Creating Hackney as Home

Creating Hackney as Home:
Five reflections on a London borough


January 2015 Newsletter

This was a busy year for us. We finished our fieldwork in Hackney and talked about our work to various audiences in the UK and around the world. We have experimented at workshops with new groups of young people in Hackney to explore themes from our project, presented our findings to inform the work of Hackney Council policy makers, and have reached out to wider public audiences with the BBC.

We’re also preparing our final project workshop and film screening this March, which will be open to anyone with an interest in Hackney, youth and belonging, visual methods and urban change generally.

More on all this can be found below...


Film screening and workshop in 2015

Those of you able to be in London this March might be interested in two forthcoming events to mark the completion of the ‘Creating Hackney as Home’ project (2013-15), which as you may know, has used participatory visual methods to explore young people’s sense of home and belonging in a rapidly transforming London borough.

Both events are FREE to attend by registering with Jan Smith, stating which event you want to come along to:


March 6th 2015, 9.30am-6pm
The Open University in London, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP

This one-day workshop will present the findings of the project, as well as responses from and discussions with academics and practitioners addressing wider questions in three key areas: youth, belonging and urban change; participatory and visual methods; and intersections between the practices of research and youth work.

Profesor Peter Kraftl (Leicester) will be providing a keynote talk, and our panellists will include: Adefemi Adekunle (Newman), Matej Blazek (Loughborough), Alicia Blum-Ross (LSE), Melissa Butcher (OU), Jo Carter (Immediate Theatre), Luke Dickens (OU), Helen Lomax (Northampton), and Paul Watt (Birkbeck).


March 5th 2015, 6.30pm-11pm
The Russet, 17 Amhurst Terrace, Hackney, London E8 2BT

This informal evening will be a chance to watch all of our short Creating Hackney as Home films, alongside a Q&A session with some of those involved in their production.

This will be followed by a rare screening of Winstan Whitter’s provocative ‘Legacy in the Dust’ (2008), a film about the legendary Four Aces Club in Dalston prior to its demolition. Winstan will be coming along on the night to discuss his film and the motivations behind his long-term documentary work in Hackney.

This event is hosted in collaboration with Passengerfilms 'the car-crash of cinema and geography'.

BBC Fresh Online

Last year the CHAsH team submitted their films to the BBC’s ‘Fresh Online’ programme, a space for young directors working on short form documentaries. All five of our films were accepted for publication on the Fresh website, and segments of two films ('Dalston Changes' and 'Home Team’) have also been selected for a special television broadcast called ‘Life Through Your Lens’ due to be screened on BBC3 later this year!

As part of this project all participating film makers were invited to BBC Broadcasting House in central London for a special screening of the films followed by a reception to meet with BBC Production staff and other filmmakers.

The CHAsH project films and extended participant profiles are now available on the BBC Fresh website, available via the links on each of our team members’ webpages.

Informing Hackney Council policy making

Over the course of the CHAsH project we have benefitted from the involvement of Hackney Council on our advisory board, and in turn our youth researchers have been able to feed back to the Council some of their findings.

Following Monet and Shekeila’s contribution to the Crime and Safety Commission last year, Michael was invited to contribute to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Commission looking at the ways community groups might use school facilities. He was chosen to contribute based on his views about the value of basketball facilities and coaching for young people living near the Bridge Academy, which he discussed in his CHAsH film 'Home Team'. Michael was commended by the Chair of the Commission, Natalie Kokayi, as “a fantastic ambassador for the project and an inspiration as an aspiring and committed person”.

Youth engagement workshops with Immediate Theatre

Last year we ran several ‘youth engagement’ workshops across Hackney in collaboration with Immediate Theatre, including at the Edge youth centre in Woodbury Downs, The Hub on Forest Road in Dalston and the Nightingale Centre in Clapton.

These workshops ran with a younger age group (8-14 years old) than we had worked with on the fieldwork, and were intended to explore ways younger people living in Hackney might think about home and belonging. This were very interesting sessions where we learned a lot about how this age group think about their place in the borough, and hopefully were fun for them to participate in too!

Public talks and workshops

Melissa and Luke have spent much of the past year at various academic conferences telling people about our work on the Creating Hackney as Home project, including giving talks in Japan, the USA, Russia, India and China.

In September, Melissa gave a talk about young people’s experiences of gentrification at the Children, Young People and Families in Changing Urban Spaces conference at the University of Northampton. Last December, Luke gave an invited lecture at the Thomas Coram Research Institute (Institute of Education, London), entitled ‘Going Public’ about theories of visibility and recognition in participatory research.

All that talking has really helped get our written ideas together from the project, so we hope to be able to share some of our published research alongside our final project report over the coming year...

Latest updates on our website

The keen eyed among you might have noticed that we have recently updated our website to included loads of new photo galleries. These include 'photo essays' where each member of the team has explored their neighbourhood through the camera lens, as well as lots of photos taken during the film production process that give a behind the scenes look at our work over the summer of 2013.

If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look now!

We’ve also added a special podcast of Tyrell’s interviews on Broadway Market talking to local people about their dress and identity, which complements his ‘Hipster Portraits’.


The Open University Economic and Social Research Council