Who We Are

DYH logo aArts opportunities for young people aged 13 to 19 years in the London Borough of Hackney.


Discover Young Hackney is an award-winning festival that started in 2007. It aims to encourage creativity and help young people to discover pathways into training and careers in the arts through an exciting programme of events.

Commencing in May the festival has becomDYH 2007 Hackney Today - Hackney Stars awarde the highlight of the boroughs cultural calendar, which includes a talent competition and activities throughout the month attracting particpation from talented and gifted young people.

The festival launches with Alter Ego, a competitive showcase of young talent at Hackney Empire. This popular start to the festival event is built around a live and online audition process, with industry judges providing feedback much like the popular TV talent competitions.

Activities for 13 to 19 year olds are specially commissioned by the established arts community and youth organisations.

Young people are involved in the design of many of the programmes which complement existing opportunities in schools and youth clubs.

The festival involves over 150 artists, 50 volunteers, 400 young participants and over 3,000 audience members using venues across the borough and contributing to the local economy.

Inspire Legacy Sept 2012With additional input from industry professionals, a range of taster sessions, workshops and events will accompany the festival, providing young people the opportunity to take part and experience the different aspects of the performing, media and visual industry.

Petra Roberts, the Cultural Programme Officer at Hackney Council who oversees the festival, was awarded a ‘Hackney Star’ for he work in reaching out to the community.

Discover Young Hackney was twenty projects across the UK to have been awarded an Inspire Mark. We are listed on the plaque together with other community projects in the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

'I felt empowered and my dream came to reality but I can't do it at home so it was a good experience.'

- Young person from Rio Cinema Discover Film project

'Thinking outside of the box "what I consider to be the norm" I have decided to reflect on my actions, to ensure it is not offending or hurting anyone.'

- Young person from Somali Family Action, street art project

'I particularly liked the discussions and having to discover new artists which helped me with my current project. I also liked the visit to the Tate Britain and meeting the curator of the Schwitter's exhibition.'

- Young person from Hoxton Free Art School

'I've become a much more versatile performer and have a better understanding of the arts.'

'I improved my confidence and learned new skills and the discipline of theatre work. The skills I learnt were to express myself and always keep the audience engaged.'

- Young people from Anna Fiorentini Theatre & Film School

'I found the activity very beneficial, I learned new reporting skills & found out things about my own area I never knew before. My favourite bit is working alongside my group and interviewing people.'

'I was given a role to be a reporter and cover many events and workshops. This benefited me as I'm into filming and editing so this gave me a chance to gain more experience.'

- Young people from All Aspects festival reporting workshop

'I got to meet great people and made new friends. I gained some opportunities that I can write in my CV that will help me look for a Job similar to the field I took part in the Discover Hackney. My favourite bit was meeting new people and getting the opportunity to take part in a well known activity.'

'I have gained more skills in photography; my favourite part was watching all the performers and feeling the tension between everyone backstage.'

- Media Ambassadors

'I have learnt how to work with other people to become a better person.'

- Alter Ego finalist

'My favourite bit was getting to meet new people, it helped me get off the streets and find a hobby to do.'

- Alter Ego auditionee

'It made me build up my confidence as to speaking to new people more. The people were extremely kind, and it made me feel more active rather than staying at home and doing to usual routine, of T.V or typical gaming.'

- Young person from Vietnamese Performance art project

'Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make the video. I had a great experience and it was real fun! Hope to do something like that again soon.'

- Abderahim Rebika, young filmmaker who made DYH documentary film 2013

Natalie Da Silva

Age 18

My DYH: “Becoming a Discover Young Hackney ambassador has allowed me to get hands on experience in Journalism, which has helped me to improve the writing on my own blog. It has also given me the opportunity to meet industries professionals. This experience is giving me the confidence to stand out in this competitive field.”

Blessing Odukoya

Age 16

My DYH: “I took part in Discover Young Hackney ambassadors to get more experience in Journalism and I’m really glad I did. I’ve been meeting a lot of great people and I would definitely tell everyone about this experience.”

Rolando Allen

Age 14

My DYH: “I’m passionate about music, and making music videos. I’m part of DYH because I want to learn new skills in film and video, so I can help promote the festival and my own film production company, Shower TV.”

Kamani Brightly

Age 13

My DYH: “I want to get out and film other young artists. I’ve joined up with Rolando as assistant camera on Shower TV already thanks to Media Ambassadors so if you want a music video shot get in touch.”

AG D'acosta

Age 17

My DYH: “Performing arts have made a massive difference to me and there are so many opportunities through DYH for young people to get involved. So I want to help promote all the free chances to perform or learn new skills and make sure everyone hears about it.”

Stream Conyer

Age 15

My DYH: “I was involved in Discover Young Hackney last year and it was loads of fun so when I got the call to be part of the media ambassadors and come up with creative ways of promoting the festival I knew I wanted to be involved.”

Shannon Burke

Age 14

My DYH: “I’m on the lookout for experiences that will help me decide which A levels to do or what career I should start thinking about. I did some filming last year at the DYH opening event, I also interviewed Lil Simz and really enjoyed it so I’ve decided to get involved again and see where it takes me. This is the perfect opportunity for me right now.”

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