Offsite 2019 - 2021

How do we use our voice and bodies to find resistance and resilience in our lives?

Helen Cammock’s project presents intersectional dialogues that look at individual and collective power, asking us to consider where we sit within the social and political spaces we inhabit. Based on ideas of resistance and resilience in everyday life, Helen invites those that work in adult social care and youth offending teams, as well as people that use those services, to collaborate on a conversation that focuses on how we survive, endure, overcome, fight back and reach possible resolutions. Throughout the process the groups will explore how we use both our voice and bodies to find resistance and resilience to navigate our lives, ultimately, asking how we support ourselves.

Radio Ballads

To mark the anniversary of the 1970 Equal Pay Act and the momentum for change created by the Dagenham Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968, Serpentine Galleries and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham are partnering to develop a series of collaborative artist residencies and commissions that will examine the future and histories of work, called Radio Ballads.

The original Radio Ballads were produced by musicians Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, working with radio producer Charlie Parker to make a series for the BBC, focusing on workers’ experiences and issues. The original series of eight one-hour Radio Ballads revolutionised radio documentary and were broadcast by the BBC from 1957–64. A combination of song, music, sound effect and recorded voice, each Radio Ballad presented a view on the working lives of British people.

The Radio Ballad‘s commissions will be shared publicly in London in the summer 2021. More information about these artworks and events will be shared as the projects unfold.

The commissioned artists: Sonia Boyce, Helen Cammock, Rory Pilgrim and Ilona Sagar.

Helen Cammock

Helen Cammock works across moving image, photography, writing, poetry, spoken word, song, performance, printmaking, and installation. Her work looks at the interspace between the personal, political and poetic. She seeks to interrupt and give new meaning to historical narratives, specifically around blackness, womanhood, power, wealth and poverty through the interplay between different voices and narratives.

Cammock was the joint winner of the Turner Prize 2019 and for her exhibition The Long Note. She was winner of the 7th Max Mara Art Prize for Women, 2017/18. Her subsequent exhibition, Che Si Può Fare  (What Can Be Done) premiered at Whitechapel Gallery, London and Collezione Maramotti, Italy, 2019.   Her film They Call It Idelwild, 2020 commissioned by Wysing is currently on show at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria. Her new film Concrete Feather and Porcelain Tacks, has been commissioned with Film and Video Umbrella, London; Touchstones Museum, Rochdale, and The Photographers Gallery, London and will be exhibited in solo exhibitions at The Photographers Gallery and Rochdale Museum in in 2021. The Long Note premiered at VOID, Derry, Northern Ireland; and showed at The  Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2019. Other solo exhibitions include The Sound of Words,  Reading Museum, UK (2019) and Shouting In Whispers, Cubitt, London (2017). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at; Somerset House, Hollybush Gardens, London and FirstSite, Colchester, Hamburg Kunsthalle, Germany Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria and she has staged performances at The Showroom, Whitechapel Gallery and the ICA in London.

New Town Culture

Radio Ballads is part of New Town Culture – a pioneering programme of artistic and cultural activity taking place in adult and children’s social care across the entire borough. This is a Cultural Impact Award winning project, part of London Borough of Culture, a Mayor of London initiative. New Town Culture responds to the incredible stories, knowledge and skills of the residents of Barking and Dagenham, delivering a programme of workshops, exhibitions, radio broadcasts, live performances and courses targeted at people using social care services in our borough. Working closely with social care professionals and artists, the project hopes to unlock the value of art and culture for all our communities. Its ambition is to support social workers and carers to try out new ways of working to enhance the brilliant work they already do.


Discover 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architecture pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas marathon and the General Ecology programme, explore 50 years of artists, projects and exhibitions.

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