In Documentary, Family Bonding, Home, Memory-keeping
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In 2018 I went to Stromboli to teach a photography workshop. Ville came along too, and for the first time in years we had a little pocket of time away together. We climbed the volcano and on the way down talked about what we’d like to change. We wanted to put community and creativity at the very centre of our lives in a way that welcomed new friendships and ideas. The day we arrived back in the UK I saw this:

Arts charity Create London is today inviting applications for UK-based artists wanting to take up residence in A House for Artists. Announced last year, the project is a new, affordable block of 12 apartments in Barking Town Centre, in partnership with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s Be First, with support from the Mayor of London.  It will house 12 artists and their families, provide studio workspaces, a shared courtyard, and be home to a community hall on the ground floor. The community hall will be programmed and staffed by the resident artists as part of a new kind of active tenancy designed specifically for the building.”

The deadline was 48 hours away and lifted by our view from the summit we sat together and prepared an application.

It felt like we held our breath for a long time, staying hopeful through inteviews and then delays in building. Covid, Brexit. And then the building began to rise.

This was taken the first time we stood in the space our lives were about to play out in:

On the 14th of February 2022 we became the first people to move into A House for Artists.

After so many precarious and exhausting years it’s a joy to be held by this building. It’s a home purposefully designed to lift us, to let the light flood in, to bring people together. A canvas for our hopes.

For a year now I have found daily happiness in watching how the light travels across our balcony and through our rooms.

I am looking forward to the many conversations I will have in and about this building. I am so grateful for the new friendships it has brought me and look forward to sharing it’s welcome.

Pop in for tea! Julia x


  1. This is such a magical space! And such gorgeous images too although I particularly love the one of your girl skipping through the door. Can’t wait to see more. x

  2. This is such an amazing space and seeing how much you love and appreciate the light and space there, I kind of feel it waited patiently to find you, rather than the other way around.

    PA. Someday I will drop in for tea! xo

  3. Wow! This is incredible. Such a wonderful idea and it’s great that you and your family can partake of the community there. Looking forward to seeing more of what comes out of this environment!

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