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Local community to help design art for trackside wall in Newham

Local community to help design art for trackside wall in Newham

The community of Newham is working with a local artist to design an artwork that will be installed on the Elizabeth line trackside wall that runs through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich.


Artist Sonia Boyce is working with the community to create an artwork that will be applied to the Elizabeth line trackside wall, running through Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich.

Sonia has a close relationship to the area. She grew up in Canning Town, studied in Plaistow, and taught at University of East London. She would often visit her mother who worked in Custom House.
Sonia is creating a unique artwork for Newham and we want to hear about your experiences of living and working in Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich. There is the intention that the artwork Sonia creates will reflect the many stories from the area.

Since October, Sonia has been running workshops training local young people from Shipman Youth Centre, Fight for Peace and ASTA Community Hub to record and archive oral history interviews. These young people have begun interviewing the local community and the results will become material for Sonia’s artwork.

Sonia is now hosting the questions online and printed questionnaires have been left in hubs around Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich inviting you to send in your stories about the area.

The final design for the artwork is expected to be unveiled in Summer and will be installed before the opening of the Elizabeth line in December 2018.

Community Engagement: Newham Stories

You can send in your story about living and/ or working in Custom House, Silvertown and North Woolwich either online or by dropping it off at our community hubs:

  1. Online: visit and answer the questions online.
  2. In person: Hubs in the three areas have been set-up so that you can leave your story in person. The hubs are at the following centres:

Custom House

  • Shipman Youth Centre, 340 Prince Regent Lane, E16 3JH, 020 7511 2197
  • The Community Garden Café, 7 Cundy Rd, E16 3DJN, 020 7511 1755
  • Custom House Library, Prince Regent Lane, E16 3JJ, 020 3373 0855


  • ASTA Community Hub, 14a Camel Rd, E16 2DE,
  • The Royal British Legion, 14 Constance St, E16 2DQ, 020 7511 4727

North Woolwich

The online form and community hubs will be live until Saturday 31st March 2018. We are trying to collect as many stories as possible, so please do share the link or pass on a questionnaire to friends, colleagues or family who might have a story to tell. 

By completing and returning the questionnaire you agree to provide consent and license to Sonia Boyce for the information shared.

Look out for posters, flyers and project updates so that you can stay up-to-date with how the artwork progresses.

If you experience any problems submitting your Newham Stories please contact:


Over her 30-year career Sonia Boyce has emerged as one of the leading figures in the British art scene.

Her work began with drawings that reflect her personal experiences to more recent works in which she uses diverse media such as photography, video, sound and testimonies to depict contemporary life.

Boyce's recent interests explore art as a social practice and the critical and contextual debates that arise from this area of study. With an emphasis on collaborative work, she has been working closely with other people since 1990, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions on the part of her collaborators.

After gaining recognition in the 1980s as part of the Black British Artists Movement, Sonia’s practice has evolved to become more collaborate and site specific, integrating all mediums including film, performance, photography and installation.

In 2007, she was awarded an MBE for services to Art, and in 2016 she became a Royal Academician. She has exhibited at the ICA London, Eastside Projects in Birmingham, and the 2015 Venice Biennale. Last year Sonia won the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.

The Newham Commission will be Sonia Boyce’s first permanent public art commission in the UK.