“EQUALITIES IN ACTION: WORKING WITH GYPSIES, ROMA, TRAVELLERS, SHOWPEOPLE”

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An insight into Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities in your area.

 

General Information

The Romani Cultural Arts Co. is the leading Romani and Traveller community-based organisation in Wales, traditionally using the arts and culture as a vehicle for advocacy and empowerment, amongst the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) communities and Showpeople. RCAC is also supporting individuals to become “Community Champions”, as actors and agents of change in their own communities, making a difference for themselves and the wider society. RCAC is managed by a Board (voluntary management committee) made up of representatives from the GRT communities, meaning that community members have a role as decision-makers and are part of the process of shaping the advocacy and rights agenda that RCAC promotes. The Company believes it is essential that the GRT communities be at the forefront of social progress and positive developments in social inclusion, in the struggle or the recognition of GRT rights and promoting inter-cultural understanding. Within Wales and increasingly across the UK, our advice and expertise is sought by local governments, policy-makers, decision-takers and local or national institutions. We are asked to evaluate the effectiveness of their policies and strategies or to support them in consultation to ensure the voice of the GRT communities they serve, is heard. We lead on advocacy for these vulnerable communities, influencing the policy and strategy agendas in the context of a devolved Welsh Government and increasingly internationally across the UK and we deliver quality training for those who work with Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Showpeople communities and who wish to improve their reach and their impact. Recently we have been able to:

  • Influence the Welsh Government through a robust consultation process in relation to the drafting and implementation of a new Scrap Metal Act (UK) and Horses Act (Wales) that is likely to have a profound effect upon the GRT community;
  • Support an EU project, led by Dr Andrew Ryder (Corvinus University, Budapest), to survey Welsh Gypsy, Roma and Traveller views on the current Welsh National Roma Integration Strategy, 2014 to 2020, for the EU;
  • We have used funding to train individual GRT community members as key advocates who can influence developments affecting GRT communities in Wales – our “Community Champions” programme. These people have taken the lead in a variety of initiatives and advocacy activities at local and national levels;
  • RCAC has managed funds from a local donor to research the NEETS (Not In Education, Employment or Training) phenomenon in relation to the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales. We have commissioned a trained researcher to work alongside our Community Champions to examine the questions of early leaving (‘drop out’) from school and the significant differences in educational attainment, between the majority community and Gypsy, Roma, Traveller children and young adults.

Our organisation was founded in September 2009, initially using small grants to develop work with GRT children aged 3-16, in the area of South East Wales, where we began working on Gypsy and Traveller caravan sites and with housed Roma families. We have gradually built up our position as a leader in “best practise” with our community-centred approach to arts and advocacy workshops for GRT children and young people.

 

Why is the work of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company needed?

The work of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company is intended to challenge the prevailing, negative stereotypes and myths relating to Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Showpeople living in Wales and to promote knowledge and reliable data about GRT communities in wider society, as part of developing evidence-based practice and inclusive services and provision that meets the needs of the GRT communities and recognises the contributions and positive benefits brought by Romani and Traveller people to Welsh society. Challenging racism and discrimination in order to build a better, more diverse and representative society based on social justice, equity and inclusion will bring improvements for all, as more egalitarian societies that demonstrate tolerance and appreciate diversity have shown (see Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, 2009). The RCAC also works to achieve a greater sense of self-worth among members of communities, who have largely internalised the racism and discrimination that they experience on a daily basis.

Racism is widely recognised as anti-social, at least in most cases. However, there is plenty of evidence, in the everyday lives of Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Showpeople and in academic text, that racism against these people is still perceived as socially acceptable. The following quotes explain why and what affect this has:

  • Nearly 9 out of every 10 children and young people from a Gypsy background have suffered racial abuse and nearly two thirds have also been bullied or physically attacked…

This is who we are, – Children’s Society, 2007

  • Go to most museums, libraries and schools and nothing about their history and culture is kept or taught. The result is a widespread ignorance about who they are, which sometimes turns to hatred, fear and misunderstanding. In schools, children learn more about the Romans, Vikings or even fairies than they do about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller cultures and what they have contributed to this world. As a result they are misunderstood, feared and loathed…

GRTHM – www.grthm.co.uk

  • The two groups identified as the most threatening – asylum seekers and Travellers – were the only groups with whom most interviewees had had no contact…

Understanding Prejudice, Stonewall, 2004

The Welsh Assembly Government’s own report on the accommodation needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people (Niner, 2006) spoke of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people having ‘distinct demographic and economic characteristics’ and being one of the most socially excluded groups in Britain. It also spoke of the extent to which that social exclusion was reinforced by their experiences of discrimination.

  • They noted the tendency of the settled community to stereotype and lump all Gypsy-Travellers together, and felt that Gypsy-Travellers are the population group against whom it is still ‘acceptable’ to make racist remarks…

Accommodation Needs of Gypsy-Travellers in Wales, Niner, 2006

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company is a response to these experiences of racism.

 

Who should attend this training?

This course is suitable for anyone interested in ensuring that their services are inclusive and accessible for the Gypsy,Roma and Traveller communities. It would be particularly useful for those who work in Planning, Housing and Accommodation, Equality, Health, Education, Social Services and the Early Years.

 

Why should you attend this training?

It will assist you to:

  • Ensure effective engagement with the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities in your particular area
  • Be understanding and informed in your interactions with people from the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities
  • Be better able to assess the service needs that address the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities in Wales

 

Aims

To increase awareness about the cultural diversity in Wales, to address issues and needs of Gypsy, Roma, Travellers and Showpeople in Wales, to inspire and improve the services and provision delivered to GRT communities and to generate trust and understanding between GRT communities and local authority service providers.

 

Learning Objectives

To achieve a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the needs of GRT and other communities, from a local authority perspective;

To develop a level of knowledge that will enhance and inform local authority officers’ interactions with individuals and groups from the GRT and Showpeople in their areas and localities;

To introduce knowledge regarding the important differences between Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Showpeople and their cultures, languages and origins, insofar as is useful to participants in the training, with the aim of inspiring best practice and improving service delivery;

To introduce to participants examples of community members who are role models and who can challenge the prevailing stereotypes of Romani and Travellers or the negative images of east European Roma and Showpeople, present in media and popular press;

 

Outcomes
By the end the session participants will have:

A. Increased their knowledge of the culture, traditions and history of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (this includes a timeline of key historical events and legislation);
B. Developed an understanding of diversity within the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller
communities (that is, who are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers? Who are the Showpeople?);
C. Increased their awareness regarding the prejudice and discrimination faced by Gypsy,
Roma, Traveller communities in Wales and more widely across the UK;
D. Identified obstacles to access and attitudinal issues or barriers in education, health, employment, accommodation, safeguarding and other public services, that inhibit the
delivery of quality provision to GRT communities and Shgowpeople;
E. Improved participants’ understandings of how to engage effectively with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community and what they can do to address exclusion and ensure
inclusion in the delivery of services;
F. Developed an Action Plan that will put their learning into practice, in the workplace;
G. Established a baseline of knowledge and support that can be accessed to assist officers.

There will only be 50 places available so please book early to avoid disappointment. The cost for the day (to include light refreshments, lunch & VAT) is £130.00 per delegate, if you book before the Friday 8th April and £145.00 if you book between 8th April and 15th April. Places will only be secured with a confirmed payment.

The venue will be in Cardiff, South Wales at CHAPTER Market Road, Canton Cardiff, Wales UK CF5 1QE on Friday 29th April 2016.

The day will start at 09:30 and finish at 16:30, with refreshments included for the workshop participants.

Please email for a booking form or copy, paste and email the attached booking form (p8) to: isaacblake@romaniarts.co.uk

Isaac Blake, Director
The Romani Cultural and Arts Company Temple Court
13a Cathedral Road
Cardiff
CF11 9HA
Tel: 02920 786 439
Skype: romaniarts
Visit our website at: www.romaniarts.co.uk

 

Agenda

Throughout the day and during the individual sessions, there will be opportunities for open discussion and questions. The day is designed to be interactive and delegates are encouraged to participate in an open dialogue about the issues in question.

9:00 Registration
9:30 Welcome and introductions

  • Who are the Gypsies, Roma, Travellers and Showpeople? History and origins
  • Short films, “Gypsies, Roma, Travellers: An Animated History”, “Roma Discrimination inEurope”
  • Ethnicity, identities and communities: differences between Gypsies, Roma, Travellers andShowpeople?
  • Cultural practices, traditions and religious beliefs: birth, marriage and death
  • Myths and realities: the truths behind the popular media stereotypesThere will be a brief 15 min. break at 10:45 after this session.

11:00 Policy and strategy: the legal framework (rights, protections for minorities, responsibilities) 11:30 Working with Gypsies, Roma, Travellers and Showpeople: practical steps

• How to build trust
• Accessing community • Engage for Success

12:30 Lunch, including networking time and action planning following the morning sessions

13:30 Working with Gypsies, Roma, Travellers and Showpeople: case studies and best practice (small groups)

• Health
• Education
• Child Protection
• Accommodation and housing
• Encampments, stopping places and community negotiation

There will be a brief 15 min. break during this session at 15:00

15.15 Defining experiences, developing practice

• Feedback from case studies, group discussions • Developing 5 point Action Plans for practice
• Exploring final questions

16.30 Close (approximate time)

 

Trainers

Dr Adrian Marsh – Researcher in Romani Studies & Romani Early Years

Dr Adrian Marsh – Researcher in Romani Studies & Romani Early Years, is of Romani- Traveller origins and has been working with Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities in the UK, Sweden, Turkey, Egypt and central, eastern and south eastern Europe. Dr Marsh has taught Romani Studies at universities in London, Malmö, Stockholm, Cairo, Istanbul and Diyarbakir and has held an ERSC fellowship, as Researcher in Romani Studies at Greenwich University, London. He recently managed Early Childhood Development projects for Roma, Gypsies and Travellers for the Open Society Foundations, London. He is currently living and working in Istanbul, as a consultant expert fort OSF, the Council of Europe, Save the Children and ISSA’s Romani Early Years Network .

Dr Aleksandar G. Marinov

Dr Aleksandar G. Marinov is a recent graduate from Swansea University where he studied the effects and consequences of the contemporary mobilities of Roma from Bulgaria. Born and raised in a Romani family in Sofia, he has always been passionate about the issues surrounding their realities. He has studied Political Science (BA) and International Relations (MA) and worked for think tanks such as the Institute for Regional and International Studies (Sofia), done research for the Centre for Research in Theories and Practices that Observe Inequalities in the University of Barcelona (Barcelona) and have done an internship with the European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg (Germany). Aleksandar is also interested in community organising and been a supporter of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company since he first arrived in Wales in 2011. He is thus eager to share his knowledge and experience both as an insider and as a researcher due to his vested interest in Romani empowerment and inclusion.

Isaac Blake – Director – Romani Cultural & Arts Company, Cardiff

Born a Romani Gypsy, Isaac Blake is a professional choreographer and Artistic Director of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company, which is currently funded by the BBC Children in Need, Big Lottery, Cardiff City Council and Newport City Council. In 2000 he received a scholarship to attend a 3 year undergraduate Dance Theatre Course at Laban in London. While at LABAN, Isaac worked with numerous artists and companies including Adventures in Motions Pictures (AMP), DV8 and Rambert. Since graduating from LABAN, Isaac has furthered his studies in New York and has choreographed performances at the Wales Millennium Centre and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Utilising the skills as an Artistic Director Isaac Blake has raised the necessary funds to take arts development onto both Gypsy / Traveller sites and gadjo (non-Gypsy) communities across Wales. This project is close to his heart knowing how artistically barren these sites can be. But using arts Isaac has found a way to engage with children and young people.

Please download the pdf here: “Equalities in Action working with Gypsies, Roma, Travellers, Showpeople”- TRAINING DAY

Press coverage notably from (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations, Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and other Travellers, National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups & The National Association of Teachers of Travellers + Other Professionals).

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.