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‘A Local Dialogue’ is a platform for the work artist Sadia Ur-Rehman does with people and communities. Conceived in late 2010, A Local Dialogue is an experimental approach to working with words and language for a project that inspires residents of particular local areas to explore their locality. Creating a space for discussion and conversation, A Local Dialogue enables people to explore their relationships to their neighbourhood/ local area through the exploration of identity and place.

The project at the Marks Gate Estate in Barking & Dagenham in 2014 was originally part of the Neighbourhood Commissions strand of the Arts Council funded programme ‘Creative Barking & Dagenham’. The commission placed artists at the heart of communities in the borough, engaging with people and place on an intimate level over a period of 6 months and with a depth of focus, responding to local priorities and testing out different models of co-creation. Sadia worked closely with the communities of Marks Gate from May till October 2014 to create art in their neighbourhood, instigated by the people living there; the project aims to challenge preconceptions about where art takes place and who it’s by, and for.

In April 2015, Sadia was back on Marks Gate and launched the Creative Cafe on Marks Gate, a pop-up cafe, gallery and creative workspace after spending a month transforming a space within the Marks Gate Community Centre with local residents. The Cafe will be open on Tuesdays and Fridays from April till May at 9.30am – 4pm, then on Tuesdays from June till the end of August with a new free creative workshop on each day. We’ve got a fantastic creative programme of pop-up events, activities and workshops including a great selection of visiting artists hosting ‘takeover days’ once a month. All Creative Cafe events are listed here.

If you would like to get involved in the project, please contact us at