Progress Report 2012

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The Romani Cultural and Arts Company Ltd

Aka Romani Arts

Summary of the main achievements of the charity during the year.

The Charity’s 3rd year has seen significant development in the integration of communities along with a host of successful achievements that have been instrumental in driving the overall message forward.

These specific activities are:

Children-In-Need Project – 1st Year Funding

In September 2011, the charity was awarded three years funding (£95,000), delivered in three separate grants. The End-Of-1st-Year Report has recently been submitted to Children-In-Need for review.

The project saw ‘engagement’ workshops taking place across two main Gypsy & Traveller sites. The aim has been to engage children and young people through arts-based cultural activities. The project has been very well attended by young people and has been successful in meeting the three main objectives set out for it.

The project will extend in 2012-2013 to include two additional sites so that more children can be reached.

Schools Programme – Further Development

The previous years anti-bullying project, focussing on “Identity” has continued this year. The success of the workshops within 4 local primary schools has prompted great interest from schools in Llanelli, Newport, Merthyr, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Pembrokeshire and Swansea who wish also which to participate in the work. These regions also have a heritage of GRT involvement and are keen to explore more awareness projects to assist in the understanding and education of the culture of the GRT Community.

Newport Schools Residency – Further Development

Following on from last years successful workshops with Gwent Education Multi-ethnic Service (GEMS), we have continued the theme this year under a project entitled “Stories On A Park Bench”. This activity involved the integrated input of children from GRT and Non-GRT communities to train and work together to produce a theatre performance involving movement, drama and music which was performed at the 2011 Gypsy Roma and Traveller History Month. Supporting this event were tutors from the College of Music and Drama along with Isaac Blake, Director of the Romani Arts. Once again this was held at the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre. This year also saw the involvement of parents from both communities during the rehearsal stages held at the local YMCA. Once again, we have seen a positive impact from previous activities that are now growing due to increased awareness and greater participation throughout communities and families.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Month 2012

This financial year we have, as planned delivered/coordinated and extended the already successful Traveller Month of 2011 to the regions of Llanelli, Wrexham, Cardiff, Newport and Torfaen. The six month preparation results in a month of activities based both on-site and through various theatre and art centres throughout South and North Wales.

Each region had their own specific programme:

South Wales

“O Brishindeskeriat / From the Rainbow”An installation of new works by Delaine Lew Bas with Damian James Le Bas:

This was an extremely successful exhibition and married very well with all the other History Month 2012 projects. The Arts Council For Wales was more than satisfied with the use of the £5000 grant. The exhibition ran for two weeks and the final report to the Arts Council was submitted in August.

“Pots’n Pans” Exhibition

This interactive exhibition was  displayed at The Cardiff Story. It ran from June 2012 until the end of August 2012. It was very well attended and similar to the Delaine Le Bas exhibition and the National Symposium, Pots N’ Pans featured in the S4C ‘Y Sipsiwn’ television series.

National Symposium focused in particular on the Romani communities within Europe and beyond.

This well-attended event, explored GRT themes within a forum of academics and frontline workers. Policy was discussed in depth and Welsh Government Ministers attended and supported. The National Symposium further extended our links with The Open Society Institute.

“Stories On A Park Bench” Dramatic performance (see above)

“Design a T-shirt Competition” – open to Primary School children throughout the region, the children were encouraged to create an artwork that would depict a positive view of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The winner was announced at the 2012 History Month Gala. One of the judges was Julie Morgan Assembly Member for the Cardiff North. The beautiful designs are available for viewing on the charity website.

North Wales

Following on from last years successful held in Wrexham attracted over 100 visitors to the event in Belle Vue Park. Displays of dancing, arts & crafts and cooking demonstrations. Officially opened by the Mayor and Mayoress of Wrexham.

Throughout all regions, children and adults alike have identified a growing sense of acceptance within their local communities. Education and awareness programmes cultivated over the six month preparations have resulted in a greater spread of regions and people attending the History Month. These annual events continue to further enhance awareness of GRT culture, break down pre-conceived conceptions and encourage a positive environment for GRT people to express their heritage, individualism and importance in local communities.

Cardiff Gypsy & Traveller Heritage project

Remembering the past and Recording the present .

“The day to day life of the Gypsy & Traveller community in Cardiff”.

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company is delighted to have secured a grant of £48,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This exciting and innovative project will use new media techniques to record and document the cultures of 2 very different Gypsy and Traveller (GT) communities across their sites in Cardiff, and provide a unique new digital platform for the creation of a touring multi-media exhibition to preserve and promote this culture both to the Gypsy and Traveller communities throughout Wales and also to the “settled” community nationally. There have been many documentations of the GT heritage and culture, however, these have been written by academics outside of the community itself. This project from start to finish will be steered and led by the GT community to ensure a true representation of the Cardiff GT community; it’s values, beliefs and realities.

Additional Information Relating to the charity’s activities.

In addition to the above activities of The Romani Cultural & Arts Company, we have been significantly involved in numerous activities and policies to support the development of work that has already generated vast interest and inspiration throughout all communities in the ultimate aim of reaching integrated harmony between the variant cultural differences.