The Peanut Project

  • Dates
    2020 - Ongoing
  • Author
  • Topics Portrait, Contemporary Issues, Documentary
  • Location City of London, United Kingdom

An ongoing project aiming to bring effective action to a community in East London fighting to survive the effects of gentrification.

The Peanut Project is an ongoing series aiming to bring effective action Alex’s own community of warehouse dwellers in Hackney Wick and Fish Island, East London. These people could be the last ones to occupy the spaces as they are under increased pressure to survive the rapid gentrification to the area and the more recent impact of Coronavirus.

Redevelopment has been heavily invested in and pushed for since London was granted the 2012 Olympics that were held within an arms reach. Since then the area has changed dramatically and many people have been forced out as their homes and studios were torn down to make way for new development.

The environment that they created was one built on community, reusability and certain anarchic principles that remain lived by. At one point it was home to the most densely concentrated occupancy of artists in Europe who were attracted to the creative opportunities offered by such freedom. Most of those were the ones who had maintained the buildings and spaces throughout the years and who had turned them into studios and live/work spaces.

Now the people who live in the remaining warehouse spaces are not being fairly integrated in the plans for the future. They are being forced out by new ventures that want to monopolise on a vulnerable creative hub and transform it into something that they can manipulate for their own gains.

Whilst the area has been declared a Creative Enterprise Zone by the Mayor of London which should guarantee affordable spaces for artists, as the value that they bring to the area has been recognised. This is not the necessarily the case as those new monopolies are pricing the established creatives out of the area who are left clutching onto what they have left. They are set to be replaced by a more desirable, more affluent creative who is being sought to fit a new local model.

This work aims to demonstrate the value of the warehouse community, the importance that the area means to them and the role that they should play in the regeneration of the area. The proposal put forward is to allow them to Reclaim the Wick by taking ownership of their spaces and developing them into permanent structures.

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