For #HackneyIsHome, Autograph teamed up with youth media organisation Mouth That Roars to provide workshops, training and a creative media qualification for eight young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. They worked with artists and filmmakers for inspiration about how to tell stories, create powerful images and raise awareness of important social issues.
The group created new artworks reflecting on identity and belonging in the borough – both their own and across generations.
Asking what makes Hackney home, the work the #HackneyIsHome artists created was featured online, on social media, on a digital billboard at one of east London's busiest intersections and in the press. We invited the public to join in at the end of the project, with a call for photographs on the theme 'Hackney Is Home'.
We worked with local networks, including New City College, to recruit participants to join the project. Andreus, Luis, Andrea, Francia, Francois, Mohammad, Brian and Djamila are all young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, who joined us to become the #HackneyIsHome artists. We all worked together for seven months, including during the upheavals of Covid-19 and lockdown.
At the heart of the #HackneyIsHome project was intergenerational dialogue, sharing lived experiences of migration and community. We invited two residents who live in the borough to be interviewed by the #HackneyIsHome group about their lives.
Joe is a member at Headway East London, and shared his story about growing up in Hackney after coming to the UK from the Caribbean. The second interview was with Modinat, who told us her story about moving to Hackney from Nigeria and what she loved about her new home. The group took on all the different professional roles from interviewing to sound, camera and lighting, controlling all aspects of the films they created.
Watch the interviews on Vimeo.
Artworks created by the #HackneyIsHome artists were broadcast six metres high on the Old Street Digital Canvas at Old Street roundabout (one of east London's busiest traffic hubs) from 15 March - 15 April 2021. For the Digital Canvas, the group wanted to create messages of hope for our current times. Having themselves recently arrived from countries including Congo, Djibouti, Afghanistan and Madagascar, the works they produced celebrated Hackney and the many people who proudly call it home.
Read our blog post about the display and see the artworks.
The #HackneyIsHome group took part in 20 workshops, covering topics including photography, film, identity, documentary, community, and activism. To stay Covid-safe, the workshops took place both at Autograph's gallery in Hackney and online.
The sessions were led by Autograph’s Ali Eisa and Denise Rose from Mouth That Roars, alongside Brian and Djamila – two young people from refugee backgrounds who are gaining professional experience in facilitation.
Workshop speakers included artist Aida Silvestri, socially engaged photographer D. Wiafe, documentary filmmakers Ka-Miller Reid and Sam Leibmann, and Josie Stevens from Hackney Museum. Further inspiration was provided by Mouth That Roars’ community film collection and Autograph's photography collection, sharing artists like Syd Shelton and Mahtab Hussain.
At Autograph, we believe that visual representation is empowering. Working with our staff, the #HackneyIsHome group were given access to – and training on – professional photography equipment to create portraits with personal objects that told a story about their lives. Throughout the project we set the group a number of film and photography challenges.
Artist Aida Silvestri set the group a creative task: to create posters for the #HackneyIsHome project combining a self-portrait with an important message they wanted to share with people. The images they created were a starting point for activist artworks with a message for the public #HackneyIsHome campaign.
The #HackneyIsHome artists collaborated with Aida Silvestri to contribute to the Coronaquilt Silhouettes Initiative public art project. They created works based on a traditional quilt square pattern called 'Corona', overlaid with a silhouette portrait of themselves and a few words describing their mental health state during the pandemic. The project was run by Art Refuge. Ultimately, all of the public contributions will be combined into a single tapestry artwork.
We invited the public to join in the #HackneyIsHome campaign, and help show the many perspectives and experiences of home, identity and community life in our diverse borough. From more than 100 submissions, a panel including young people from the #HackneyIsHome project selected their favourite images to be featured on Autograph’s website and social media.
See the final selection on our blog.
#HackneyIsHome was with Hackney and for Hackney. We engaged with local individuals, organisations, businesses, places and histories to make the project happen.
Your photographs on the theme Hackney Is HomeRead more
Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list