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Reflections on Humans of Hilgrove

The Humans of Hilgrove exhibition is now open to the public and will be up on the estate for the next month. You can find more information on the Humans of Hilgrove website. this blog post is dedicated to our team and the fantastic work they have done over the past couple of weeks.

We had 10 drop in sessions in total and we noticed that close to Sherlock Court is where you want to set up if you want to draw in residents, which luckily went well. However, some of the drop in sessions were drop dead quiet.

What I particularly liked about the drop in sessions was interacting with the residents and finding out their thoughts and opinions of the estate. The session was an outlet for many of the residents to come and speak to us and just have some human contact. Especially with Covid, a lot of people are lonely and isolated, and our presence on the estate was a way for them to see a friendly face to speak to. I really enjoyed the drop in sessions, as I met people who I have never had seen before, even though I have been living on the estate for over 10 years.

It was interesting to see the different issues our residents have during our drop in sessions, especially how they vary from property owners/ leaseholders and tenants of council houses. Some suggestions from property owners were whether they could self-govern the estate and others were worried about Deliveroo setting up kitchens next to the estate. I suppose something we might touch on in the next phase of the project is what people envision for the estate, and that could shed light on how class relates to people's perception of the estate.

It has not all been plain sailing with the exhibition. Unfortunately one of the boards featuring young people was stolen in the first 24 hours of the boards being up and another was ripped off and vandalised. A few other came down in the next few days. I was super disappointed to hear that the boards were going missing/ taken down, all the weeks of hard work could simply be destroyed just like that. They have since gone back up. We have learnt how to make them more secure! We are also exploring with the youth team why the boards have provoked this response and whether there is anything we can do differently to prevent this in the future.

We did a livestream on Instagram and Facebook, shoutout to all of our viewers. Surprisingly we had 30 Instagram views and 84 Facebook views. This is a major achievement, especially since this is our first livestream. Fateha was the host and the other COs and I would jump in to be interviewed. Overall, I enjoyed being part of the livestream; it was something I had never done before.

It makes me happy to see people walking around the estate and reading the boards, making all the hard work worth it.

I have learnt to manage my expectations. Community work can be exhausting and trust me, it takes a lot out of you. It's difficult working for a disengaged audience. However the circumstances that we are working in are very unique, so we don't expect people to respond to us straight away, especially with COVID and people feeling uncomfortable interacting with those outside their social bubble. I constantly told myself; this is something new to the estate, it will take time, patience, new things can sometimes be frightening and scary.

As we have come across the end of this project, I will take some time to reflect on our success.

For our first ever project as a team, I would like to think we have done an amazing job. We all deserve a pat on the back. During the last couple of weeks one of our colleagues was leaving and this has a massive effect on the process. However, we pushed through and made it to the finish line.

The reaction and response on our exhibition have been great. We've already been in Camden New Journal and the Ham and High, which is a great success for the whole team.

For the next stage of the project , the team and I will be conducting interviews to gain more in depth information about life on the estate. The interview will be 30 to 45min long with one of our Community Organisers, who are also residents of Hilgrove. If you are a Hilgrove resident you will have the opportunity to tell us more about yourself, your experience of living on Hilgrove and the community on the estate. We want to hear from people from all walks of life! Click here to sign up for an interview.

Thank you and have a great week!

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