Liberties of the Savoy

A unique event produced by 200 young people from east London at the Savoy Hotel's Lancaster Ballroom

‘… one of the more edgy examples (of participatory art) to emerge.’ – The Spectator

Taking inspiration from the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, over 200 young people from east London produced a unique event at the Savoy Hotel’s Lancaster Ballroom.

Liberties of the Savoy, the winning project of the 2012 edition of the Create Art Award, took the historical area once known as the Precinct of The Savoy in central London as its starting point. Young people were mentored over a two-month period to gain new skills, which allowed them to programme their own event in the Lancaster Ballroom at The Savoy.

Ruth Ewan paired creative mentors with particular schools, and each school was charged with organising one aspect of the final event. The mentors involved in the project included Martin Chiffers, Executive Pastry Chef at The Savoy; Lucy Woods, Music Promoter at Eat Your Own Ears record label; and Patrick Lacey from graphic design studio Abake. Lesson plans were devised by mentors in conversation with the artist and teachers, and aimed to develop key practical skills required to organise a large event, as well as asking young people to reflect on a key moment in the Capital’s history.

The project culminated in a celebratory event on 17 July 2012 when the young people were granted ‘Liberties of the Savoy’ for one afternoon. The Lancaster Ballroom was given exclusively to the participants and was covered by BBC London news. Permanent documentation of the project takes the form of a book co-published by Create London and Book Works; and also a documentary film, screened at the Barbican in late October 2012.

Liberties of the Savoy was the winner of the 2012 Create Art Award, supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

It was produced by Frieze Foundation and was presented as part of Frieze Projects East.