Discover Young Hackney 09 - The Hackney youth arts and cultural festival returns

Budding artistes will be taking to the stage to battle it out in an X-Factor style contest to discover Hackney’s young talent at the Hackney Empire on Friday January 23.

Choice FM DJ and entertainer Kat B will host the I’m In talent contest, the British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted opening event for Hackney Council’s month-long arts and cultural festival for 11 to 19 year olds, Discover Young Hackney ’09 (DYH ’09).

DYH, now in its third year, is back by popular demand and promises to be the biggest and best yet. It promotes participation and training in the arts for young people through a range of taster sessions and workshops run by creative professionals in music, dance, media, art, photography, fashion design, singing, film and theatre. It also showcases some of the best of the borough’s cultural industries.

Kim Wright, Corporate Director for Community Services, said: “We are delighted to present the third Discover Young Hackney. The festival offers local young people the chance to engage with their peers, develop creative skills and knowledge and discover ways into training and careers in the arts.

“It is also an opportunity for Hackney’s vibrant arts and culture sector to showcase the excellent work they are doing and to reach out to a large number of young people in the borough.”

The free sessions and workshops include Promote Yourself in the Media; Telling the Story – in Music; Comic & Manga Design; Semah Dancing; Discover Arcola; Play in a Day taster workshop; Wet Sounds; SPACE visual arts workshops, designed specifically for deaf young people; I Love Dance Weekender; and Discover Film at the Rio Cinema in March.

This year, DYH ‘09 has been granted the Inspire Mark by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, in recognition of the festival’s achievements in making arts and cultural activities more accessible to local young people and inspiring them to broaden their horizons.

DYH ’09 presents a variety of inclusive and BSL signed events led by Hackney Shed, SPACE and disabled-led theatre company Graeae.

DYH ’09 is also acknowledged as one of a limited number of outstanding projects that will contribute to the lasting legacy of the Games and the Cultural Olympiad.

Young cultural ambassadors have again played a big part in shaping this year’s festival, working as promoters, journalists, grant decision-makers and trainee producers. Young representatives from Hackney’s Youth Opportunities Fund, Hackney Empire and Eastside Educational Trust have made important decisions and their contribution has been priceless.

“The festival opens the eyes of local young people and lets them know that there is so much already happening in the borough,” said Renell Shaw, 20, trainee producer at Hackney Empire and co-producer of both the DYH ’08 and DYH ’09 launch events. “It means people can find these activities and, more importantly, be part of them.”

Discover Young Hackney is delivered by Hackney Council’s Cultural Development Team and supported by Team Hackney and Hackney Youth Services.

The ‘I’m In’ talent contest kick-starts the festival on Friday January 23, 7-9pm, at Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8.

For more information including details of all the Discover Young Hackney events during February and March visit: or . Alternatively, contact Hackney Council’s Cultural Development Team on 020 8356 7209 or email: