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Stories of real Lincolnshire Gypsy lives revealed

By Travelworries  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Comments (4)

AN amazing insight into the real lives of Gypsies and Travellers living in Lincolnshire has been revealed by a new arts project.

 Our Big

Real Gypsy Lives: Bigger. Truer. Happier. is the result of months of

work with young people by the Lincolnshire Traveller Initiative using £48,000

provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 LTI staff joined forces with artists to give around 10 young people

aged between nine and 24 from the Gypsy and Traveller community the opportunity

to create their own poetry and prose and to learn the skills needed to talk to

their elders about their lives and traditions and record the conversations.

 The result is a fascinating portrait of the reality of life inside one

of the county's most marginalised communities in the 21st century.

 David Lambert of Lincoln-based cultural solutions UK, which has

co-ordinated the project on behalf of the LTI, said: "This has been an

incredible journey. We have had to work so hard to gain the trust of a

community which is understandably suspicious of 'outsiders' and we acknowledge

how brave some members of that community have been in choosing to work with us.

 "The results are quite stunning. We have learnt so much about

traditions around food, work, education, the role of women and more from the

older people, while the young people have produced some incredible pieces of

poetry and prose which, we hope, will give the 'settled' community an insight

into the challenges and joys in their lives.

 "People have shared stories with the young people as interviewers

about subjects as diverse as how they choose schools for their children and the

increasing importance of a good education to how to catch and cook a hedgehog

the traditional way – although the young people certainly weren't keen on

dining on one."

 The results of the project, which include a book documenting the

interviews and showcasing the young people's writing, a professionally-made

documentary film, an audio CD, photographs, a touring exhibition and a new LTI

website will be unveiled at a special gathering at the Gordon Boswell Romany

Museum in Spalding on Wednesday February 27.

 An education pack, which will be used in Lincolnshire schools and is

based on the work the project has produced, will also be launched at the event.

It is aimed at children aged  seven to

13.

 English, art, craft, history, discussions and other classroom activities

contained in the pack will help to raise awareness and understanding of Gypsy

and Traveller lifestyles.

 Paul Boucher of the LTI said: "This project has been a wonderful

extension of the work we do with Gypsy and Traveller children and young people

across Lincolnshire on a regular basis.

 "It was inspirational watching the young people's confidence grow as

they carried out this very important work capturing the details of their lives

so that they can be shared with the wider community and, particularly, with

other children in Lincolnshire schools.

 "Hopefully what we have done will improve understanding of one of

Britain's most misunderstood cultures and have an impact on the number of

racially-motivated incidents against them that are reported each year."

 Work on researching and creating the elements of the project, including

the film and audio recordings, began in June last year

 A creative team from across the country was recruited to work with the

charity. It included social artist Katie Smith from Boston, who worked with the

young people on issues of identity through photography and writing,

London-based film-maker Charlotte  Bill

and creative writer Charlotte Ansell.  

 The team held several sessions with young Travellers at sites around

the county, including Grantham, Gainsborough, Beckingham, Gosberton and Spalding.

 

 The gathering which will introduce the project's work takes place at

the Gordon Boswell Romany Museum at Clay Lake, Spalding, on February 27 from

11am-1.30pm. There are limited places available for visitors but they must be

reserved in advance via leanne@leannectaylor.co.uk

 

 Lincolnshire Traveller

Initiative works across the whole county to help members of Gypsy and Traveller

communities get access to a range of learning courses from different training

providers. It also develops its own training courses.

 It is supported by

Lincolnshire County Council. The county council's continuing support means

Travellers and Gypsies across the county can benefit from the charity's

specialist advice, support and unique teaching techniques.

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4 comments

  • paper  |  February 25 2013, 1:43AM

    It's obvious the gypsies do their own editing & proof reading too!

    Rate   4
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  • Sir_Chasm  |  February 24 2013, 8:23AM

    "What a waste of money. This could have been used to help the poor and needy" Bit like your broadband subscription, then.

    Rate   10
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  • Pru_Freda  |  February 23 2013, 6:51PM

    Is the varying length of lines and frequent changes of font mid-sentence supposed to be clever, because I just found it really annoying?

    Rate   7
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  • Panda22  |  February 23 2013, 6:38PM

    What a waste of money. This could have been used to help the poor and needy

    Rate   -4
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