An architecture tutor from The University of Nottingham is part of the design collective, Assemble, which has just won the Turner Prize 2015, Britain’s top contemporary art award.
Joseph Halligan, a part-time undergraduate studio tutor in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, is also a member of the London-based art and architecture group, Assemble.
Assemble are the first non-artists to scoop the £25,000 prize for their renovation of derelict houses that were due for demolition in Liverpool.
The 18-strong collective, many of whom studied architecture at university, have developed imaginative designs for the interiors of 10 run-down terraced houses on Cairns Road, Toxteth. The winning project aimed to support local residents in their work to rebuild their neighbourhood with a grassroots approach and a social conscience, using art to engage residents in ways to improve homes and lives.
They have created mantelpieces using rubble from the streets; ceramic door handles fired in barbeques fuelled by old sawdust; hand-decorated tiles and terracotta lamps.
For the Turner Prize exhibition show, Assemble created a pop-up showroom and shop at the Tramway arts venue in Glasgow, selling such handmade products from demolition waste.
These artisan wares are made by local residents, trained and employed by Assemble in a social enterprise, which aims rebuild one of Liverpool’s most neglected neighbourhoods. Their handmade products for the hom now sell online too.
Halligan, who has worked at the University for more than a year, is part of a large body of part-time staff in the Department, bringing with them a broad range of architectural and design approaches and backgrounds.
Teaching architecture, says Halligan, is a wonderful way of exploring ideas.
“The students at Nottingham are intelligent and the dialogues we have are stimulating and that is the reason I teach here.”
Commenting on the Turner Prize win, Halligan added: “It’s been fantastic for the project we are working on in Liverpool 8 with the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust. The nomination alone has allowed us to start something, Granby Workshop, which would never have been possible previously. The fact we’ve won is just brilliant.”
Dr Robin Wilson, Head of the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, said: “We are delighted with Assemble’s Turner Prize success and very happy for Joe. Their approach underlines the diverse contribution architecture has to play in shaping culture and society.
“We are very lucky to have Joe amongst our talented team of designers, supporting and inspiring the next generation of architects.”
Assemble were announced winners of the 31st Turner Prize, from a shortlist of four, at a ceremony broadcast live on Channel 4, in Glasgow, Scotland.They were presented with their coveted accolade by Sonic Youth co-founder and artist, Kim Gordon.
The Turner Prize, set up in 1984, is presented annually to a British Artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentations of their work in the previous 12 months.
Previous winners include Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry and Antony Gormley.