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Portland sound-art installation celebrates sport in prison

Sport in prison is one of the themes of an artistic installation at Grove Young Offenders’ Institute on Portland, Dorset, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Created by Laura Hopes as part of the island’s b-side festival, the project, called ‘And The Crowd Goes Wild’, consisted of a sound installation in a disused ‘stadium bowl’ which was built in a former quarry by borstal residents decades ago.

The project saw speakers hidden around the stadium’s perimeter which played noises from a packed football stadium – giving evocative echoes of the site’s history as a 5,000-capacity sports venue. 

The project also included an ‘old-school’ match programme (pictured left), featuring a contribution from Professor Rosie Meek (who namechecks the Alliance of Sport in Criminal Justice – see download below) and Sean Phelps, current PEI Officer at Portland YOI. 

Watch a video about the project here

The sound installation’s creator, Laura Hopes, told us: “The idea had always been to use the favourite matches of current YOI residents to score the installation, but permission only came through from HMPPS during the festival itself. As a result, it felt important to honour that part of the project, and those voices from inside the prison that were not able to contribute. 

“I undertook interviews around the theme of football (and sports more widely) in prison and using these anonymised quotes, along with interviews conducted with former borstal employees and visitors to the art installation, created a film and booklet sharing these oral histories. 

“As for the match programme, Grove Prison Museum, run a by former borstal officer John Hutton, is a treasure trove of archive materials, photos, footballs, and flags. In the collection was a copy of the programme from the day the stadium opened, and it seemed fitting to use this as the front and back cover for the booklet.” 

Click the link below to read the inside of the programme.

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