Granby Street in Liverpool was once a thriving community. But the partial demolition of many homes saw the former hub disperse, with abandoned houses falling into disrepair. Over twenty years later, the determined creativity of remaining residents is finally coming to fruition with Granby Workshop.
The dedicated group has established the Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust (CLT), aiming to transform ten homes into affordable housing. But their efforts go further than creating a space to live, they are concerned with connecting people to each other – and to their creativity.
Their social enterprise, Granby Workshop, manufactures handmade homeware using materials recycled from the demolitions. The products are designed for use in the refurbished Granby homes and are also for sale through a pre-order system on their website. The employees are local, having been trained in the experimental manufacturing processes used by the workshop. The profits they make will support a practical, creative program designed to engage young people aged 13-18.
“Granby residents have a long history of working creatively in their streets, but over recent decades this action has tended to predominately be initiated by older generations. We aim to encourage a new generation to participate.”
The workshop plays host to many techniques and practices, producing ceramics, textiles, plaster work and furniture, as well as a whole list of new opportunities for this once again thriving community.
The products of Granby Workshop received acclaim in the showroom built for them by the creative collective Assemble. The group is dedicated to addressing “the typical disconnection between the public and the process by which places are made” including art, architecture and design. A creative controversy followed the nomination of Assemble for the Turner Prize, but the vote was won with the argument that the workshop produces art for the people.
“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?” asked Hazel Tilley, CLT board member and Granby resident of 25 years.
All images © Granby Workshop unless otherwise noted.
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