Page 1






Make this June a OFIO EC7 H7L;BB;H month to remember What’s happening, why, and how to get involved INSIDE THIS SPECIAL TRAVELLERS’ TIMES SUPPLEMENT Why we need a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month Poster Competition

A national and regional event with prizes in many categories.

GRTHM website

Regularly updated to show new events and the latest news.

Who’s Involved?

The Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities that are backing our first GRT history month

A month, for, by and about our communities From Kent to Cumbria, the people you need to contact to get involved

Your history needs you? How you can get involved in celebrating your own history


Times and places to be this June

What is Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month?

Britain’s 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have lived, worked and travelled throughout Britain for over 500 years, yet we have been almost entirely written out of British history. Go to most museums, libraries and schools and nothing about our history and culture is kept or taught. The result is a widespread ignorance about who we are, which sometimes turns to hatred, fear and misunderstanding. In schools, children learn more about the Romans, Vikings or even fairies than they do about our cultures and what we have contributed to this world. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history month aims to change that. Ninety years ago the Black community realised how powerful remembering and sharing their history could be. So this June, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are coming together, with central government backing, to begin the long overdue task of educating the British public about who we are and where we come from. We’re doing it for one simple reason: if people do not realise that we were an important part of Britain’s past, they will never accept us as a crucial part of Britain’s future.

be published in May and September and look at our website If you can sing, dance, carve, tell stories, read poems, play the spoons, show off your old wagon or horses, or share your past in any way contact your regional organiser (see back page) and help put on an event or join in with another in your area.

The hard facts:

Quite simply, ignorance about who we are and where we come from leads to ruined lives.

• The Children’s Society reports that nearly 9 out of every 10 children and young people from a Gypsy background have suffered racial abuse and nearly two thirds have also been bullied or physically attacked.

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month will celebrate our culture and history by tackling the negative stereotyping and prejudices that have led to this situation.

• The Department for Children Schools and Families recognises that the educational achievement of Gypsy Roma and Traveller youth is the worst in the country

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history month is a partnership between our communities and those in local and central government who want to help us, but it needs the active involvement of everybody from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community to succeed.

• The Department of Health accepts that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have the worst health and lowest life expectancy in the country

At the very least please go to the events in June, read the History Month magazine to

For more information see the websites

“You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies. You may tread me down in the very dirt, but still like the dust I rise.”

H7L;BB;H and it’s time to be proud of it” OFIO EC7 genocide “We have a culture that has survived HISTORY MONTH KD;Ãqyyw

A National and Regional History Month Event




We are running a national Art Poster competition for schools/organisations and individuals. The idea is to create an image to celebrate GRT History Month in June. Prizes in numerous categories will be presented to winners in the House of Lords on June 2nd. The competition itself was launched by Lord Avebury – a staunch supporter of the GRTHM – on 19th February at the House of Lords.



trace our history across time and space; find out about our great achievements and learn about our struggles for survival. The overall competition winner will have their entry printed and available for purchase from the GRTHM website. Professional artists from our communities will judge and select the most interesting work for an exhibition in June. Four professional community artists – Ferdinand Koci, Daniel Baker, Damien Le Bas and Delaine Le Bas – were commissioned to produce images for a set of quality Art Posters. These original artworks are to inspire and encourage people to enter the National and Regional poster competition. You can find out more about the competition at or by contacting GRTAS in Leeds. We will send you a flyer which includes the rules and an entry form.

Lord Avebury discussing Delaine Le Bas’ work Entrants are to create an image to celebrate our communities and are encouraged to

Sets of posters are now available to buy from GRT Achievement Service in Leeds. Contact details are on the back page of this supplement.

Get your entries in 5th – 9th May 2008!

For more information see the websites and

• Poster sets are available to buy • Striking A2 size posters supplied rolled in a sturdy protective tube • Together as a set these images show a mixture of contemporary and historical GRT lifestyles and language • Art that will stimulate the eye and provoke discussion and debate

STOP PRESS! A fifth art poster by Showman artist Lloyd Holland has been has been added to the set. See for more details.

Who’s Getting Involved? Professional artists, actors, film makers, wagon restorers, horsemen, storytellers, musicians and other talented people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities are all getting involved. In schools, museums, libraries, cinemas, race courses, parks, and even aerodromes, they will be breaking down the ignorance about who we are and were we come from. From Scottish Traveller storytellers such as Jess Smith and Sheila Stewart MBE to Kent based wagon restorers Obie Brazil and Henry Elliott, every county across England will be holding events that are open to all. In London, Roma bands will be blending their traditional music with modern Romany hip-hop and Gypsy Jazz. In West Yorkshire, Irish Traveller actor and activist Michael Collins will be performing his successful play ‘It’s a Cultural Thing, or is it?’ as part of the celebrations. Professional Roma artist Ferdinand Koci will also be holding art workshops in schools in June. But this June is also about giving all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers a chance to share our

culture or history. So if you’ve got a story or poem to tell, a craft you’d like to show off, or a song you’d like to sing, step forward and do it. The GRTHM website will draw together individuals and organisations into a national directory of culture and history. If you want to be added to this directory do so online at /directory.html. If you don’t have access to the internet please complete the form on the back of this Traveller’s Times supplement. Another useful page on the website is /suggestionbox.html where you can leave comments and ideas you may have, or things you might want want to see as part of the GRT History Month in June.

Storyteller Jess Smith (top left), artist Ferdinand Koci (top right), actor Michael Collins and Sheila Stewart MBE will be joining the Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month celebrations.

Please visit the website to find out more about GRTHM 2008. You can leave your suggestions and sign up to our GRT directory.



“Nearly 90% of Gypsy Roma Traveller children suffer racial abuse”

The Whole Story Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history is a long and diverse story. From the Egyptians Act, under which being a Gypsy was a hanging offence, to the Holocaust, which saw the murder of at least 500,000 Gypsies, it’s often been a story of survival against great odds

The communities involved in this month are those with an ethnic or cultural identity and history across many generations connected to travelling life. They are:

But it’s also been a story of different communities, living and working alongside each other, from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller contribution to Britain’s wars to our contribution to the rural economy.

Many of those already involved with the month are individuals from these communities that feel it’s time our story was heard. But civil rights, trade and religious organisations representing the communities are also formally involved.

But who are the communities involved in this month, and what parts of their history will be told?

• • • •

Romany Gypsies Roma Irish and Scottish Travellers Showman, Circus and Bargee families

Together, with Traveller Education Services across Britain, central government and heritage organisations they are working together to make June a month to remember. They won’t be painting a rose-tinted picture of the past, but a real picture that remembers persecution and



discrimination and our contribution to British life. Because, as the saying goes; “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!”, both young and old HISTORY MONTH KD;Ãqyyw people from the communities will be involved.


Gypsies and Travellers meet in Woking to plan local events in the South-East.

History Month National Coordinator

With so many communities and places “My car was vandalised and “pikey” scratched on involved, it’s difficult to keep track of all the paintwork. The following year an effigy of me was carried through the streets of Lewes – that’s going on. Luckily, Gypsy Roma at the Lewes Bonfire – and burnt. Luckily, I have Traveller History Month has a national been able to use this experience as a radicalising coordinator until July. Her name is force in my work with my community.” Patricia Knight. She says: “I look forward to meeting and working with “As a Romany Gypsy, first generation settled and educated at University level, I have always been extremely proud of my people and culture.” Patricia became more involved in Gypsy activism when effigies of Gypsy women and children were burnt in her home village of Firle in East Sussex. She spoke out, but then became a target herself.

you all over the coming weeks and in the month of June. This, the first GRTHM presents a unique opportunity to positively promote our communities in a unified way, building on the celebration of our culture and diversity already marked by international Roma day every April.” I hope GRTHM will enable all peoples of nomadic heritage to consolidate shared history

and experience laying the foundation for a collection vision of our future position in society as well as a shared memory of our past. Grace Nichols the poet wrote:

We have crossed an ocean and we have lost our tongue, but from the roots of the old one a newMONTH one has sprung. HISTORY KD;Ãqyyw


Contact Patricia Knight: 07859 026996 or email:



Regions and contacts

For further GRTHM information contact your region organiser Get involved, and celebrate GRTHM 2008. There are 8 regions that cover the whole of England. Each has a main contact who either works for a Traveller education service or is from a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller community. Get in touch with your local representative below to volunteer your services or find out in more detail what is happening in your area. National Coordinator: Patricia Knight

Telephone: 01273 858746 or 07859 026996 Email:

North West

Kath Cresswell 01204 338150/33

North East

Peter Saunders 0113 274 8050

West Midlands

Trish McDonald 01902 714646

East Midlands

Siobhan Spencer 01629 583300 Nigel Groom 01332 256740


Tim Everson 01473 583530 Thomas Acton 0208 331 8923

South East

Jake Bowers 07966 786242




Rocky Deans 0208 937 3329

South West TBC

Highlights of what’s happening in June For latest details go to /whatson.html



If you don’t have access to our website to be added to our GRT directory, offer your services or make a suggestion for GRT history month, please fill in and return the form below.



2nd June: 1.00 - 3.00pm House of Lords presentation by Lord Avebury to the winners of the poster competition

Name: ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

5th - 9th June: Appleby Horsefair, Appleby Cumbria


6th - 7th June: Epsom Derby, Epsom Surrey


24th June: Cambridge Fair, Midsummer Common, Cambridge 27th June: Northern Conference Leeds Civic Hall Gypsy Roma Traveller, Participation, Aspiration and Achievement

Produced by GRTAS Leeds and the Gypsy Media Company Ltd. (07966 786242). Design Graham Alexander (0794 648 3970). Thanks to Travellers’ Times for their support.

Organisation / School / Individual (please delete as necessary):


Post code: ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Telephone: ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Email address: ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Comment/Suggestion/Statement: ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������



KD;Ãqyyw �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� HISTORY MONTH


The Gypsy Media Company

Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service Leeds West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds, LS16 5BE Telephone: 0113 274 8050

Return to: Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service Leeds, West Park Centre, Spen Lane, Leeds LS16 5BE Telephone: 0113 274 8050 email:

department for

children, schools and families





Traveller Times Insert  
Traveller Times Insert  

Four page supplement specially produced for the Traveller Times Magazine, promoting Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2008