Dorset’s Gypsies and Travellers tell their stories
DEED’s latest project, Positive Stories, is a partnership with Kushti Bok, a charity which provides a voice for the local Gypsy and Traveller community.
The project, funded by Comic Relief, supports Gypsies and Travellers in Dorset to tell their own stories about their lives and have them published in the local press and media. We have already had some success with the Dorset Echo and Blackmore Vale.
Stories include an eye witness account of a Gypsy funeral, reflections on the ‘gorja,’ or non-travelling, way of life and a celebration of Romany Gypsy culture. A local Romany Gypsy woman told us her ‘dream’ as a little girl was of being outside at night under the wagons, “I heard lovely music – the Irish drum, banjos, (typical Gypsy music).”
The project ran workshops on film-making, photography and interview techniques at Hilfield Friary (near Dorchester) and in Piddlehinton on a site for Gypsies and Travellers where we were made very welcome and invited to ta
ke photographs. A small selection you can see below.
The sessions were delivered by local writer Louisa Adjoa Parker, filmmaker Sara Whistance, and photographer Sue Deegan.
We hope this project will enable people from local Gypsy and Traveller communities to tell their own stories and let others know that their lifestyles may be different but their hopes, dreams and concerns for the future are the same as those of the wider community. We hope that these stories will help counter-balance the negative image that many people have of Gypsies and Travellers, who often experience discrimination.
We at Kushti Bok are committed to the success of this project and hope it will help to alleviate the discrimination and prejudice that Romany Gypsies and Travellers still face today
Chair of Kushti Bok, Betty Smith-Billington (A Romany Gypsy)
Please read some of the stories collected below: