Sense of Belonging

2021 - 2022

In partnership with Mouth That Roars


A group of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds


The Sense of Belonging project opens up conversations about home and migration in the London Borough of Hackney


To start conversations and share important stories from our locality

ABOUT THE project

Autograph have teamed up with youth media organisation Mouth That Roars on Sense of Belonging, the second iteration of our #HackneyIsHome project, providing workshops, training and creative opportunities for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

Working with artists and filmmakers for inspiration, participants started important conversations in the neighbourhood and learned new ways to share stories that raise awareness and reflect on issues of identity and belonging in our local borough of Hackney.

The work produced by the group will be featured online, on social media and a digital billboard at one of East London's busiest intersections. We are also inviting the public to join in, with a call for photographs on the theme ‘My Hackney Selfie’.

What we're doing

Photography and Film Workshops

Over 10 workshop sessions, participants were provided with an introduction to practical photography and filmmaking skills and developed their understanding of visual literacy and storytelling. The group put their new camera skills to use, and went out into the streets of Shoreditch using portraiture, props and their surrounding environment to capture an aspect of their identity and what it feels like to belong.

Guest Speakers

Our guest speakers included Aida Silvestri, Wayne Critchlow, Sam Liebmann, and Ka-Miller Reid  artists working in film and photography who shared their skills and experiences with the group.

Public Display

Artworks created by the Sense of Belonging artists were broadcast six metres high on the Old Street Digital Canvas at Old Street roundabout, one of East London's busiest traffic hubs. See the works on display from 31 January to 28 February 2022.

Call for Photographs

Autograph is inviting the public to join in with the project, to help show the many perspectives and experiences of home, identity and community life in our diverse borough. We will select our favourite images to be displayed on our website and social media. Keep an eye on our blog, social media and newsletter for announcements.

Documentary Interviews

Through conversations with one another and members of the local community, participants created documentary interviews considering the meanings of home, family and belonging within Hackney. Watch the interviews below and hear from Turgut, a local Hackney businessman who runs a Turkish restaurant on Hoxton Street.

what we've accomplished so far


collaborative artworks

8 new artworks exploring belonging and reflecting on experiences of migration were created for public display

community and belonging

Sense of Belonging started new conversations within our community, reflecting on the many different experiences and definitions of ‘home’ in our locality


community celebration event

Participants shared their work with local community members at a special celebration event


Artists Supported

Four artists and filmmakers were employed on the project 

skills building

Through 10 workshops, participants learned how to conceptualise, research and produce film and photography

the project In Pictures




Sense of Belonging is a partnership project between Autograph and Hackney-based youth media organisation Mouth That Roars. A team of staff and artists made it happen, in collaboration with two young facilitators.

Ali Eisa

is Autograph's Learning & Participation Manager. He is an artist and educator with passion for doing creative work with young people and getting their voices heard on the big social issues we face.

Aida Silvestri

is a UK based artist. She creates work that challenges the status quo of stigma, prejudice, and social injustice/inequality by highlighting issues of migration race, class, identity, and health. Her work explores unique approaches to documentary photography and manipulation of the photographic surface.

Denise Rose

set up Mouth That Roars 21 years ago with the sole purpose of training young people in film production who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to media resources, enabling people who are often misrepresented to be heard.

Andrea Main Vargas

is a co-facilitator for the project. She is a young person with lived experience of the themes addressed in the project and a media student with an interest in filmmaking, documentaries and animation.

Mohammad Zarif Mousavi

is a co-facilitator for the project. He is currently studying for his GCSEs, and is interested in IT and filmmaking. Mohammad brought his skills and lived experience of migration to the project.

Latest Updates

Time to Celebrate

View the short film made at the celebration event where Sense of Belonging participants had the opportunity to share some of the creative outcomes from the project.


Can you spare a few moments? Autograph is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are. The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.

The information you provide will be held by Autograph and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.

You can take the survey here. Thank you!

Supported By

Sense of Belonging is supported by Hackney Council’s Shoreditch and Hoxton Arts Fund, created from a levy on developers to support arts and culture programmes that bring different communities together.

Project Partner

All project images courtesy Autograph / Mouth That Roars.
Discover more images: 1) Courtesy Autograph / Mouth That Roars. 2) Design for Old Street Digital Canvas. 3) Florian Sachisthal, Ext. Hackney Garden – Day. © Florian Sachisthal