Hackney s youth arts festival is back

The X-Factor may be over but budding Leona Lewis’ and Leon Jacksons will take to the stage to battle it out at a talent contest at the Hackney Empire on Thursday February 7.

The contest is the official launch event for the Council’s month-long Discover Young Hackney arts and cultural festival for 11 to 19 year olds. It was brought back by popular demand following last year’s successful inaugural event.

Discover Young Hackney aims to promote participation and training in the arts for young people through a range of taster sessions and workshops run by creative professionals in music, dance, radio, art, photography, fashion design, singing, film and theatre. The festival also showcases some of the best of the borough’s cultural industries.

Cllr Nargis Khan, Cabinet Member for Community Services said the festival is helping to provide more training and skills opportunities and fun activities for youngsters.

“Discover Young Hackney offers local young people the chance
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 sessions, most of which are free, include Be a Fashion Designer, Rhythm, Life and Roots and Arcola Youth Theatre. The Happiness Lab is hosted by Shoreditch-based arts organisation Iniva. Its education Curator, Teresa Cisneros-Ledda said: "Young people are often misrepresented in the media and I am interested in how they can be productive through artistic activity. The project will also help us to investigate how happiness is measured. It will be fun, but also educational.”

A group of young cultural ambassadors have played a big part in shaping this year’s festival, working as promoters, reporters and designing publicity materials. They will also create a radio show broadcasting information about the festival.

To find out more about Discover Young Hackney visit: or telephone: 020 8356 7209 or email: