Hackney's archive material inspires young boys to write their own songs


Home’, an exhibition of songs inspired by the boroughs rich archive material opens at Hackney Museum on 25 February.

A group of sixteen students from local schools, aged between 13 and 15 were given the chance to research local history with a choice of three themes; music, migration and protest. They worked with closely with local artist, I’m Empire; rapper, Karl Nova; singer, Kele Le Roc; and professional tutors to write and record their own songs.

The ‘Home’ boys found an article in the archives about a group of young people who wrote to the Prime Minister, Harold McMillian, in 1962 to protest against racial hatred. Four hundred young people from Hackney youth clubs marched silently to deliver the petition to Downing Street in 1962.

In 2016, the boys have been writing their own letters to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to highlight the most important issues affecting their lives in 2016. Similar to the young people back in 1962 they talk about fear, discrimination, crime and violence. They also highlight the importance of staying at school and getting an education.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
The borough’s archive collection has items that really shine a light on how things were for people in Hackney. It’s wonderful that these young people felt so inspired by 400 young people protesting in 1962, that they gave their letters modern twist by turning into songs.

If you were involved in the original protest back in 1962, please contact the Hackney Museum. We’d love to hear from you.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

The project, funded by Discover Young Hackney (#DYH2016), is a collaboration between Hackney Museum, Rising Tide and local artist I’m Empire, who worked with Hackney Museum as a teenager. He wanted to develop a project to help young people in Hackney today, in the same way a 2002 project helped him.

He said: "Aspiration is important. I wanted to make sure I gave back and helped others understand that anything is possible, as long as they are willing to apply themselves. I feel that I can look back at the photo of myself in Hackney Museum and the 15 year old boy looking back would be proud of me"

The exhibition including photographs by Agenda from Visual Marvelry, songs, letters and lyrics opens at Hackney Museum on 25 February.There will also be a special public performance of the songs by the ‘Home’ boys at Hackney Museum on Saturday 5 March, 2016 at 3pm. The performance will coincide with the official launch of the songs on Soundcloud.

If you were involved in the protest in 1962 please call Hackney Museum on 020 8356 2838 or, Rising Tide on 020 8986 3222.