On winning the Turner Prize

As you may know by now. We've won the Turner Prize.

As you may know by now. We’ve won the Turner Prize.

Sitting here, very early in the morning, too happy to sleep. Remembering yesterday, the day we won the Turner Prize. Knowing this day will be full of talk. Of Assemble and art and community led change. Of dreaming, design, architecture and politics. But here at six in the morning thinking only of one word. One of the most deeply significant words in my life, one of the most deeply significant words in the history of Liverpool, for all the miscellaneous reasons why. The word ‘Granby’.

Thursday 7th December begins like so many days this last special year in Granby, on site.

Thursday 7th December begins like so many days this last special year, in Granby, on site.

To you this might look like some empty houses being restored. To all of us it looks like a party.

To you this might look like some empty houses being restored. To all of us it looks like a party.

I am here as so often these days to meet a journalist.

Welcome Jon Leung from Hong Kong.

Welcome Jon Leung from Hong Kong.

As the morning sun gathers its energy we sit on a wall here in Ducie Street and talk about what is happening here. Of a people who laid their hands on their own place. And guerilla gardened their way into gathering the help and the friendships we needed to re-grow our place.

Briefly then I leave Granby and spend a few hours in town talking with people about possible futures, doing what I do

Here at the waterfront and along in the Baltic.

Here at the waterfront and along in the Baltic.

By the afternoon I’m back in Granby with Tony Mousdale, the City’s Empty Homes Manager.

We have a decision to consider.

We have a decision to consider.

The winds at the weekend haven’t done all of this to an empty shop on the corner of Granby Street and Cairns Street. Years of near abandonment did that. But they have made it worse.

And the property is next to where we re restoring the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust's houses.

And the property is next to where we are restoring the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust’s houses.

So we have decisions to consider.

So we have decisions to consider.

And so much to remember and think about.

And so much to remember and think about.

There will now be decisions for us all to take. But not on this day. As the afternoon light fades I walk back into town and get something to eat.

Then walk through the Christmas lights.

Then walk through the Christmas lights.

The lights of Bold Street.

The lights of Bold Street.

And of Church Street.

And of Church Street.

To the Small Cinema.

To the Small Cinema.

Here in Victoria Street.

Here in Victoria Street.

Where we begin to gather.

Where we begin to gather.

So we can be together when we hear the news.

So we can be together when we hear the news.

The people of Granby.

The people of Granby.

We are here.

We are here.

We are all here.

We are all here.

Except for the few of us who are up in Glasgow.

Except for the few of us who are up in Glasgow.

Then its time to go into the Small Cinema itself.

Then its time to go into the Small Cinema itself.

Tonight transformed into a Big Television tuned to Channel 4.

Lauren Laverne gets it all going.

Lauren Laverne gets it all going.

Erika and Ann are smiling and laughing but we re all anxious.

Erika and Ann are smiling and laughing but we’re all anxious.

cheering like children though.

Cheering like children though.

Every time an imge of Granby appears on the screen.

Every time an imge of Granby appears on the screen.

The candidates are discussed.

The candidates are discussed.

And like so often in these past few days the opinion is expressed that what Assemble and all of us have done is ‘beautiful, but it’s not art’.

We strain our eyes to see Hazel and Joe and Tracey there in Glasgow.

We strain our eyes to see Hazel and Joe and Tracey there in Glasgow.

Then the moment arrives.

Then the moment arrives.

And 'Yes!!!'

And ‘Yes!!!’

We have won...

We have won…

The Turner Prize.

The Turner Prize.

And our moment is here.

And our moment is here.

We wrap our arms around each other. We laugh, we smile and we cry all at once.

And I put my camera away and hold onto my friends.

Up in Glasgow and across the world Assemble are on the stage.

Up in Glasgow and across the world Assemble are on the stage.

'Look, there's our Joe'

‘Look, there’s our Joe, and Lewis and Fran and everyone…’

And afterwords we all talk about our Hazel and what she had to say about all this.

And afterwords we all talk about our Hazel and what she had to say about all this.

“It’s recognising the politics in art, it’s recognising the humanity in art. It’s not this piece of work of art that goes into some rich person’s warehouse, this is something that you live with. And it’s art for the people. And if art isn’t about people and humanity, then what is it about?”

Yes Hazel. And now we've won the Turner Prize.

Yes Hazel. And now we’ve won the Turner Prize.

And now it’s the morning after. The sky is beginning to brighten and I’m ready for a day in Granby. A day like no other.

A day of quiet celebration and interviews with the whole team of us.

Here Theresa McDermott of the Community Land Trust talks with BBC North West.

Here Theresa McDermott of the Community Land Trust talks with BBC North West.

And Councillor Ann O'Byrne talks with Granada Reports.

And Councillor Ann O’Byrne, the Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and our dear friend talks with Granada Reports.

We also made the headline on the cover of the Liverpool Echo.

Streets ahead.

DSC09050

And the main story inside.

A very, very good day for us all and for Liverpool then.

Thanks to Liverpool City Council, Steinbeck Studio, the Nationwide Foundation, Power To Change, Liverpool Mutual Homes, Plus Dane, Terrace 21, Assemble, Granby Workshop and everyone who has helped in this huge, many years long example of love and co-operation. We all did this.

.

18 thoughts on “On winning the Turner Prize

  1. Pingback: But is it Art? | Steer for the deep waters only

  2. robertday154

    My other half, who is an artist, has long been critical of the sort of people who win the Turner Prize, because she’s done proper, representational stuff for many years. (Not to say that her art is at all reactionary; she lectures in digital media, for a start off…) But this has to be the best thing to happen for years, both for Granby and for British culture generally. Hazel’s quote in your posting puts it perfectly. I see Assemble’s approach as going back to the roots of the Arts & Crafts movement – William Morris would be proud!

    I’ve done a post of my own on the subject, mainly to help spread the word and direct people to your own account of the night and the way you’ve followed the project from its earliest days. Hope that’s OK.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thank you Jan and lovely to hear from you. Can do us nothing but good for what we want to go on and do after the continuing houses. Which will be all about the empty shops, local employment and engaging our growing community in what we’re doing x

      Reply
  3. Nev

    Well done to all involved – a fine example of what’s possible in communities. Maybe now we’ll rethink the crazy policy of tinning up perfectly good houses when there are so many in need of a home!

    Reply
  4. Matthew Bartle

    Have just read article on Granby in Gardens Illustrated and am very impressed by your achievement. Congratulations from Worthing, Sussex!

    Reply
  5. Pingback: And the 2015 Turner Prize goes to… community art | A Restless Art

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks for your warm congratulations and revealing the depth of your knee-jerk prejudice on this one Nick. There may yet be more and every pound is welcome but the ‘taxpayers’ have so far contributed a mere 3.7% to the Community Land Trust houses involved in the Turner Prize.

      Reply
  6. Will

    Well done Ronnie and Granby, you should be incredibly proud of what you have achieved. Working for a large Housing Association I would love to see more of our sector work with communities and others to develop similar grass root approaches. Would be interesting to hear about what wider role Dane Plus Group played as a local partner… All the best

    Reply

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