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RSA funds artist for SEH's university project in Hull

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Architects at Shepheard Epstein Hunter have invited artist Vong Phaophanit to join the team designing a new social justice research centre in Hull. The Wilberforce Institute, a £4 million building for the University of Hull, is to be dedicated to the study of slavery and contemporary issues of multi-culturalism (AJ 24.5.01).

The Royal Society for the Arts has awarded the practice a grant of £3,500 to work with Phaophanit, an emigre from Laos whose work concentrates on ideas of displacement and alienation.

Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1993, his work often includes light installations which are woven into the building's fabric rather than 'bolted on extras', according to project architect Samir Pandya. 'We are aiming for a very contemporary building which is maybe slightly manipulative of people's senses, ' said Pandya. 'In a sense we're going to lose some ownership of the project, but that's something we have to accept.'

The glass and timber-clad, four-storey building is planned for Hull's museum quarter. Construction dates are uncertain because the university is currently raising funding for the project.

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