is a London based artist whose collaborative work focuses on the collective (re-)production of public space, trade as public realm and the everyday as a starting point for culture.
Kathrin is a founding member of the international artist group Myvillages (Myv), the artist initiative Keep it Complex – Make it Clear (KIC), art and architecture collective Public Works (pw), and the Centre for Plausible Economies. She set up the Haystacks series in 2013 and arts enterprise Company Drinks in 2014.

Verity-Jane Keefe
Verity-Jane Keefe is a visual artist working predominantly in the public realm to explore the complex relationship between people and place. Her work encompasses working with moving image, text, installation and utilises archival and research methodologies.

She is interested in the role of the artist within urban regeneration and how experiential practice can touch upon and raise ambitions of existing communities.  She has an ongoing, accidental love affair with Outer London and has been working in Barking and Dagenham for over 10 years on self-initiated commissions, including The Mobile Museum, and in partnership with the borough’s Heritage, Planning Policy and Regeneration departments. Her practice celebrates the everyday qualities of places, uncovering and celebrating, documenting, archiving and responding to changes within the built environment and setting up platforms to share experiences of these changes.

Verity-Jane Keefe is currently carrying out a year-long residency with Create London & The White House, taking place across Dagenham’s Becontree Estate through 2019, as part of Living Together.

Lucy Lopez
Lucy Lopez is a curator and writer, currently Curator in Residence at Grand Union, Birmingham and Research Curator at Eastside Projects, Birmingham. She is a PhD candidate at Birmingham School of Art, currently writing up her PhD thesis which looks at practices of care in art institutions. She was previously Curator of Exhibitions and Research at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, where she curated the two-year programme Instituting Otherwise. She holds an MFA in curating from Goldsmiths, University of London, and co-founded the exhibition space and residency programme Jupiter Woods in 2014. Her research focuses on feminisms, care, and instituent practices. Selected projects include: Ways of Learning, Grand Union, 2018 & BALTIC, 2019; Policy Show, Eastside Projects, 2017; Nicoline van Harskamp, Englishes, BAK, 2016; Instituting for the Contemporary, BAK, 2016; Unstated (or Living Without Approval), co-curated with Maria Hlavajova, BAK, 2016. Recently, her writing has been included in Temporary Art ReviewArt and the Public Sphere Journal and in the Publication FORMER WEST, MIT Press.

Susanne Burns
Susanne Burns is a professional senior arts manager, educator, trainer, evaluator and consultant with over 30years experience, primarily in a leadership capacity. Susanne’s particular interests lie in; Change management, organisational development and culture change; Collaborative working between organisations; The development and delivery of research and publication strategies, as well as evaluation.
A former Director of Business Development at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Development Director at FACT, Susanne now works both regionally and nationally carrying out evaluation and research programmes as well as organisational development consultancy.
Susanne is Project Director for ArtWorks, a Paul Hamlyn Foundation special initiative and recently completed a large-scale dance sector mapping research project for Arts Council England and is leading the evaluation of In Harmony Liverpool for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and The White House, Dagenham for Create London.

Part of Living Together, a project by artist Verity-Jane Keefe and Create London celebrating the centenary of Dagenham’s Becontree Estate in 2021. Living Togetheris being developed over 2019 through a year-long residency at The White House.

Part of Mutual Restructure, a programme of research and activity to explore The White House’s structure; interrogating its model, governance systems, decision-making processes, how it operates and cooperates, to move towards a new model of independence.Mutual Restructurewill see us work with our communities to undertake a process of collective learning, to test out and generate a new model that is reflective of our ethos and representative of our community; spanning programme, governance and operation.

In partnership with and hosted by The Centre for Plausible Economies at Company Drinks.

This event is supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

More Information:

 The White House

The White House, was set up in 2016 on Dagenham’s Becontree estate by Create London. We invite artists to live and work in the house, exploring new ways to collaborate with the local community, by becoming their neighbours. We host a public programme led by residents that ranges from poetry to painting to gardening. Our programme acts as a tool to address social, political and culturally relevant issues to our site and community, adopting approaches that challenge traditional hierarchies and aim to democratise decision-making across programming and how we run the house.

The White House is a project currently run by Create London, the building is owned by London borough of Barking and Dagenham.

 Living Together

Living Together is a new project by artist Verity-Jane Keefe in partnership with Create London and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Living Together will develop over 2019, leading to a larger scale programme celebrating the centenary of Dagenham’s Becontree Estate in 2021. It will look at the past 100 years of social housing through the lens of Becontree, once the largest social housing estate in the world; looking at the past, the present and into the future.

 Create London

Create London is an arts organisation dedicated to making long-term projects that are useful to society. We curate, commission and produce work that reimagines the role of the artist in the city, and find new and often surprising ways for art to become part of daily life.

It works with artists to set up new enterprises and organisations in collaboration with local communities. This means working outside of galleries and museums, taking on unlikely sites and establishing new forms of infrastructure for art, past examples of which include a soft play centre; a job brokerage service; a spa; a community-minded art school; a new form of artist housing; and a drinks company.

The Centre for Plausible Economies
Everybody is exposed to economic forces, but nobody seems to be in control. Responding to this frustration with upbeat pragmatism, the Centre for Plausible Economies brings together artistic action and critical thinking to reclaim the economy. It is as a new platform for mapping and reimagining economic systems, in the arts and beyond.

The Centre for Plausible Economies was initiated by Kathrin Böhm and Kuba Szreder and opened on 08 June 2018.