Update on our work, August 2019

School workshops

We conducted several workshops in Redbridge Primary (L.B. Redbridge) and Southern Road Primary Schools (L.B. Newham) to test our draft version of the ‘Roma Stories’ – Roma Oral History Learning Resource with the aims of:

  1. Sharing Roma Oral History stories;
  2. Learning about and celebrate Roma history and culture; and
  3. Encouraging respect for other people and further tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions.

The Learning Resource includes three individual Oral History Stories: Alexandru Silaghi, Elzbieta Glowacka and Rozalia Glowacka. Their stories tell us memories about life growing up in their home country; family members’ persecution and survival during the Second World War; migration, Roma identity and integration in the UK.

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Roma Oral History Workshop at Southern Road Primary School, RSG

 

Presentation of Education Pack at City Hall

On the 14th June Sue and I presented and promoted our semi-final version of the ‘Roma Stories’-  Roma Oral History Learning Resource, produced in collaboration with two local schools, at City Hall for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.

The event was held in London’s Living Room in City Hall and consisted of an informal drop in session where members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller organisations were available to answer questions about the work they do and the history and culture of their communities. The evening program included a range of amazing singers, musicians and performers including Thomas McCarthy, Faith I Branko, and the Bridging Sounds Orchestra.

I am very grateful to Ted Snail, one of our valued volunteers, who produced the 3 minute video that was shown at the event.

This Learning Resource consists of general introductory information about Roma. It is set out in clear sections that can be used in Primary (KS2) and Secondary (KS3) schools, with teachers in higher and further education, other professionals and be of interest to non-school audiences to build a broader understanding about Roma people.
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The final version will be soon available online!

 

Spotlight on Volunteers – Czibi Róbert

Our volunteers are integral to the project and contribute a variety of skills and knowledge. I would like to highlight the contribution the Czibi Róbert. Róbert is an artist who has made some illustrations for the Teacher Resource Pack made up of oral histories and exercises adapted for use in primary schools.

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Thank you Robert!

 

Contribution of historical photographs to the project

Old photographs give us a visual perspective to the project, enhances the narratives provided during the oral history process and are included in our digital Learning Resource. Robert Dawson has kindly donated to us a collection of historical photographs.

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A Roma man with horse and wagon
by river and two apparently ‘gadjo’ (non-Roma) boys 
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A Roma encampment, believed to
be in Germany.

 

Meetings and new connections

The success of this project is dependent on the connections we make with the interviewees, the volunteers key stakeholders and collaborators. All have a significant role to play in ensuring the voices of the Roma people are documented accurately, thoroughly and truthfully for future generations and that the goals of this project are met. All involved with the project accept a responsibility to do justice to the stories told and the people who told them.

In the last few months, several new connections have been made, volunteers have made noteworthy contributions, and significant progress has been made on both the education pack and preparation for the exhibition and Academic Forum.

In May we had a meeting with Nadia Valman, Reader in English Literature, Co-director, Raphael Samuel History Centre, Queen Mary, University of London, to plan the academic seminar, which will take place in October 2019. There will be between three and four academics and each will do a fifteen minutes presentation. Key findings will be explored, as well as having some actual recordings from the interviews. The discussion will be recorded in an online academic journal.

We also had another fruitful meeting with Elise Bath, who is affiliated with the Wiener Library. The Wiener Library is one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era. Staff from the library approached us to look through the Robert Dawson Collection that was donated to us some time ago. The exciting thing is that the Wiener Library are interested in archiving and digitising our photo collection and making it accessible to the wider public –  and this represents another new partnership to our project. I’m also planning to contact their Senior Curator who’s developing an exhibition connected with Roma Sinti experiences during the Holocaust- there might some useful overlap with our exhibition, in terms of material, events, exhibition, contacts, space etc.

We have also been in contact with the Holocaust Educational Trust, regarding presenting our Teachers Resources Pack during one of their teachers’ training; and we sought feedback on our digital Learning Resource from Sila, English as an Additional Language (EAL) Teacher, from Southern Road Primary School before it goes online. Sila’s input was especially useful re: the EAL resources we’ve created.

On the 13th July I attended a reading of a Futurist play by a Roma artist at the Romanian Cultural Institute. It provided a good opportunity to strike another new partnership, and could also be a potential exhibition venue for us for the future!

 

Upcoming events/exhibitions

We are really excited to be finalizing dates and venues for our exhibition. So far we will be exhibiting on the following dates at the following venues:

  • 6th & 7th September 2019 – UCL Institute of Education, London
  • 13th September to 11th October 2019 – Stratford Library, London
  • 28th October to 2nd November & 18th November to 23rd November 2019 – London Metropolitan Archives, London
  • 4th to 16th November 2019 – Bristol (Venue TBC)
  • End of November 2019 – The Wiener library, London (TBC) – Nb. The Wiener library is currently preparing for an in-house exhibition on the Roma experience during WWII taking place in November, a perfect venue for us to display some of our work!

 

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust used one of our Roma Oral History story, i.e. Baronita Adam, and with our collaboration, they produced an online resource available at https://www.hmd.org.uk/resource/baronita-adam/

The story was launched on August 9th 2019.

 

Academic seminar – October 2019

The academic seminar is scheduled for October 2019. I am currently in the process of preparing a 20 minute presentation on the Project’s findings and will also include proposing questions for the academics that will be present. The discussions will be recorded in an online journal.

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