The Romani Cultural and Arts Company was formed in September 2009 as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee (No. 07005660) and is a registered charity (No.1138150). Working through the arts the Company raises funds to take community development and educational projects onto Gypsy, Roma and Traveller sites and into Gorjer and ‘country-folk’ communities across Wales.
While we make considerable use of the arts as a way of engaging with people we are a community development and anti-racist project at heart.
Racism is born of ignorance, the Romani Culture and Arts Company exists to promote a better understanding of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture within and beyond these communities.
The objects of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company set out the changes that we are trying to bring about to make the World a better place.
- To advance the education of the public in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture, in particular but not exclusively, by promoting arts-based community activities.
- The promotion of racial harmony for the public benefit by:
- promoting knowledge and mutual understanding between different racial groups.
- advancing education and raising awareness about different racial groups to promote good relation between persons of different racial groups.
Why is the work of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company needed?
The Romani Cultural and Arts Company is intended to overcome the ignorance and mythology relating to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people living in Wales, and to promote a greater sense of self-worth among members of a community who have largely internalised the racism that they experience.
Racism is widely recognised as anti-social, at least in most cases. However, there is plenty of evidence, in the everyday lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and in academic text, that racism against these people is still perceived as socially acceptable. The following quotes explain why and what affect this has:
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…
This is who we are, – Children’s Society, 2007
Go to most museums, libraries and schools and nothing about their history and culture is kept or taught. The result is a widespread ignorance about who they 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 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller cultures and what they have contributed to this world. As a result they are misunderstood, feared and loathed…
GRTHM – www.grthm.co.uk
The two groups identified as the most threatening – asylum seekers and Travellers – were the only groups with whom most interviewees had had no contact…
Understanding Prejudice, Stonewall, 2004
The Welsh Assembly Government’s own report on the accommodation needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people (Niner, 2006) spoke of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people having ‘distinct demographic and economic characteristics’ and being one of the most socially excluded groups in Britain. It also spoke of the extent to which that social exclusion was reinforced by their experiences of discrimination.
They noted the tendency of the settled community to stereotype and lump all Gypsy-Travellers together, and felt that Gypsy-Travellers are the population group against whom it is still ‘acceptable’ to make racist remarks…
Accommodation Needs of Gypsy-Travellers in Wales, Niner, 2006
The Romani Cultural and Arts Company is a response to these experiences of racism.
‘Gorjer’ is the Roma term for a non-Gypsy while Travellers refer to non-Travellers as ‘country-folk’.