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UEL architecture staff nominated for Turner Prize

students in class

An architecture collective involving academic staff at the University of East London has been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to win Britain’s most prestigious visual arts award – the 2015 Turner Prize.

Four UEL architecture lecturers - Adam Willis, Lewis Jones, Paloma Strelitz and James Binning – are part of an 18-strong collective, ‘Assemble’, which is one of four nominees for the famous prize.

The group, which is based in Stratford, east London, has been shortlisted for its exciting work in transforming part of a run-down housing estate, Granby Four Streets, in Toxteth, Liverpool.

Professor Hassan Abdalla, Dean of UEL’s School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, said: “This is impressive news for UEL and testimony to the great talents of our students and staff.

“Our ethos is to apply theory to practice through engagement in live flagship projects. I am delighted and thrilled with this news.”

Working with a local community group, Assemble has reclaimed a number of empty homes which it is renovating using low-cost materials with the help of local apprentices to be sold or rented at rates pegged to local incomes.

Residents had previously fought plans to demolish parts of the estate and engaged Assemble to make the area “a place people actually want to live in”.

Under the supervision of the four UEL lecturers, students at the University were involved in research on the Little Klondyke estate in nearby Bootle in 2014 which came up with proposals for re-using empty terraces – a precursor of the Granby Four Streets project.

Assemble has been shortlisted along with artists Bonnie Camplin, Nicole Wermers and Janice Kerbel. Bookmakers William Hill have already made Assemble favourites to take the £25,000 first prize when the winner is announced in Glasgow in December.

If Assemble is successful, it will be a second Turner Prize for UEL’s academic team. Professor Grenville Davey, course leader of the University’s MA Fine Art degree, triumphed in 1992 for his steel sculpture, HAL.

The Turner Prize is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious visual arts awards in Europe. Previous winners include Damien Hurst, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry.

Carl Callaghan, UEL’s head of Architecture, paid tribute to the four UEL staff members who helped secure the Assemble nomination.

“They are part of an exceptionally talented staff group working in UEL Architecture and Design,” he said.

“Their work at UEL in 2014 on the Little Klondyke estate in Liverpool is part of the research that underpins the Turner Prize nomination.

“Under their direction, their students surveyed and made proposals to act as prototypes for the re-use of terraces currently lying empty in Liverpool and other cities around the UK. The prototypes outlined exciting new opportunities for living, working and public life.”

Mr Callaghan said such a powerful civic engagement project demonstrated how work at UEL could cross over into exciting and innovative proposals to improve lives in urban communities.



Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.