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, 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 The Showroom or phone 020 7724 4300.


Communal Knowledge Curator 2010–2018: Louise Shelley

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. Fftv
    Video FFTV: Left Hook / Right Hook

  2. Fftv
    Video FFTV: Homework

  3. Fftv
    Video FFTV: A White Chocolate And Strawberry Marquise

  4. Fftv
    FFTV: D A N C E

  5. Fftv
    Video FFTV: Skatepark

  6. Fftv
    Video FFTV: Nasir

  7. Fftv
    Video FFTV: Memories Of The Future

  8. Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  9. Fftv
    Video FFTV: In-Between: Lisson Green Estate housing and organisation model

  10. Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  11. Hg1
    Exhibition Hengameh Golestan: Witness 1979

  12. 02031
    Event Open discussion with Hengameh Golestan and Justice for Domestic Workers

  13. 02030
    Event Symposium: When does a Revolution Start? Part II

  14. Hiddenfaces
    Event Screening: Hidden Faces by Kim Longinotto

  15. 02030
    Event Symposium: When does a Revolution Start? Part I

  16. 01894
    Event People Make Videos: A week of meetings, video making and screenings

  17. 02011
    Event Schooling & Culture

  18. Rsz_h500_5_12
    Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  19. Event Cinenova: Now Showing

  20. 01945
    Event Justice for Domestic Workers: 6th Anniversary event

  21. 01907
    Event Christian Nyampeta: Church Street Library, How to live together, A Blackboard

  22. 01902
    Event Music Video Launch: Conspiracy by Owlboy

  23. Dhp
    Event Patrick Staff, Scaffold See Scaffold

  24. W10cn_exhibit_2014_image_5
    Exhibition Werker 10: Community Darkroom and Christian Nyampeta: How to Live Together – Prototypes

  25. W10cn_exhibit_2014_image_4
    Event The Showroom Reading Group 2014

  26. 01847
    Event Communal Knowledge: is this working?

  27. 01792
    Event Patrick Staff: Scaffold See Scaffold Public Workshop

  28. W10cn_exhibit_2014_image_6
    Event Independent Workers of Great Britain

  29. 01673
    Video FFTV: At School Before The War

  30. 01687
    Event Domestic Work is Work