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BBC Fresh Profile: Matthew Akaho

Matthew Akaho's film talks to residents of the fast-changing area of Dalston in East London.

Matthew tells Fresh what inspired him to investigate the changes happening in the neighbourhood that he was born and grew up in.

Why did you pick this subject for Fresh?

My film is about the rapid changes in Hackney and who they are for. This topic was inspired by my general awareness of changes in regard to local housing and other infrastructure. However when I dug a little bit deeper into the circumstances of the changes, the morality of the situation played on my mind because I could be the next person to be moved out of Hackney. This film asks whether the changes, which seem positive, are for those who were originally living here, or for those who want to move here because of how popular Hackney has become. To answer this I asked local residents and business owners for their opinions and used their responses to help me think about my own view on these changes.

What motivated you to make this film?

I felt that gentrification as a topic wasn’t really being covered from the perspective of young people. I think young people don't get enough of a say because things get decided for us without asking enough of us what it is we actually need or want. This, in my eyes, leads to a cycle of ineffective changes because you can’t get different results without trying a different approach. This is an important subject that is close to my heart because I’ve lived in Hackney my whole life and can’t really imagine living anywhere else. I find research interesting because knowing little facts can set you apart from others, so looking at the unknown or what is covered up at first appearance is one of the main things that intrigued me about this project.

What camera did you use to shoot your film?

I used a Sony NX30E.

Who/what inspires you?

I am inspired by people who do unique acts. Creativity and originality in people helps them be different and one of a kind, which is what I aspire to be.

What are your plans for the future?

In terms of following up on my film, I really hope to show it to people working directly with the changes taking place, such as planners and architects, to find out what they think of the subject of my film. In the long term, I hope to get into university next year to study computer science, and would love to play a part in creating something new.

What is the most important thing you have learned so far?

The most important thing I’ve learnt is that great patience is needed when investigating things, so it is important to take the time to use different sources, and to find perspectives from different people and places.

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