Conference "Visibility and Recognition of Roma Culture: Putting Roma
Culture on the Map"
With the support of the
Programme of the European Union
7 October 2010,
Council of Europe, Agora Building, Strasbourg, France
Finding out more about the Roma heritage and way of life.
This heritage conference marks the official launch of the 'Roma Routes' project. Heritage partners and Roma representatives from the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Romania and Slovenia, will explain plans to explore, celebrate and develop best practice in making Roma culture visible across Europe.
Roma Routes is a project made up of a partnership of heritage organisations including museums, some have established relationships with Roma groups and some are at the beginning of making contacts and working with Roma communities. Each country will have events show casing Roma culture which will lay the groundwork of a Roma Route of Culture and Heritage, supported by the Council of Europe.
The aim of the project is to explore a variety of ways in which these issues can be addressed, within the framework of ‘personal contact’, ‘familiarity with difference’, ‘positive engagement’ and ‘good relations between Roma and non-Roma members of the public’. This will involve pilot actions which will be carried out in ways relevant to different parts of Europe; the actions will be reviewed and the lessons learned collated and published (on line) to inform future action.
Engagement through heritage is a non-confrontational and attractive method of communication, which allows Roma culture to be seen and understood, away from the tensions of policing, housing etc. Roma have the opportunity to communicate with knowledge and confidence through a range of cultural media including song, dance, artefacts, family history, food and customs.
Over the next 2 years the project will support 2 international conferences. There will a month of celebrations in Slovenia, lectures and music in Germany, commemoration of the Roma who died in the holocaust, a summer camp for Roma and non Roma young people in Romania, Roma people performing for the first time in a museum in Athens and many opportunities for Roma musicians and artists to perform. There will also be a chance for Roma to become more established in main stream culture, for example by making contributions to work in schools in Romania and becoming guides in the museum in Greece.
By providing a forum for Roma and heritage organisations to develop strong working relationships, and by promoting communication between Roma from different countries, it will allow an exploration of the diversity and commonality of Roma cultural heritage and a firm basis from which to develop future activity. It will provide a platform from which the Roma Route of Culture and Heritage can be developed and links can be pursued with partners across Europe interested in furthering this process.