Traveller media goes UK-wide

22nd May 2011
The inside story of media projects with Traveller families in the North East is now being shared with educational departments.

A 45 minute behind-the-scenes documentary and a compilation of highlights from the project have been produced to encourage other areas to celebrate Traveller culture through hands-on media work.

It follows a special exhibition to mark the culmination of the media4me project. Participant Charlotte Smith is pictured at the launch presenting the book she produced to Dr Ailsa Taylor of Brandling School, watched by the Deputy Mayor of Gateshead.

The 2011 Census was the first to recognise Roma, Gypsy and Traveller cultures in their own right. The date was chosen to congratulate the families by showing their work at heritage@St Mary’s in Gateshead. And the venue was significant: next door to the former site for Travellers, which is now the home of The Sage.

On show were videos, digital photography and photostory magazines.

More than 50 members of the Traveller community have worked with Digital Voice, developing storytelling skills and production skills through taking part in workshops based at Brandling School and working with specially selected mentors.

The stories cover a wide range of topics including:

  • a boy sharing his love of music, inspired by his uncle in the Czech Republic
  • the excitment of preparing for a first Holy Communion
  • the hard work of sharing the work at the family auction
  • an insider view of the regular drives as horses trot with carts and sulkies around the roads
  • an animation about a haunted trailer inspired by a story told by one of the fathers
  • the dedication of a boy who has taken up boxing

The participants used equipment provided by Gateshead Council's EMTAS department (Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service) with the Libraries Department, and were supported by schools across Gateshead.

Funding was provided by E-Lamp, Awards for All, the William Handley Trust and the Roy and Pixie Baker Charitable Trust.

Julie Nicholson thanked the large number of Digital Voice associates who have mentored Traveller participants: "We've all found it a privilege to be involved in telling such fascinating stories".

More news stories about projects in our area.