‘Family Lines, Family Trails’

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The Romani Cultural & Arts Company has received £84,700 from Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting new project, Family Lines, Family Trails, in South Wales. Thanks to this second grant from the HLF, Isaac Blake and The Romani Cultural & Arts Company are able to continue their excellent work charting the stories and heritage of some prominent Gypsy and Traveller family lines throughout South Wales and beyond.

Beth Thomas, Keeper of History and Archaeology at St Fagans: National History Museum said “This is a welcome extension of an excellent project to record the histories of Welsh Gypsy and Traveller families and present them to the wider community. St Fagans is proud to provide a long-term home for these testimonies in the national collection”.

Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are the largest Ethnic Minority community in the European Union with over 12 million people. In the UK, they are also a recognised ethnic minority community and number 300,000. They are also the most marginalised and continue to suffer extreme levels of prejudice and discrimination.

‘Family Lines, Family Trails’ will be 100% community-led and will focus on identifying, recording and gaining a better understanding of Gypsy and Traveller family heritage and culture. Through this, Isaac Blake would like to change the negative attitudes and behaviour of the wider public towards this marginalised group in society by ensuring that people can learn more about this hidden culture.

This is an exciting, innovative development of the current ‘Tales From The Trailer’ project, also supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. ‘Family Lines, Family Trails’ will see Gypsy and Traveller community members work alongside families to source photographs and other items that will become the stimuli for recording the dynamics of the Gypsy and Traveller family over the decades. The older the photographs, the better – as The Romani Cultural & Arts Company use the project as a mechanism for reconnecting distanced family members and build interesting links with the present and the past.

Jennifer Stewart, Head of HLF Wales said: “Communities are at the heart of the projects we support. This project will give Gypsy and Traveller community members the chance to raise awareness of their culture and heritage while exploring and sharing the history of family life in these communities. It is important that these memories are recorded now before they are lost forever and this will help create a rich archive for present and future generations to enjoy and learn from.”

Press coverage notably from (Travellers’ Times & Heritage Lottery Fund).

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