Tea Party on the Marks Gate estate

Last month, as part of the project ‘A Local Dialogue’ in which our artist and tea hostess Sadia Ur-Rehman has been commissioned to work with local residents on the Marks Gate estate in Barking & Dagenham, we were busy delivering a series of pop-up events and activities to engage people on the estate. We’ve been using our tea parties as a way to do this, providing a safe, creative space for people to meet, share and explore their local area. On the 27th May we had a wonderful time hosting a ‘Marks Gate’ inspired tea party at the Marks Gate Community Centre. The tea party was an opportunity for us to meet local people and hear their stories and experiences of the place that Marks Gate is today.

Alongside the tea party we had also organised a series of activities including our ‘Art is…..’ display, asking people to add their thoughts to what art was to them, it was interesting and insightful reading the responses to this extremely  important question! One guest wrote ‘Art is the Best’, well were definitely inclined to agree with this! We also captured people’s memories of the estate using a specially designed ‘Marks Gate Memories’ board, asking people to fill a memory tag with their memory and pin it to the Marks Gate Map. Last but not least, Sadia brought along the ‘Marks Gate Bunting’, a community bunting project in which people have the opportunity to design and make their own flag to add to the growing bunting. All of this whilst having tea and cake!

It was a lovely afternoon with some lovely conversations whilst creative juices were flowing. We were absolutely chuffed when local resident Pat Cambridge came in and donated 4 trios of tea cups, saucers and side plates. The trios originally belonged to her grandmother and are absolutely beautiful. Pat filled out a memory tag with us and we found out that she has lived on the estate for 58 years, that’s even before it was officially the Marks Gate estate in 1960! Here’s some photos from the day:

Photo credits: Connie Taylor Photography

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