The Turner Prize. It’s art, Jim. But not as many people might know it. Even though it has been banging the drum for contemporary British art since 1984, The Turner Prize and controversy walk hand-in-hand. For the first time in its history, viewers in Scotland can cast their own critical eyes on the Prize as the Turner sets up its stall at Tramway in Glasgow.

Until 2007, the prize, which carries a £25k tag for the winner and £5000 for each runner-up, was always held in London but since then, every alternate year, it has headed to a different British city: Liverpool, Gateshead, Derry and now Glasgow.

The Turner Prize has made stars of artists such as Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Douglas Gordon and Grayson Perry. It has a habit of ruffling feathers. Inciting fury, even.

Now, in the newly whitewashed Tramway 2 space, you can make your own mind up by checking out this year’s four shortlisted Turner Prize artists; Assemble, Bonnie Camplin, Janice Kerbel and Nicole Wermers.

Ironically, since Glasgow has produced no fewer than six winners and 12 Turner Prize nominees, this year none of the shortlisted artists have a direct connection with the city.

That said, Canadian artist Janice Kerbel was nominated for her half-hour long ‘opera’, DOUG, which was commissioned by Glasgow-based gallery, The Common Guild, and performed at The Mitchell Library in May this year (yes, I missed it too...). The shortlisting of 18-person strong collective, Assemble, was partly based on an adventure playground it created in Baltic Street in the east end of Glasgow in 2013.

All four nominees faced the challenge of re-creating the work they were nominated for in the new context of Tramway 2 and this has been achieved with varying degrees of success.

The first show you see is that of Nicole Wermers. Here in a white-walled rectangular space, you will find Untitled Chairs (2014-15). Draped over a sparse selection of Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer’s classic Cesca chairs, are snuggled a variety of fur coats, all sewn around the back of the chairs.

As someone who was known for throwing a manky old cardi over my chair when I worked in newspaper offices, I get that this is about marking territory. Wading through the thickets of art-speak in the accompanying catalogue, I note there is also male/female tension at work here – or a "gender dialogue", harking back to "the problematic history of famous cross-gender partnerships in modernist architecture and design".

I found myself mentally drawing a blank while sketching my own story. Elegant women doused in Chanel No 5 in 1920s Parisian tearooms, long cigarettes in one hand, cocktail in the other. Blethering for all they’re worth. I suspect, they’d never have come near an old tram depot in Glasgow.

Walking out of Wermers’ world and rounding several corners, you reach another white corridor. At the end of it is a crude drawing which depicts two besuited men; one wearing an earpiece sitting with his hands atop a large rock. Another looking on sort-of-smiling. Opposite is hung a handwritten note with various crossings-out advises you to be silent. It states: "The observer who enters this silent place of study/room is invited to touch + become involved with the material herein." Welcome to Bonnie Camplin’s The Military Industrial Complex (2014), first shown last year at South London Gallery.

In the middle of this temporary library sit five video monitors on which interviews with various individuals play on a loop. You are invited to watch and listen to the testimonies of these souls who appear lucid and dare-I-say "normal". Are these people crazy, you are forced to ask yourself? Could it be, that the lunatics have taken over the asylum?

Described by Canadian artist, Camplin, as "an artwork that is also a research tool", there’s plenty of material in this "library" to keep you going for weeks. Not to mention a photocopier visitors can use to copy from 150 or so books and 90-odd print-outs Camplin has arranged thematically around the walls.

You’ll find titles as diverse as Basic Electronics, The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Carl Yung’s The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Even local boy RD Laing’s The Divided Self Essays get a look-in, as does a print-out for a Fisher-Price "soothing, entertaining and technology all-in-one grow-with-me seat for baby." After a day examining the various divided selves, you may find yourself longing for that baby seat.

Instead you can head for two padded benches set against a nearby white wall. If you are lucky, your visit will co-incide with a performance of Janice Kerbel’s DOUG. The catalogue notes tells you Kerbel "borrows from conventional modes of narrative in order to create elaborate imagined forms". I think that means that she has written an opera: not usually considered a visual art, but in this job one keeps an open mind at all times.

The scene is set for six classically-trained singers: three men and three women plus conductor all clad in black to take centre stage. DOUG takes the form of nine songs and chronicles a cycle of catastrophic events which befall an imagined person.

The first song is a 12 second-long blast of sharp and almost painful-to-the-ears suddenness. It leaves you hingin’, to coin a Glaswegian phrase. Especially when the expressionless singers march off, only to reappear and perform the remainder of the performance, which lasts around half an hour.

As they performed, I found myself drawn to a wall-panel to read the words of the songs of various lengths. The titles are; BLAST, FALL, HIT, CHOKE, BEAR, CRASH, STRIKE, SINK and SLIP.

While I’m delighted these wonderful singers have secured paid employment for four months, I’m puzzled and perplexed about how this works as a visual artwork. Am I missing something? I’m not sure the words were up to much either.

To wit, the pay-off for poor DOUG.:

Heel on peel

To seal the deal,

Feet to sky

Life slips by.

And finally... My hands-down favourite is Assemble’s Granby Workshop. My 11-year-old daughter walked into this make-shift room with its vaulted wooden ceiling and declared: “This is cool!” Cool it is.

Assemble faced the biggest challenge of all in transforming their community-based collaboration work into a gallery context and they have succeeded big style with this re-imagined workshop which showcases examples of the community-based work this art/design/architectural collective have created in the ongoing Granby Four Streets project in Toxteth, Liverpool.

This is art with a point and a focus on regeneration. The Turner workshop (a version of the real thing which is in an abandoned newsagent) is filled with examples of items such as sinks, fireplaces, door-handles and textiles Assemble has made in collaboration with locals using discarded materials from this area.

It all harks back to Granby’s past life as a Victorian community built for artisan workers and reader, let me tell you, it is fab. Art with a heart. And it looks great. The bare lightbulbs as lighting is a stroke of genius.

Using the Turner Prize to launch the workshop – and those employed in it – Assemble is set to open an online shop selling handmade goods with profits reinvested in the workshop. I’d buy one of these hand-pressed three tone Terracotta lampshades in a trice.

For my money, this has Turner Prize winner writ large over its door. That winner is announced on December 7. Watch this space.

The Turner Prize exhibition is at Tramway, Glasgow to January 17, 2016