Assemble's work in Granby is part of an on-going collaboration with a group of residents who took control of their neighbourhood following years of managed decline and failed regeneration schemes. They reclaimed their streets through collective action and an accumulation of small-scale creative acts that extended from their homes into public space.
Assemble started working with this group in 2012, supporting their bid to take control of the empty houses on their streets and use them to drive further change. Our work there spans a range of projects and roles, acting variously as designers, builders, artists and organisers. It is difficult to say where authorship begins and ends – it’s an on-going process that we are part of, alongside many others.
In Granby, a culture of creativity is embedded in everyday life and has been used by residents to bring about remarkable change. In response to the Turner Prize nomination, we set up Granby Workshop to support and develop this culture, giving it new generative possibilities and a long-term home. The workshop uses the process of rebuilding the houses to contribute directly to rebuilding the social and economic infrastructure of the area. Granby Workshop is a place where things are learnt through making; as well as physical craft, it is a space for social, imaginative and political making.
Work is on-going in Granby. More homes are currently underway, the empty shells of two houses will be turned into a community winter garden and residency space and new uses are being developed for Granby Street. Collectively, we hope these projects help offer a different way of seeing our environment where instead of seeming fixed, opaque or unquestionable, the city reveals itself as something authored and made, and something malleable, contingent and full of possibility.
Objects made in Granby Workshop are now for sale, and profits from the sales will be used to kick-start the long-term life of the project.
“Assemble are the only ones who have ever sat and listened to the residents, and then translated their vision into drawings and models, and now into reality. They realised their ideas for the houses in a way which is practical, which can be done on the streets which can be done by the community, can be done in a small space, and which can produce something beautiful” Erika Rushton, Chair of Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust.
“Houses were tinned up in a particular way, which said, this house, this street, this whole area and actually all the people who live here are dispensable, written off. So we started painting, planting, filling voids and cleaning up, there is something really powerful about physically changing your environment”
Eleanor Lee, Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust.
“We are interested in how people can take ownership of public space, how they can understand how things are put together, through learning through making. The CLT were already doing that, and we just brought our skills and ideas into the wider effort” Fran Edgerley, Assemble
Quotes on Winning the Turner Prize Assemble were notified of their nomination for the Turner Prize in the early Summer of 2015, and were very surprised by the nomination. Please see below for quotes on the award.
“The nomination allowed us to start a new project in Granby where we have had the absolute privilege of working alongside residents over the last three years. We have started a new project, Granby Workshop, which we hope will last for a very, very, very long time. Thank you. We are very, very grateful” Joe Halligan, Assemble
“It is especially meaningful for us to receive this award here in Glasgow, where we have been working with the children and families of Dalmarnock on Baltic Street Adventure Playground for the last three years” Alice Edgerley, Assemble
“Its really fantastic to have something which we can share with everyone we have worked with over the last five years” Lewis Jones, Assemble
“There is a strong idea in our society that creativity is for the gifted few, and everyone else inevitably has to just live with and in the culture that the gifted few make. We don't believe that, and our being here is a hopeful sign that there is a wider shift” Anthony Engi-Meacock, Assemble