Dr. Aleksandar G. Marinov

The Romani Cultural and Arts Company 11th profile will be of Aleksandar G. Marinov, Ph.D., post-doctorate, research fellow at the School of History, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Aleksandar’s story perhaps does not differ in any major way from the stories of anybody, Roma or Gadje. He was born and raised in a loving, caring and Roma family in Sofia, Bulgaria. Throughout his youth his reality was mostly influenced by his closest – his parents, cousins, uncles and aunts. Thus, it ought to be of no surprise he would say he has 5 brothers and a sister, and turn a blind eye if anybody confuses his biological father or mother for one of his uncles or aunts. What has really enabled Aleksandar to reach his current stage of life is certainly the inspiration, ceaseless support and encouragement he has received from the above-mentioned loving and most dear family. Perhaps, from here also comes his bold approach to tackling any problem or challenge he comes across, be that real life, social or academic. Were it not for the lack of criticism or frustration from his loved ones for the very many failures he has had as a child, youth and now an adult, he would hardly have been able to read and write in Bulgarian or English – just to state the most obvious examples. A memorable experience, for example, as a school boy in Sofia he was doing so poorly in his English class that his teacher ended his attempts to study the language by demonstratively taking his books and all belongings (in front of all of his peers) and leaving them in the corridor and out of the classroom – wishing maybe not to waste his time anymore or to impede the progress of the other students…

After all, he went to study not only in the English language and tackle other languages but also he demonstrated academic excellence and to be able to receive several academic prizes and competitions. Aleksandar Marinov travelled, worked and studied in Germany, USA, Spain, England, Wales to most recently arrive in Scotland where he is a post-doc in the School of History at University of St Andrews. He loves his growing family, music, salsa and kyuchek (the belly dancing as performed in the Balkans, known as çyçek and čoček), reading and dreaming. He has studied Political Science and Spanish (BA, Chicago), International Relations (MA, London), Human Geography and Migration (Ph.D. Swansea) and it should be of no surprise his Romani background coupled with his travels have inspired his academic interests in migrations and mobility, (Romani) identities, cultures, law and history. He has worked as a tutor, teacher, researcher and volunteered in universities, think-tanks, NGO’s and grassroot organisations.  What many people, apart from those in Bulgaria, do not know about him is that he prefers to be called Sasho, rather than Aleksandar or Alex, and that he has competed in several marathons, triathlons (including Half Iron Man), an ultramarathon (110km of mountain paths and 6600m altitude) and enjoys long-distance cycling and bungee jumping.