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 Jenny Cooper 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. Afak_exhibit_2012_image_1
    Exhibition Andrea Francke and Annette Krauss: (in)visibilities

  2. Afak_exhibit_2012_image_8
    Event Final discussion: Invisible Spaces of Parenthood

  3. Event Workshop: Cardboard shape toys

  4. Event Workshop: Productive Resistances – Gambiarras, Social Urgencies and Self-Expression

  5. Event Workshop: Justice for Domestic Workers

  6. Event Workshop: A fuzzy history of the British imagination

  7. 00861
    Event Short Course led by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

  8. Isp_manual
    Text Invisible Spaces of Parenthood

  9. Afak_exhibit_2012_image_6
    Event Workshop: Survival Strategies for Cultural Workers

  10. 01185
    Event Spaces of Equality #1: Discussion

  11. Event Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad: Interplay Part I

  12. Lah_exhibit_2012_image_1
    Exhibition Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself

  13. Lah_exhibit_2012_image_2
    Video Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself

  14. 01313
    Event MEH MOGYA (Sample Of Me) Record Launch

  15. 01306
    Event Survival Kit 3

  16. Event Emma Smith: Workshop and Discussion 2: Public Relations: Place Making

  17. Event Emma Smith: Playback workshops and talk

  18. 01314
    Event Edible Garden Party

  19. Es_exhibit_2011_image_1
    Exhibition Emma Smith: Playback

  20. Event Emma Smith: Discussion 1: Public Relations: Citizenry

  21. Mvv_exhibit_2010_image_1
    Exhibition Mieke Van de Voort: 627K

  22. Rb_01002
    Event [small operatic event] Would you like to participate in an artistic experience?