The Showroom

Communal Knowledge

Communal Knowledge is a programme of collaborative projects where artists and designers are invited to work with community groups, organisations, schools and individuals from The Showroom’s neighbourhood.

Set up in 2010 and led by Louise Shelley our Collaborative Projects Curator, Communal Knowledge has responded to numerous local, social and political shifts. Through conversations around shared interests and concerns, projects aim to generate playful and experimental avenues for critical reflection on issues at stake locally.

The Church Street area, NW8, is bordered by the Edgware Road, Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove and the Westway, and is known for its distinctive and diverse communities from across the Middle East and Africa. Culturally and community rich, the neighbourhood also has the fourth lowest median household income of all the wards in London and 50 per cent of children live below the poverty line.

Much of the emphasis is on finding ways to re-think or ‘unlearn’ established norms, values, codes, roles and relations, to create visibility, and to produce an alternative body of knowledge gained through communal activity and experience. Projects can take the form of commissions which develop through a year-long series of workshops and research, culminating in a presentation or event in the gallery space; or they can function as long-term collaborations, some of which are off-site, embedded within the local community.

Our approach is unique in the way in which we build strong relationships through projects developed over the long-term, and in how we regard each and every person involved in them as a collaborator. Trust and a conscious awareness of process and the impact a project can have beyond its existence, are key to our way of working. Some groups and individuals are now starting to get involved in projects within our broader programme, or in some cases are taking on a more proactive role within artistic productions.

For more information or to get involved please contact Louise Shelley or phone 020 7724 4300.

Local groups and organisations

Ada Court
Church Street Neighbourhood Management
City of Westminster College
Fourth Feathers
Independent Workers of Great Britain
Justice for Domestic Workers
King Solomon Academy
Marylebone Bangladesh Society
Marylebone Project
Penfold Community Hub at 60 Penfold Street
Portman Early Childhood Centre
Pursuing Independent Pathways [PIP]
Quintin Kynaston School
The Cockpit Theatre
The Migrants Resource Centre
The Prince's Trust
The Seymour Homeless Art Collective
Westminster Adult Education services

Communal Knowledge is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s Charity, John Lyon’s Charity, and Garfield Weston Foundation.


  1. W10cn_exhibit_2014_image_4
    Event The Showroom Reading Group 2014

  2. 01847
    Event Communal Knowledge: is this working?

  3. 01792
    Event Patrick Staff: Scaffold See Scaffold Public Workshop

  4. W10cn_exhibit_2014_image_6
    Event Independent Workers of Great Britain

  5. 01673
    Video Anton Kats: Fourth Feathers TV

  6. 01687
    Event Domestic Work is Work

  7. 01758
    Event Crèche Course

  8. 01608
    Event Contours of Resilience

  9. Cp_exhibit_2013_image_1
    Exhibition Ciara Phillips: Workshop (2010–ongoing)

  10. Cp_exhibit_2013_image_12
    Event Ciara Phillips in conversation with Louise Shelley

  11. Cp_exhibit_2013_image_1
    Video Ciara Phillips: Workshop (2010-ongoing)

  12. Readinggroup2013
    Event The Showroom Reading Group 2013

  13. Seered1
    Event See Red Women's Workshop Presentation

  14. Video Communal Knowledge: An Introduction

  15. Rb_exhibit_2013_image_1
    Exhibition Ricardo Basbaum: re-projecting (london)

  16. Rb_00932
    Video Ricardo Basbaum: re-projecting (london)

  17. Lania
    Event Lania Narjee: a NW8 slideshow

  18. Screening
    Event Point 3 Film Screening

  19. Andrewpickering
    Event Andrew Pickering: Cybernetics

  20. 01624
    Event Public Action with ASK! and Justice for Domestic Workers

  21. Collectiveconversationworkshop
    Event Collective Conversation Workshop

  22. Flagmeeting
    Event Spaces of Equality #2: FLAG Public Meeting

  23. Rbinconvo
    Event Ricardo Basbaum in conversation with Chris Dercon and Massimiliano Mollona.

  24. Point8
    Event Point 8 event

  25. Walk
    Event Difference as an Arithmetic Exercise, Walk

  26. Event Difference as an Arithmetic Exercise, Seminar

  27. 01538
    Event Point 6 Reading Group

  28. E6small
    Event The Showroom Reading Group 2013

  29. E5-1024x679
    Event Seymour Art Collective NBP diagram walk

  30. E5-1024x679
    Video re-projecting (london): Seymour Art Collective – Walk