10 things we learned at the turner prize 2015

On Monday night, Assemble, an eighteen-member architecture collective based in London, won Britain’s most prestigious and divisive art prize…

by Laura Hawkins
09 December 2015, 4:45pm

Assemble exhibition

On December 7, the architecture collective Assemble became the first ever non-artists to win The Turner Prize. They were awarded for their work on Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Glasgow and their collaboration with Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust, where they helped to regenerate ten dilapidated houses in Toxteth, Liverpool. The project has energised a community and kickstarted conversations about what constitutes contemporary art today.

We've picked out our most memorable tidbits from the Turner Prize 2015, held for the first time in Scotland at Glasgow's Tramway…

Glasgow is having a moment
"This city has been called home by so many precious nominees and winners," explained Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain in one of the ceremony's opening speeches. Turner Prize winners Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling, Richard Wright, Martin Boyce and Duncan Campbell all studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and the ceremony at Tramway art space emphasised this amazing art heritage.

Always fly to the Turner Prize
With storm Desmond leaving trains in turmoil, all nominated artists were requested to rearrange their travel arrangements. Nominees may dream of first class travel but the reality is a last minute Easyjet flight from Glasgow to Luton, and a croque monsieur soggier than storm-damaged shoes.

You don't need social media to make an impact
Members of the Turner Prize audience were keen to tag Assemble on Twitter and Instagram after their win. The collective do not use any social media, but they seem to be managing well without it.

It's not fine dining, it's finger food
To reduce the background noise of Channel 4's live broadcast, 2015's ceremony was conspicuously cutlery free, and guests were served Scottish inspired finger food including ham hock terrine with piccalilli and mushroom pâté with brioche.

Check your cue cards…
Assemble's 2015 victory was announced by the legendary frontwoman of Sonic Youth Kim Gordon. Unfortunately she name-checked them as "Assembly".

You can buy your mum a piece of The Turner Prize for Christmas…
As part of their Turner Prize exhibition installation, Assemble created Granby Workshop, a social enterprise that employs residents of Liverpool 8 to create handmade pieces for homes. You can buy a marbled lampshade for just £25, and all the money made goes straight back into rebuilding the community.

Assemble are the youngest people to win the Turner Prize…
Everyone in Assemble is under 30, but they aren't the youngest people to grace the Turner Prize podium. When Laure Prouvost won the prize in 2013, her newborn baby Celeste was brought on stage.

They are also the poorest winners ever…
Turner Prize winners receive a cheque of £25,000, and since winning the prize in 2005, Damien Hirst has been estimated at a net worth of £1 billion. The eighteen members of Assemble will take home £1389 each.

It's the end of the Turner Prize as we know it…
Never before has a collective won the Turner Prize, let alone a collective of non-artists. With new conversations about what counts as meaningful art, the Turner Prize 2016 is wide-open playing field.

Keep it real…
A night started in Wetherspoons and ended in McDonalds is essential for staying grounded. Whether you're nibbling Turner Prize canapés or gorging on a Quarter Pounder, you're still going to be using your hands…



Text Laura Hawkins

turner prize