Urban Village: The Roma's Allotment Project
Coventry University and the University of Warwick Partnership Scheme
University of Warwick
Dr. Heidi Ashton, Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies (CCMPS)
Urban Villages aims to bring together Roma and non-Roma to co-create a short film, images and a digital scrapbook exhibition that focuses on the experiences, identity and voices of the Roma people told by the Roma people. The film will then be shared with relevant stakeholders and the wider community to foster closer links and challenge stereotypes.
The project broadly consists of a facilitated workshop to enable the Roma people to create their own voice and digital content for the production of a short film documenting their experiences and expressing their identity. This film and photographic stills will then be presented at a sharing event for Roma people, stakeholders and the wider community.
Digital technologies are changing the way that people receive, engage and consume materials and information. The project team aims to make one medium-length documentary that captures the Allotment project and the voices of the Roma community, with a focus on the Roma women and youth. The digital workshop will be facilitated by Reel Master Productions and Antony Weir and allow the Roma families to produce still and moving images that will feed into the final sharing and online scrapbook.
Within such socially and politically tense moments, arts and digital tools are an entry point and serve as an equaliser to discuss highly charged topics. The documentary and the digital scrapbook exhibition will be collaboratively co-created by Roma and non-Roma and will allow people to engage with the Roma and learn about their stories, journeys within Coventry and also sit online for people to view.
The final sharing will aim to engage local MPs, CoC producers, other organisations and charities working in the field, academics, local artists, CU students, local Roma families and politicians from the region and nation and citizens of Coventry.
The Roma Project has good links with Romanian officials and Council staff and has been visited by Romanian officials. In September 2019 Romanian officials from all over the UK came to visit the charity to learn more about the best practice methods being employed.
- Making creative practices and cultural values of the Roma community visible to the wide audience, fostering empathy through highlighting similarities with other practices, as well as tackling stereotypes.
- Promoting the Roma voice and the arts outputs both as cultural heritage assets, and as resources for the cultural and creative industry value chain and minimize cultural appropriation.
- Raising awareness on cultural appropriation through documenting and promoting authentic and original representations of the Roma culture through creating digital storytelling films and an exhibition that celebrates the work they are carrying out in the community.
- Understanding the needs of the Roma community in Coventry and suggest methodological tools to approach marginalised groups and their empowerment using the arts and digital storytelling as a platform.
- Providing the Roma community with and access to advanced digital technologies and industry players which they would struggle to approach in other environments.
- Allowing the Roma community to share their stories and voices using the arts-producing films and a travelling exhibition. Through sharing the work widely and highlighting these positive stories counternarratives are produced which begin to challenge the erroneous images that exist and are widely circulated.
- Production of recommendations and sustainability plan for relevant parties wishing to engage with the project and understand how similar collaborations and projects might benefit a range of communities.
Long term outcome:
Providing ongoing advice and support to relevant charitable and cultural organisations.