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.
Since we opened our doors to the public, we have accumulated mugs, books, paintings, houseplants, tea towels, and people. The White House has been home to seven artists in residence and has hosted art classes, planting workshops, history talks, film nights, community dinners and the occasional party. The artists that have spent time with the community here and called The White House home have produced artworks as varied and intriguing as the ideas and groups that
informed them. We took over the old Civic Centre with a socialist pantomime, we screened a mockumentary film at Eastbury Manor House, we imagined beginning a new community trapped in the confines of the council chambers at Barking Town Hall and we had mothers perform a site-specific theatre piece throughout the house itself. So far we have learnt that much of the domestic is inextricably linked to the civic, and to do all of this you need a lot of tea.
Alongside the artist residencies, the house hosts an ongoing Front Room Programme, which includes coffee mornings, arts & craft classes, and a poetry group facilitated by local artists. The Front Room Programme has been designed with the people that come to the house, and we are always open to suggestions.
We have the house for 25 years, come and join us in shaping what that will look like.
If you have an idea for a workshop, or are a local artist who wishes to become a resident, please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you.