Gypsy Roma Traveller in Higher Education: Influencing Policy
Buckinghamshire New University (Prof. Margaret Greenfields and Sherrie Smith)
The project aims to shine a light on marginalised communities and attempts to bring those voices to the forefront and into the university.
“Welcoming Culture in Universities- Awareness of Gypsy Roma Traveller’s culture” is new research activity working to bring together Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) and non-GRT academics and artists in partnership with policymakers, particularly to better understand local, regional or national challenges.
The project links policy concerns regarding GRT students in Higher Education and has enabled the research team to further existing research that is examining GRT in HE activities – e.g. scaling up the preliminary report, working on developing a network and hosting a symposium and an exhibition on the Coventry University campus.
The project has allowed the research team to draw upon its institutional expertise of working with NGOs, other UK universities and collaboration with local academics and artists.
This work provides more evidence in relation to the challenges facing young people before they can begin to access HE and privilege at the university emerged from the discussions. This project is a success story of how GRT and non-GRT collaborated to think about a pledge for GRT community members considering Higher Education.
Careful considerations of the visualisations that are associated with the GRT community were explored and concepts of who belongs at the university were questioned. The whiteness paradigm was challenged via the project and policymakers from the UK and abroad engaged with the research and are keen to develop things further. Given the COVID-19 pandemic the PI has had to shift one of its events but the final event where policymakers and all the key stakeholders will engage for a final time will take place once the lockdown period is over.
- One day symposium film
- Curating two exhibitions
- Visual Exhibition – Ex Libris by Daniel Baker
- One photographic exhibition – Generations by Antony Weir the film on the day is below.
The Roma Project runs various projects both at a local, national and international level.
OFFICIAL ENGLISH CLASSES:
The Roma Project knows that learning a new language is not easy for anyone and in order to foster social inclusion and find a job and contribute back to the community, language is a key element.
English classes are run for the Roma Women from the community who have moved to the country and whose first language is not English. The classes are mixed ability and are for those total beginners to others who may be a bit more advanced with their English. The classes are run by a trained teacher and take place on a weekly basis for 4 hours a week and Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading are assessed throughout the course. The women from the community decide the thematic content that they explore and learn more about. Topics include health care visits, talking to teachers at school, dental visits, everyday work, community and general conversational skills.
Classes run Monday evenings. For more information contact: Bernie Flatley at +44 (0)7722 555 899.
Testimonies from Participants:
II International Roma Women’s Congress Barcelona, Spain:
In collaboration with the Roma Women’s Association Drom Kotar Mestipen, the Roma Project is part of the II International Roma Women’s Congress which will take place March 23rd and 24th, 2018 at the CaixaForum-Barcelona. The Congress will bring together Roma Women from a grassroots level from numerous countries and together, they will dialogue and collectively find solutions to the problems and challenges they face.
More info on the Congress can be found here.
Planning: Growing Project supported by People’s Health Trust
The Allotment Project brings nature to the big city. Roma families are bused from Coventry to the allotments. Development, clearing and cultivating of the land has started and the families work inter and intra generationally to plant, maintain and ensure husbandry of the plants and foods they grow.
Flamenko Coventry 2014 & Romani Week 2015
The Roma Project supported Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) cultural and arts festivals Flamenko Coventry 2014 and Romani Week 2015. The festivals were organised in collaboration with numerous artists, COVUNI departments, students and the Charity.
“Family Matters/Chestiuni de familie” Romani Photo Exhibition
In April 2015 Romani Week Festival kicked off. As part of the 2015 festival, Rosamaria Cisneros teamed up with photographer Antony Weir for the “Family Matters/Chestiuni de familie” Romani Photo Exhibition. The exhibition leaflet Family_Matters_Leaflet gives you some backstory on the project. The event would not have been possible without the support of the Roma Project and the various families.
Photography by Koko Zin Photography.