The White House, a pioneering public space for art and social activity on the Becontree Estate in Dagenham, today announces its most ambitious Spring programme to date. As it continues to establish itself as a leading space for socially engaged artists to explore new ways of collaborating with suburban, predominantly working class communities, it welcomes a new cohort of artists in residence whilst continuing its busy Front Room Programme, curated for and by local residents.
In a major first for The White House, it will partner with the Serpentine Galleries and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham on Radio Ballads, which marks the anniversary of the 1970 Equal Pay Act and the momentum for change created by the Dagenham Ford sewing machinists Strike of 1968. The White House will support artist Rory Pilgrim’s residency, whose work is centred on emancipatory concerns, and aims to challenge the very nature of how we come together, speak, listen and strive for social change. This forms part of New Town Culture, a project that explores links between art and social care services, supported by the Mayor of London.
The White House welcomes Katie Schwab, who for the first time will collaborate with her father Ed Emery. They begin a one-month research residency this May, and develop a major project throughout the year, incorporating conversations, workshops and archival research to explore their shared interested in production, labour and family. Ed Emery has been documenting labour struggles in the motor industry since the early 1970s, and has an extensive archive which will be the starting point of the residency. Katie’s practice interweaves personal, social, and craft-based histories, often drawing from traditions of living, making and working collectively, exploring ways in which manual and social forms of production can develop within shared spaces.
International artist Wednesday Kim will carry out a one-month residency at The White House in May-June in partnership with Procreate Project & the Mothers Art Prize. Kim is a multimedia artist whose work combines video, performance, installation, and sculpture. She hopes to connect with other artists and families who live and work in Barking & Dagenham to produce green screen performances and a new video work based on experiences and stories of birth and motherhood.
Verity-Jane Keefe, an artist who has worked in Barking and Dagenham for over ten years, will begin a year-long residency across the Becontree Estate through 2019 in partnership with Create London and The White House. Verity’s residency will produce a series of new artworks in collaboration with residents that will lead into a larger scale programme for 2021 to celebrate the Becontree Centenary, marking 100 years since building began on what was once the largest social housing estate in the world.
The White House also launches two new opportunities this spring to support creative development for artists based in and around Barking & Dagenham as part of its new Make Room programme. Make Roomis a new creative development programme designed to make room for new voices and ideas in its programme, supporting under-represented groups to have agency within the arts and their communities.
A finally, bringing a busy Spring programme to a close will be the completion of The White House’s community garden, Beacon Garden, which artist collective They Are Here has been working on with local residents since 2017, launching on 21 June for the Summer solstice. Formerly a car park, it is being transformed into a community garden that provides a ‘residency’ space for multiple species, mirroring The White House as a residency site for artists.
The White House was opened in 2016 following a renovation led by Create London and architects Apparata, who worked with London Borough of Barking and Dagenham council to turn the unused former farm house which designer Hardy Amies once called home, into a space that would be shaped by and for the Becontree community.
Over the last 3 years it has developed a reputation as being a place where international, national and local artists and residents meet and work together, a place for socially engaged artist residencies to explore new ways of working in communities, and somewhere for community to come and meet their neighbours – who just happen to be artists. Alongside a busy residency schedule, The White House offers weekly Front Room Programme with and for local residents, including poetry, arts and crafts, social events and co-working.
The White House is supported by London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and City Bridge Trust.