DIY: Turner Prize Winners Assemble Explore The Art Of Making In Norwich


The groundbreaking exhibition Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing at Norwich Castle Museum, which includes this year’s Turner Prize winners Assemble, provides a fascinating insight into today’s making revolution and features four newly commissioned works. Also included is Homework by Will Shannon.

Whilst commissioned as part of Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing, Homework has been an integral part of the ongoing work currently taking place in Granby, Liverpool, for which Assemble were nominated for the Turner Prize. Indeed, Shannon’s proposition to turn one of the houses in Granby Street into a domestic workshop to produce furnishings for the neighbouring homes, is the very idea developed by Assemble into The Granby Workshops, showcased as part of this year’s Turner Prize. It was the genesis of Shannon’s ideas and the result of his collaboration with Assemble and the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, which saw a domestic factory produce bespoke and beautiful fireplaces made from building rubble, which can all be seen in the exhibition at Norwich Castle. 

Turner Prize Judge Alistair Hudson said Assemble were “part of a long tradition of art working in society”. 

Shannon and Assemble highlight the potential for us all to work with our neighbours and communities and utilise our domestic environments to change our living conditions, themes, which are also explored in the Build Your Own exhibition through the work of Rachel Rayns with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Linda Brothwell and Norwich Hackspace with DoESLiverpool. 

Norwich Castle Curator Hannah Higham said: “Build Your Own is about sharing ideas and celebrating making, using both old and new tools. In combination, they can be used to solve problems and establish new creative processes. This is clearly demonstrated by Will Shannon and Assemble’s Homework, together with the other featured artists.” 

Co-produced by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and the Crafts Council, in collaboration with Norfolk Museums Service, the exhibition is jointly curated by two highly regarded curators, cultural programme director Lauren Parker, together with Clare Cumberlidge, from Thirteen Ways, a creative communications company. Build Your Own is a must see exhibition for everyone interested in the common ground shared between craft, technology and community and how it affects us all. 

The exhibition, Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing also sets the scene for British Art Show 8 (, which opens in Norwich at both Norwich Castle Museum and Norwich University of The Arts on June 24 and runs until September 4, 2016. 

Similar themes are shared between the two exhibitions namely the exploration of the real and the virtual, contemporary artists pre-occupations with disappearing traditions and skills, objects being used as vehicles for narrative, and collaboration and co-production as a means of exploring and enhancing creative potential. 

The Granby Four Streets are a cluster of terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool that were built around 1900 to house artisan workers. Following the Toxteth riots in 1981, the council acquired many of the houses in the area for demolition and redevelopment.  Hundreds of people were moved out the area and houses subsequently fell into disrepair.

Local residents consistently fought plans for demolition and battled to save the houses. Over the past 10 years they have cleaned and planted their streets, painted the empty houses, organized a thriving monthly market, founded a Community Land Trust and shown their area in a different light.

Assemble worked with the Granby Four Streets CLT and Steinbeck Studios to present a sustainable and incremental vision for the area that builds on the hard work already done by local residents and translates it to the refurbishment of housing, public space and the provision of new work and enterprise opportunities.

The approach is characterised by celebrating the value of the area’s architectural and cultural heritage, supporting public involvement and partnership working, offering local training and employment opportunities and nurturing the resourcefulness and DIY spirit that defines the four streets.

Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing at Norwich Castle Museum ends on January 3,

Photo:  Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery until January 3, 2016. © David Kirkham.


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