Roma: Recycle Reuse Reimagine: Co-Production with artists, Roma women and families
Research England Participatory Research Fund
PI and Project Team Members
Rosa Cisneros (PI)
Raluca Maria Polodeanu (Freeland videographer, director of Reel Master Productions)
Yassmin S. (Roma Woman from gassroots community)
Claudia Tranca and Bernie Flatley (Roma Project Charity)
Duration of Project
January - March 2022
In 2020-2021 Cisneros was awarded 1 of the 4 ArtsAdmin Seasons for Change commissions to create collaborative works centred around under-represented communities in the climate movement. Cisneros directed and led Roma:Recycle-Reuse-Reimagine, a project that brought together Roma and non-Roma to work together to co-create a children's book that was shared with services, schools, artists and others whom are not culturally aware and sensitive of the Roma community.
Cisneros was commissioned to co-create the book and lead on the project through co-producing a children’s book and using art and participatory methods to explore climate justice with vulnerable communities. Thanks to several individuals and organisations the book was devised and designed with the support of many grassroots Roma families located in 8 cities across the UK. The book was co-created during the several lockdowns and to support the process, Cisneros worked with a local Roma woman and videographer to create materials that could be reused during the project. Because we knew some of the Roma families involved were illiterate, we created films of an adult reading children’s books in Romanes and Romanian-LINK. Local members helped with creating these resources. The final children’s book was written in English and printed and distributed nationwide to schools and services and was co-authored by 25+ children and families.
- What is co-creation?
- How can academics, artists and grassroots community members work together in an egalitarian fashion? Why is this important? What impact does this mode of working have on the ground level?
- What lessons did the team learn?
- How did a children’s book engage Roma families to discuss social justice?
Visit Roma:-Recycle-Reuse-Reimagine website.
At the end of the project we realised we would love to co-create a medium-length film about the project including the families, translate the book into Romanes and Romanian and print copies and give to families and key stakeholders, and finally create a film with the kids reading the book in English, Romanes and Romanian. However, the commission didn’t cover this work but know it would be valuable for the project, reach, impact and Cisneros’ research. Having identified this gap and need, this current call and opportunity supports a phase 2 of the project which will inform my current research at C-DaRE with the EU-Funded project WEAVE, that is focussed on bringing cultural communities into academic and artistic institutions.
This phase 2 would also offer an opportunity for the families to co-create a film with Cisneros and the artists, further supporting the artistic ecology while also develop the families’ co-creative skills. This follow on the RRRR project would support the legacy of the co-creation research while also further develop the work of the network, the WEAVE project, underpin academic paper and inform future bids and a possible case study on Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The book has received coverage in several media channels, of recent the Coventry Telegraph published an article on 9th January and 16th January. Prior to this second pot of funding the book was added to several local and national public libraries, used by schools in the UK and the German Documentation and Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma added it to its library and archive.
This phase 2 allowed the research team to have an even broader reach and bigger social and academic impact. The book in the three languages has been sent to artists, families, local libraries and schools throughout the UK, and will be a resource for a Climate Sisters workshop with WEN (Women's Environmental Network) for Roma women run by Romano Lav (Scotland). In addition to the work reaching primary schools and being embedded in school curriculums, the work has also informed EU-Funded Research projects, such as the CEF WEAVE Project: Widen European access to cultural communities via Europeana. The book in the various languages has also been sent to the Sheffield children’s NHS’s intranet system and will be used in various activities with families and staff. Lastly, chief executive Stephen Betts from Learn Sheffield has pledged to print and send a copy of the book to all of the primary schools in Sheffield (South Yorkshire).
List of Outputs
For this second phase we aim to do the following:
- Produce a medium-length film with BSL that is co-created with the families and Reel Master Productions
- Recording of families reading the books for online reuse:
- 1 young person reading in Romanian
- 1 Roma woman reading in Romanes
- 1 Roma young person reading in English
- Translate the book into Romanes and Romanian
- Printing new version of book in Romanes and Romanian and give out to families, services, schools
- Hold online event within the EU-Funded WEAVE project showcasing new content generated and co-created with families across the UK