Friends Families and Travellers have a long history of leading on trainings, campaigns, producing educational materials, curating artistic collaborations and working horizontally with Gypsy, Roma and Travellers. In 2021 Suzanna King approached C-DaRE’s Rosa Cisneros to choreograph the dance portion of the restaging of Crystal’s Vardo, a piece directed by King herself. The piece was being reworked for camera and King was keen to develop certain sections and produce a teacher’s resource pack. The two continued to collaborate and for the Yellow Couch Convos Podast Series, Cisneros sat down with actors and musicians involved in the new theatre production.
For this WEAVE LabDay Cisneros, King and actors and musicians involved in the production will sit down and discuss Crystal’s Vardo and the importance of such works to reflect on racism, bullying and the value of generating teacher’s resources. Participants will see excerpts of the work, meet part of the cast, have access to the teacher’s materials and ask the team questions about how to implement this work in their settings.
Below the recording of the event:
MORE ON CRYSTAL’S VARDO :
The story is told through the eyes of Crystal, a young Gypsy girl who has been bullied at school.
Crystal is one among so many young Travellers who experience racist bullying at school and for this reason many do not continue into secondary education. Only through education and raising awareness can we address this issue and from this belief came the idea to write Crystal’s Vardo.
Through powerful and compelling theatre, Crystal’s Vardo weaves the histories and cultures of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities into one story. The aim of the play is to raise awareness of the persecution of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities through the centuries and to reflect on the ways this manifests as anti-Gypsyism today.
Crystal’s Vardo artistic vision is to:
raise awareness about the rich histories and cultures of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities,
influence and initiate change by inspiring empathy and compassion in our audiences,
affirm the cultural identity of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people by exploring and celebrating the respective cultures and identities,
to inspire dialogue and break down barriers between communities.
‘Everything about the film was excellent! Crystal’s reactions to the situations she experienced and people she met through time allowed the children to empathise with her and to understand how Gypsies, Travellers and Romani people have experienced prejudice, discrimination and persecution over the centuries.’
Importance of Films and Visuals within the Roma Recycle Project
Date: 18th March 2022
Time: 09.45-11.00 UK, 10.45-12.00 CET
Venue: Online (Zoom)
Roma families from across the UK were involved in the Roma: Recycle Reuse Reimagine project, funded by Seasons for Change. March 18th is International Recycling Day and the WEAVE team screened the Roma Recycle film, which captures the R:RRR project and includes families involved. The film illustrates the co-creative process of working online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Capacity Building LabDay outlined the project, describe the process of generating inclusive, multilingual materials for schools and families to use on the theme of recycling. Resources and tips were shared followed by a Q&A session. At the event Roma women involved in the making of the book were welcomed: Claudia Tranca from the Roma Project (Coventry), Maria Polodeanu from Reel Master Productions, Martine Smith Equity Lead from Maindee Primary School (Wales).
The Role of Artist Residencies in the Promotion of Roma Contemporary Art
Date: 19th November 2021
Time: 11:00-12.30 CET
Online via Zoom
Language: English and Hungarian
For centuries, art-loving benefactors regarded the offering of guest studios to individual artists as a kind of romantic patronage, enabling artists to live and create in bucolic settings. Artist residencies provide artists with the time, space, and materials they need to create new work or to focus on their artwork-related research. Moreover, residencies are important career boosters because they provide artists with the opportunity to form relationships with their peers and receive mentoring from influential artists and industry professionals.
The vast majority of Roma artists, however, lack the prerequisites to be invited to many artist residencies. This system tends to exclude self-taught artists, artists who have not graduated from arts programmes at elite white institutions, and artists who do not have powerful advocates. The consequence of so many Roma artists being shut out of higher tier residencies is that they remain with lower industry status, receive little publicity, achieve fewer museum acquisitions, and their work is sold at lower price points.
Since 2020, the joint programme of Villa Romana Florence and ERIAC has been the premier residency for artists of Roma descent. During our webinar, we will discuss the role of art residencies in advancing individual careers and the promotion of marginalised cultures. The cultural managers behind the trailblazing initiative, Angelika Stepken of Villa Romana and ERIAC’s Timea Junghaus was joined by the 2021 artists-in-residence L´uboš Kotlar and Norbert Oláh, to discuss the pros and cons of this kind of positive action targeting ethnicity in the field of arts and culture.
This webinar is organised within the framework of WEAVE – Widen European Access to Cultural Communities Via Europeana and RomaMoMA, a project of IMEI – International Membership Engagement Initiative.
Panel speakers: Timea Junghaus (ERIAC Executive Director), Angelika Stepken (Villa Roma Florence Director), Norbert Oláh (Artist in Residence, Villa Romana Florence, 2021), L´uboš Kotlar (Artist in Residence, Villa Romana Florence, 2021), Selma Selman (Artist)
Moderator: Katarzyna Pabijanek
Discussion held in English with Hungarian interpretation.
The ERIAC WEAVE LabDay aligns with the WEAVE capacity-building strand of the work, which explores the ethical dimension of the project in relation to representation. Within WEAVE, we carry out several capacity-building activities to develop a closer connection between cultural heritage institutions (CHIs), minority cultural communities, and Europeana. These pillars of the WEAVE project link directly to safeguarding principles that allow for critical reflection on ethical principles, in terms of space, access and the “effects” of a lack of access to certain residencies. Ironically, another kind of tension emerges when there is an “active invitation for underrepresented communities” – through which the residency or call becomes merely an exercise that ticks all the right boxes and appears to be inclusive, yet is removed from valuing the individual artist. Perhaps this perspective of the paradox and tension reveals the need for generating a space where Roma artists are valued and respected.
Other complex issues that emerge for Roma artists concern the application fees and processes, the gender dimension that may be tied to caring responsibilities, and the way artists are expected to navigate digital platforms and have a strong digital presence. Within this framework, the third ERIAC LabDay explored the above context and invited our guests to reflect on their own experiences, while also offering possible alternatives and solutions.
11:00 – 11:10 Welcome and Introduction
Katarzyna Pabijanek, moderator, Project Manager of RomaMoMA
Rosa Cisneros, WEAVE – Widen European Access to Cultural Communities Via Europeana
11:10 – 11:30 Presentations
Timea Junghaus, Executive Director ERIAC
Angelika Stepken, Director Villa Romana
L´uboš Kotlar, Artist in Residence, Villa Romana Florence, 2021
(Norbert Oláh, Artist in Residence, Villa Romana Florence, 2021
Selma Selman, Artist who has taken part in many international residencies, currently at Rijksakademie Amsterdam
On November 5, the World Day of Romani Language, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) organized the Second International Conference “Safeguarding Our Romani Language”, in partnership with the Council of Europe and the University of Graz. The conference is organized in the framework of the International Membership Engagement Initiative, financed by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, in connection with WEAVE (Widen European Access to Cultural Communities Via Europeana) LabDay series.
Our goal is to establish cooperation for language harmonization at an international level, to design future strategies for preserving the language heritage, and to fulfil the general need in Europe for Romani language education.
The conference brought together experts, practitioners and legislators who participate in the protection and promotion of the Romani language. The aim of the event was to oversee the status of Romani, to discuss the issues of language preservation, the topic of transnational harmonization, as well as the practices in Romani language education.
This year we put special emphasis on the theme of heritage preservation involving digital tools, thanks to the connection with the WEAVE project, that is extremely relevant and coherent within the scope of the conference, as it aims to develop a framework to link the tangible and intangible heritage of cultural communities, safeguarding the rich and invaluable cultural heritage which they represent via digital cultural heritage promotion.
The conference was held online, providing a platform for international participants from various countries. Special significance was given to the use of Romani during the event.
In this LabDay organized by partner ERIAC, a discussion was launched to promote a more permanent exhibition of Roma art and heritage in the context of the prestigous Venice Contemporary Art Biennale. The event allowed participants to ask questions directly to the panellists.
In the past there have been various exhibitions of Roma culture at Venice Biennale, in 2007, 2011 and 2019, which represent the greatest efforts ever made by Roma to present Roma art in an international stage in the center of contemporary cultural diplomacy. But in the lack of collecting, archiving and museum institutions to house artefacts once these Roma exhibitions are dismantled, their histories become vulnerable and their achievements carry on only as interpersonal – and later transgenerational knowledge, which slowly – with the means of digital remembrance – constitute a new form of intangible cultural heritage. The Roma exhibitions are not connected to the prestigious locations, and known spaces of the Venice Biennale, but to the non-spaces of digital-discussions, oral histories, letter and in-person exchange, archival documents and digital exhibitions.
The “Exhibition” of the largest European minority is considered a “collaborative event”, and not a national pavilion. Roma do not have a national pavilion/building/space, while being the largest national minority to many of the exhibiting national representations. As a consequence, the precarious Roma minority’s presence at the Biennale is possible only if Roma pay the entrance fee as a collaborative event (30,500 Euros) to the Biennale Office, in addition to spending to rent the exhibition space in Venice. In these circumstances, the chance for permanent, tangible representation of Roma in the most prestigious European art event is unimaginable.
The Labday discussion mitigates the need for a permanent Roma Pavilion as the place to motivate the development of innovative projects and experimental cross-disciplinary work of Roma. In the context of the Venice Biennale, the Roma Pavilion has the potential to become the safe space won by the Roma struggle, a place of intuition, new ideas, discourses, and trends in European contemporary art.
14:00 – 14:10 LABDAY INTRODUCTION
Dr. Rosa Cisneros, Coordinator of Activity 1 WEAVE, dancer and choreographer, dance historian and critic, Roma scholar, sociologist, flamenco historian.
14:10 – 15:05 PRESENTATIONS of PANELLISTS
Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, Host, Head of Office, Council of Europe representation in Venice, supporter of ERIAC’s initiatives for cultural inclusion, e.g. FUTUROMA Exhibition in 2019, the 2022 exhibition
Timea Junghaus, Art historian, contemporary art curator, Executive director of ERIAC, curator of the Roma Exhibition PARADISE LOST at the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale (2007)
Prof. Dr. Ethel Brooks, Associate Professor at Rutgers University (U.S), School of Arts and Science, and Chair of Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Research interests: Visual Cultures, Artistic Practice, Camps and Encampment, Digital Media and Belonging, Nationalism, Post-colonialism and Critical Race Theory
Daniel Baker, artist of Call The Witness Exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); curator of the FUTUROMA Exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Jury of Roma Exhibition Venice Biennale (2022)
Miguel Ángel Vargas, Art historian, theatre director, Flamenco researcher, member of Factoría Cultural – Polígono Sur, Institute for Culture and Arts of the Council of Seville and Jury of Roma Exhibition Venice Biennale (2019 and 2022)
Ilina Schileru, graphic artist, cultural manager and curator of Eugen Raportoru: The Abduction From The Seraglio & Roma Women | Performativity and the Politics of Healing and Listening at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022)
Eugen Raportoru, painter, visual artist, selected artist of Roma Exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022)
15:05 – 15:35 DISCUSSION
The discussion will unfold around three topics: 1. Lessons Learned 2. Difficulties of Establishing a Roma Pavilion 3. Solutions and Future Scenarios
15:35 – 15:50 Q&A
15:50 – 16:00 FINAL REMARKS
Daniel Baker (1961, United Kingdom) is a Romani Gypsy artist, researcher, and curator. Originally from Kent, and currently based in London, his work is exhibited internationally and can be found in collections across the globe. Baker earned a PhD in 2011 from the Royal College of Art, with his dissertation, “Gypsy Visuality: Gell’s Art Nexus and its Potential for Artists”, after previously earning an MA in Sociology/Gender and Ethnic Studies from Greenwich University, and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design. Baker has contributed to numerous exhibitions, held various residencies, and curated several commissions. He previously worked as an exhibitor and consultant for the first and second Roma events at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia – “Paradise Lost” and “Call the Witness”, which took place during the 52nd and 54th International Art Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia, respectively. For more information about Baker and his revolutionary work, visit www.danielbaker.net
Prof. Dr. Ethel Brooks is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University. She has conducted research on a host of sites around the world including in London, Istanbul, Fall River, San Salvador, Dhaka and York City. Brooks is the author of Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organizing and Women’s Work (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) which received the award for Outstanding Book for 2010 from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the co-editor of the special issue of WSQ on “Activisms.” She has contributed articles to a number of academic journals, including Nevi Sara Kali and International Working Class History, as well as book chapters in Sweatshop USA: The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective, Eds. Daniel A Bender and Richard Greenwald, (Routledge, 2003) and Sociology Confronts the Holocaust: Memories and Identities in Jewish Diasporas, Eds. Judith Gerson and Diane L. Wolf (Duke University Press, 2007). Professor Brooks is currently working on two book projects: Disrupting the Nation: Land Tenure, Productivity and the Possibilities of a Romani Post-Coloniality, and (Mis)Recognitions and (Un)Acknowledgements: Visualities, Productivities and the Contours of Romani Feminism, both of which focus on political economy and cultural production and the increasing violence against Romani (Gypsy) citizens worldwide. Her op-eds on the expulsion of Romani people in various European countries have recently appeared on “The Guardian”. She is also writing an article on “Missing Pakistanis: Gender, Citizenship and the Muslim Everyday,” on the limits and possibilities of writing about Pakistanis in the wake of the war on terror. In 2011 Prof. Brooks was awarded a prestigious Fulbright-University of the Arts London Distinguished Chair Award and she spent the academic year 2011/2012 at TrAIN, the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation. Part of the award supported Prof. Brooks’ delivery of a lecture series in conjunction with the Tate Gallery, London.
Dr. Rosa Cisneros is a dancer and choreographer, Dance Historian and Critic, Roma Scholar, Sociologist, Flamenco Historian and Peace Activist who graduated from UW-Madison and went on to complete her Master’s in Dance History and Criticism from UNM-Albuquerque (USA). Her PhD is in Sociology with a focus on Roma women, intersectionality, dialogic feminism and communicative methodologies. Rosamaria is a professional dancer, choreographer, curator and qualified teacher, who has lived and danced in various parts of the world and collaborated with many Flamenco greats and other leaders in the Dance field. She has taught throughout Europe and the US at places like UW-Madison, UIUC, Boston Conservatory, Brown University and at various other places in Germany, Spain and Turkey. She is a dance writer who makes regular contributions to Bachtrack Magazine and Flamenco News having also danced with Protein Dance Company in the UK. Rosamaria is involved in various EU funded projects which aim to make education accessible to vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities and sits on various Boards: Roma Coventry Project (UK), Drom Kotar Mestipen Roma Women’s Association (Spain) and the Early Dance Circle (UK). At the moment she is a Research fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research based in the UK. She is also an independent artist, dancer, curator and teacher who has organised various festivals and exhibitions. Her dance films have screened in the UK, US, Colombia, Mexico, Greece, Cyprus and Germany and her latest documentary won best documentary from the UK in 2016. She has started her own production company, RosaSenCis Film Production Co., which worked on the Society for Dance Research Oral History Project. The company aims to create dance films and documentaries that capture stories and reflect embodied traditions that might otherwise be lost. She has also managed major EU-Funded projects and local City of Culture Partnership projects. Rosamaria collaborates closely with the University of Barcelona’s Community of Researchers for Excellence for All (CREA). She sits on academic Journals as an editorial assistant and those include the Journal for Embodied Practices and International Journal of Romani Studies.
Timea Junghaus is an art historian and contemporary art curator. She started in the position of Executive Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture in September 2017. Previously, Junghaus was Research Fellow of the Working Group for Critical Theories at the Institute for Art History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2010-2017). She has researched and published extensively on the conjunctions of modern and contemporary art with critical theory, with particular reference to issues of cultural difference, colonialism, and minority representation. She is completing her Ph.D. studies in Cultural Theory at the Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest. In recognition of her curatorial activities, Junghaus received the Kairos – European Cultural Price from the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S., in 2008. Her curatorial works include the Roma component of the Hidden Holocaust- exhibition in the Budapest Kunsthalle (2004), Paradise Lost – the First Roma Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale (2007), the Archive and Scholarly Conference on Roma Hiphop (2010), The Romani Elders and the Public Intervention for the Unfinished Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Murdered Under the National Socialist Regime in the frame of the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), the (Re-)Conceptualizing Roma Resistance – exhibition and education program in Hellerau, Dresden (2015) and the Goethe Institute, Prague (2016). She is the curator of the Visual Arts Section for RomArchive – Digital Archive of the Roma, funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes (2015-2018). Junghaus was the founding director of Gallery8 – Roma Contemporary Art Space (www.gallery8.org) in Budapest (2013-2017), the winner of the 2014 Catalyst Contemporary Art Award (of Tranzit Hungary) and the 2014 Otto Pankok Prize awarded by the For Roma Foundation of German writer and Literary Nobel Laureate, Günter Grass.
Luisella Pavan Woolfe was born in Trieste, Italy and graduated in Political Science magna cum laude from the University of Padua. Here she subsequently became assistant professor of Anglo-American law. As an official of the European Commission for over thirty years, she developed new policies and legislation in the areas of environment protection, equality between women and men and people with disabilities. She also managed funds which support vocational training, employment and education in the European Union. She was the first Director for Equal Opportunities to be nominated by the European Commission. As such she was responsible for the European Union’s policy developments in the area of gender equality and fight against all forms of discrimination. In 2007 she was appointed Representative to the Council of Europe. Subsequently as staff of the European External Action Service, she opened the European Union Delegation to the Council of Europe. She worked in Strasbourg as the first resident EU Ambassador to the Council of Europe and head of delegation from 2010 to 2014. Her mandate covered human rights and democratic governance in wider Europe. In September 2014 she became Principal Advisor Global Issues in the European External Action Service, with special responsibility for food security. From July 2015 she is the director of the Council of Europe office in Venice. She is the author of several articles on European matters. She has written a book on the interrelations between employment policy and social issues in Europe. She was awarded the 1998 European prize by the Bellisario Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs.
Eugen Raportoru (b. 1961, Bucharest) visual artist with a specialization in painting. Eugen Raportoru has a masters degree at the Bucharest National University of Arts, Department of Painting, and is the only Romanian artist of Roma origin to have exhibited his works in London at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Vatican under the aegis of UNESCO, and in Scandinavia at the Ethnic Museum in Oslo and through the Roma Party in Stockholm. The artist has exhibited in galleries and exhibitions throughout Romania, where he made his debut at the age of 14 at Grivita Cinema in Bucharest. In Romania’s capital, Raportoru has exhibited at the Palace of Parliament, in the Brâncuşi Hall, at the Simeza Gallery, at Art House, at GoldArt, but also in the cities of Sibiu and Sinaia. He has been a member of the Romanian Union of Plastic Artists since 2010.
Ilina Schileru Bucharest University of Arts, completed in 2010. She is a member of UAP Romania and the founding director of EBienale (in association with the Festival and George Enescu International Competition between 2011 and 2015), an international contemporary art event of three editions in the frame of the George Enescu International Music Festival, which reunited over 150 artists from Romania, Germany Switzerland, Sweden and the USA, taking place in parallel insix art galleries in Bucharest. Within EBienale, she developed a program of “invited curators-run, enabling artists to curate: Mihai Zgondoiu (Timon Botez / Galateca / 2013), Ioana Sisea (Alex Gâlmeanu / AnnArt 2015, Roxana Gibescu / Vlad Țenu / Romanian Athenaeum / 2013, Frédéric Liver, Victoria Art Center / 2015). From April 2021 Schileru is the program coordinator of MNTRplusC, a contemporary artist-run space program of the National Peasant’s Museum. The MNTRplusC program showscases international collaborations between Romanian local and foreign fellow artists and curators. Among them, special invitees are curator and an art historian from John Cabot University, Cornelia Lauf, and Piotr Armianovsky, featured artist in the 2019 edition of La Biennale di Venezia. She also specializes in working with NGO’s on integrating immigrant and refugee children through art programs she develops in collaborations with museums (Museum of Recent Art, MNAR etc.) She has collaborated with various galleries and artist-run spaces in Bucharest (AnnArt, 418 Contemporary, ETAJ, Galateca, Artmark), where she works and lives. She writes for ARTA Magazine, Propagarta (Romania) and No Niin (Helsinki, Finland).
Miguel Ángel Vargas, Art Historian and Theater Director (1978) Spain. As independent researcher and artist, Vargas combines flamenco, theater and Romani history as experienced-based themes of his artistic and academic inquiry. He has worked internationally as an actor, director, set designer, production manager and even opera technician among other roles in performing arts during his 20 years of career. He has collaborated with several academic institutions such as Central Saint Martins College of Arts of London, as coordinator of the work experience of their Performing Arts MA; member of Pendaripén, interdisciplinary research group on History of the Romani People, of the University of Seville and has participated in several seminars on Critical Romani Studies of Central European University.