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Jersey-supported project in frame for Turner Prize

Jersey-supported project in frame for Turner Prize

Thursday 14 May 2015

Jersey-supported project in frame for Turner Prize

Thursday 14 May 2015

An Islander is behind a Jersey-funded art project whose design team have been shortlisted for this year's prestigious Turner Prize.

Xanthe Hamilton - who is the founder of the Branchage International Film Festival - is the driving force behind one of four projects in the running for the famous and often controversial prize for visual art.

Miss Hamilton has helped to regenerate a rundown area of Liverpool, turning streets that were torched in the 1981 Toxteth riots and then earmarked for demolition into a vibrant community complete with refurbished homes, verdant open spaces and eco-friendly industries.

The 35-year-old brought residents, architects, artists and investors together to transform the Granby Four Streets housing estate after 30 years of neglect. The team of architects she mobilised have reached the Turner Prize shortlist, which was announced this week. Called Assemble, they are the bookies' favourite to win.

"After the Branchage Festival of 2012 I was looking for a project that would use the skills I'd learned as festival director to manufacture change in an area of social neglect," said Mis Hamilton. "I worked closely with Jersey resident Marcus Binney and we identified this area of Toxteth in Liverpool. I started working with a group of residents, who set up a community land trust and took ownership of the derelict buildings from the council.

"We then brought in Assemble and secured funding from a Jersey-based social investor. Granby Four Streets was due for demolition but not anymore; now the area is clean, colourful and the residents are full of pride. There is a street market and a project space in the middle where aggregate is broken up and moulded into mantle pieces. It is a social as well as physical transformation.  

"I never dreamed that the project would be shortlisted for the Turner Prize. It is a real honour but it cannot lead to the area being gentrified - it has to stay affordable for the people who live there."

Miss Hamilton added that she hoped to run another Branchage Festival in Jersey next year.

"Both the Branchage Festival and the Granby Four Streets project prove that taking an artistic approach can make a real difference and influence how people feel and interact." 

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