Katie Schwab & Ed Emery
During her residency at The White House, Katie Schwab has been exploring overlooked histories of industrial, domestic and material culture in Dagenham.
In April 2019 Katie Schwab and her father Ed Emery began a period of research at The White House, marking the first collaboration 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.
Starting with Ed Emery’s archive of Ford activism in the 1970s, exploring its gaps in relation to gender and the home, Katie’s research expanded into a study of the costumes designed by Hardy Amies*, former White House resident and fashion designer, for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In this film, many scenes of women and children in Amies’ costumes have been cut from the final version. Looking at these absences of representation both within the film and archives, Katie has been looking at ways to revisit, and make visible, local forms of domestic, industrial and productive labour.
With a particular interest in offcuts, handicrafts and creative learning, Katie has been meeting with local residents and organisations to explore workwear designs, items made from by-products of industry and creative study provisions for children and adults in the area.
Katie’s projects evolve through explorations of personal, social, and craft-based histories, often drawing from marginalised and overlooked traditions of living, making and working collectively. Projects often develop through embedded research and workshops in arts, learning and community contexts.
Research will continue throughout 2019 with production beginning in early 2020. Katie will return to The White House in October 2019.
*Hardy Amies spent his childhood in Dagenham, living in The White House, while his father was overseeing the building of the Becontree Estate. Amies went onto to become a world famous fashion designer, best known for his official title as dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II.
About 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.
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.
About Ed Emery
Ed Emery’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.