Granby 4 Streets, Assemble & the Turner Prize

Assemble - 1On 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.

'What on earth are they doing out there' I ask?

‘What on earth are they doing out there?’ I ask

Assemble - 3

‘Making concrete things out of the rubble in the skips’ I’m told.

It’s Lewis and Joe from Assemble, with their friend Will Shannon making fireplaces for the Community Land Trust houses. Obviously.

Proudly exhibited to the amused, but quietly impressed community of us, at the first of this year's Street Markets.

Proudly exhibited to the amused, but quietly impressed community of us, at the first of this year’s Street Markets.

The doing of these had been commissioned by FACT here in Liverpool.

And before you know it the Cairns Street back yardworkshop is itself an exhibit in FACT.

And before you know it the Cairns Street backyard workshop is itself an exhibit in FACT.

Including one of the fireplaces.

Including one of the fireplaces.

Then Assemble get nominated for the Turner Prize.

Then Assemble get nominated for the Turner Prize.

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.

But they did.

But they did.

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.

Tgether with explaining themselves to our welcome but many visitors.

Together with explaining themselves to our welcome but many visitors.

So with Liverpool City’s help we got them temporary use of one of the empty shops on the corner of Granby Street.

Which they fitted out very quickly.

Which they fitted out very quickly.

And turned into Granby Workshop.

And turned into Granby Workshop.

Builing a team of local craft workers as well as themselves.

Building a team of local craft workers as well as themselves.

To extend the range of their possibilities.

To extend the range of their possibilities.

And play around with ideas.

And play around with ideas.

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.

And before we knew it mid-September arrived and it was time to start parcelling up the stuff.

Before we knew it mid-September arrived and it was time to start parcelling up the stuff.

Assemble - 16 Assemble - 17

Look like cakes but they're ceiling roses.

Look like cakes but they’re ceiling roses.

The precious and fragile products of Granby.

The precious and fragile products of Granby.

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.

Here we are.

Here we are.

November 2015 at the Tramway in Glasgow.

November 2015 at the Tramway in Glasgow.

Assemble - 22Let’s go in.

Yes, it's the 'inside' of a Granby terraced house.

Yes, it’s the ‘inside’ of a Granby terraced house.

Assemble - 24 Assemble - 25 Assemble - 26

With all of the Granby Workshop products displayed, dramatically.

With all of the Granby Workshop products displayed, dramatically.

A closer look at those Granby door knobs.

A closer look at those Granby door knobs.

Assemble - 29

Tiles too.

Tiles too.

Just like back in the real bathrooms of Granby.

Just like back in the real bathrooms of Granby.

The Granby Workshop catalogue.

The Granby Workshop catalogue.

Containing stories of the place.

Containing stories of the place.

Including some history from me.

Including some history from me.

And the Granby products.

And the Granby products.

The things from here you can buy.

The things from here you can buy.

‘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.

An exhibition made in and from Granby.

An exhibition made in and from Granby.

Granby Rock.

Granby Rock.

Gramby Dreams.

Granby Dreams.

Granby Possibilities.

Granby Possibilities.

Thanks for the pictures Kenn.

Thanks for the pictures Kenn.

Meanwhile back in Granby?

We are raising the real houses from years of emptiness and neglect.

We are raising so many of our real houses from years of emptiness and neglect.

On site with Joe Halligan from Assemble, on the right of the picture, with Joe and Steve from Penny Lane Builders.

On site with Joe Halligan from Assemble, on the right of the picture, with Joe and Steve from Penny Lane Builders.

Week in week out with such care.

Week in week out with such care.

I am so enjoying my part in all of this, on site each week on behalf of the community.

Including the wider community of us that's grown round the Community Land Trust and now Assemble and Granby Workshop.

Including the wider community of us that’s grown round the Community Land Trust and now Assemble and Granby Workshop.

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.

The steady arrival now, of our empty homes becoming new homes for new people.

The steady arrival now, of our empty homes becoming new homes for new people.

We have waited so long.

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!

 

 

3 thoughts on “Granby 4 Streets, Assemble & the Turner Prize

  1. The Accidental Amazon

    Ronnie!! I just got a card from Sarah telling me how you all won the Turner Prize, so here I am reading through your posts about it. Wow!! Well done! I love, love, love it. This is just everything I love — repurposing, reclamation, beautiful craftsmanship, making art that people can actually live with and use, and of course, making people’s lives better. How entirely brilliant. Congratulations! Hugs, love, and much future success to you all. xoxo, Kathi

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thank you Kathi, lovely to hear from you, it’s been too long. Hope all’s well?

      And thanks for the congratulations, first we’ve received from Rhode Island!

      Reply
      1. The Accidental Amazon

        Yes, all is well with me here in Rhode Island. All we ask now is that perhaps we have a kinder, gentler winter than we had during last winter’s snowmageddon. 😉

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s