Sistah support through historical photographs


Portraits of women from Hackney’s past have helped inspire women of Hackney today, through a new photography project which aims to capture the strength, power and bravery of Hackney’s survivors of domestic abuse.

Hackney Museum has been working with Sistah Space, a specialist domestic abuse service for women of African heritage, on a photography project inspired by the Museum and Archive’s collection of photos from a local photographc studio in the 1970s and a recent museum exhibition in partnership with Autograph ABP.

A temporary exhibition was set up at Sistah Space, focusing in on Black women from Hackney’s past. Discussions then took place between the women who use Sistah Space on the challenges, lives and legacies of African and Caribbean women.

Inspired by these portraits, a professional photographer was brought in to provide a photoshoot for the women, which mirrored the historical images on display.

It is hoped that through the project and by displaying these images in Sistah Space, those who use the service can feel inspired to explore and discuss community, identity and belonging in Hackney today.

Ngozi Headley founder of Sistah Space, said: “Sistah Space is a place women can go to and see themselves reflected. It is vital that women who are suffering abuse have access to a venue that reflects cultural heritage and where they can access help in a community environment. This project helps facilitate that sense of belonging.”



Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities
This project uses the power of photography to capture and share the stories of Hackney’s women past and present, creating artefacts which can be used to capture their voices and retell their stories today and in to the future.
Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities

The display was organised in partnership with Hackney Museum and Autograph ABP, as part of The Missing Chapter/Black Chronicles supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Changing Faces of Hackney supported by Esmee Fairbarin.

Sistah Space is community run and provides support and aid for women from the African and Caribbean community, including Rastafarian women. The specialist service seeks to help those who are apprehensive about contacting mainstream services.

Click on the links for more information about Sistah SpaceHackney Museum and Autograph ABP.