On Monday 7th December the winner of this year’s Turner Prize was announced at the Tramway in Glasgow and live on Channel 4. And it was Granby 4 Street’s architects Assemble for the quality of the work they’ve been doing in Liverpool 8 with all of us. Some of us were in Glasgow with Assemble and the rest of us gathered all together in Liverpool to continue the surreal journey of this year.
The story of us getting the result is told elsewhere and as for what we do next? Well let’s wait and see when we all return from our Christmas break. In the meantime, let’s look back at how we got from Granby to Glasgow and the Turner Prize.
Our story begins years ago of course, but let’s start this version in April this year as one day I arrive at our site house in Cairns Street L8 to find the tiny yard there turned into some kind of workshop.
It’s Lewis and Joe from Assemble, with their friend Will Shannon making fireplaces for the Community Land Trust houses. Obviously.
The doing of these had been commissioned by FACT here in Liverpool.
Which comes as big and, frankly, surreal news to us. We’d always thought of ourselves as a little bit arty and had been delighted with the way Assemble had so enthusiastically joined in with our ‘let’s do it right now and right here’ attitude. But we’d never thought of ourselves as the sort of art the art world itself might take seriously.
And so then did the wider world of well, everywhere else.
Though we were right in the middle of doing up all of our houses with Liverpool City and all of our partners and funders, the spring and summer saw us having conversations that would have seemed like play acting a couple of months earlier:
“If you can be here early for the BBC, I’ll meet the New York Times later. And can anyone be around for filming tomorrow and the French news agency?”
Meanwhile Assemble now had an exhibition to prepare as well as continuing work as our architects.
So with Liverpool City’s help we got them temporary use of one of the empty shops on the corner of Granby Street.
In fact the abiding memory of this summer for us all in Granby is going to be the sense of play and adventure the Granby Workshop and the coming exhibition brought to the place. Hard work continued for us all of course, but the colour and exuberance of what was happening down on the corner was never less than joyous.
One evening at the end of September the Turner Exhibition opened in Glasgow. And as you’d expect a ‘charra’ left from here so the people of Granby would actually be there.
But I couldn’t make it on the bus that day, which is why no photos of the exhibition have yet appeared on this blog. I’ve always ‘meant to’ go up for the day and see the exhibition. But as with most ‘meant to’ sort of things it simply never happened.
So I was delighted when a friend, journalist Kenn Taylor, said he’d be in Glasgow and intended to go and have a look, saying he’d take some photos. Which he did.
So let’s take a look at Assemble’s Turner Exhibition display, courtesy of Kenn Taylor.
‘Granby Workshop’ having been set up as a social enterprise to see if our place and its people can generate some of its own future prosperity from the fact that in 2015 we were right here and right now in the Turner Exhibition.
Meanwhile back in Granby?
I am so enjoying my part in all of this, on site each week on behalf of the community.
And obviously we wanted to win the Turner Prize when it was announced on 7th December. We wished the other three nominees well, of course. But we so wanted to add this prize to the great prize we already have.
So well done Fran, Lewis, Joe and all the rest of you from Assemble and the Granby Workshop for winning the Turner Prize on behalf of the Granby community and, in fact, the whole of Liverpool.
And as this surreal year comes to an end, big thanks to everyone who has helped: Liverpool City Council; Plus Dane and Liverpool Mutual Homes; Steinbeck Studios; Terrace 21 Co-op; Nationwide Foundation; Power To Change; National CLT Network; Academy of Urbanism and everyone involved on site and on the 4 Streets CLT board working on the houses, raising the money, running the Street Markets. Well done all!