Gypsy Roma Traveller in Higher Education: Influencing Policy
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 findings directly feed into a follow up to the GRT in HE report that was drafted with Baroness Whitaker from Westminster in November 2019 and led by Professor Margaret Greenfields from Buckinghamshire New University (BUCKS) who is a professor of Social Policy & Community Engagement and director of the Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society (IDRICS).
The main activities included in the project consisted of:
- a one-day symposium
- two art exhibitions (Ex libris by Dr Daniel Baker and Generations by Dr Antony Weir)
- provide more evidence in relation to the challenges facing young people before they can begin to access Higher Educaiton
- Ex Libris, a visual collection created by British Gypsy artist Daniel Baker-played with the tension that exists at the university.
- Generations was curated by Rosa Cisneros and brought together local photographer Antony Weir and the Roma Project charity., and the Belgrade Theatre.
- Three films: i) EachForEqual International Women’s Campaogn ii) Generations film iii) GRT in HE Symposium Film
- Extend existing related research activity and support HE institutions in addressing particular social issues facing different vulnerable communities at a local and national level;
- Facilitate the use of existing research and the exchange of knowledge between universities, artists and policymakers
- Carry out events and activities aimed at improving the dialogue between universities, artists and policymakers;
- Activity and training to better equip academics, including postgraduate researchers and early career researchers, to communicate effectively with policymakers;
- Partnerships and collaborations aimed at supporting evidence-based policy making;
- The exchange of people best practices;
- Curate an exhibition that reflects the data and display this in an artistic manner within the university environment.
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 policy makers 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 policy makers and all the key stakeholders will engage for a final time will take place once the lockdown period is over.
- One day symposium
- Curating two exhibitions
- One photographic exhibition - Generations by Antony Weir
- Visual Exhibition - Ex Libris by Daniel Baker