Creating Hackney as Home

Oct 2012 - Jan 2015

The two year ESRC funded project Creating Hackney as Home: Young People as Participatory Researchers and Publics is working with a group of young people in the London Borough of Hackney. Using participatory video research methods, the project aims to understand the experience of space and space use in the formation of 'home' and belonging, and the impact of affective responses to change and difference in that process.

About the project

Hackney is marked by high levels of mobility, urban regeneration, cultural diversity and social inequalities. Demands from competing stakeholders have led to juxtaposing expectations of space use and the potential for everyday conflict between residents, and between residents and local authorities such as police and the council. There is a public assumption that 'community' is breaking down as a result of this mobility and urban transformation. Young people are one of the most substantial users of public space and a cohort immersed in debates about social inclusion, crime and media representations inflected with intergenerational opposition and a discourse of shifting cultural values. Therefore, the objectives of the project are:

  • to examine the creation of 'home' from a youth perspective, in a complex, diverse, rapidly changing urban space;
  • to further theoretical understanding of urban affective geographies, bringing together research on young people, urban transformation and cosmopolitanism;
  • to collaborate with young people in participatory video data production, providing skills development in film production, research and project management;
  • to evaluate the use of participatory video and online youth oriented broadcast media and social networks in producing research data and enhancing youth participation.

The research draws on the collective experience of Melissa Butcher's (Principal Investigator) previous work on youth, identity and belonging, the estate-based youth theatre company, Immediate Theatre, and the film production company Mouth That Roars (MTR). There are three components to the research design: 1. film production; 2. the use of video diaries; 3. and incorporation of online broadcast media. PRAs from Immediate Theatre will form the core of the participatory research component, responsible for film and video diary production, in conjunction with MTR.

The online component involves the moderation of a public interactive discussion board on the project's website, focusing on the content of the films and related themes. The discussion, designed to widen participation in the project among young people, will be moderated by the PRAs and RA, and responses collated as part of project data. Critical debriefing will occur at the end of each stage, involving the full research team.

For more information on this project please contact Melissa Butcher,