What did you find out?
We worked with young Gypsies and Travellers from a site in North Worcestershire. The young people were being educated at home and felt that the school had let them down. They all felt they had lots to offer and were ambitious but they weren’t given any help to find out what choices they had and that people were not listening to what they had to say. Learning home wasn’t always easy with Mum’s and Dad’s busy with work or younger children and some weren’t able to read and write themselves. They also felt like they didn’t have much chance to take part or find out about art and creative opportunities
What do you want to change?
We wanted to give these young people a chance to find out more about art and creative opportunities that were on their doorstep and find out about Gypsy and Travellers artists, writers, actors and filmmakers. We wanted the young people to get themselves heard but in way that was fun and would make people (Gorjas, Teachers, Social Workers) listen to them. We also wanted the young people to feel good about themselves, proud of their community and get an Arts Award qualification at the end of it.
What do you recommend?
We spent lots of time with the young people looking at the Graffiti Art trail in Birmingham, talking to a published writer Damian Le Bas, Actor Candis Nergaard and Filmmakers Lisa Smith and Charles Newland – all Gypsy and Traveller people. The young people were helped to write a poem, do their own graffiti art project and then make a film which brought it altogether and you can watch it here https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/features/arts-award-young-travellers-get-creative
What advice would you give?Charlotte,12 “Even though I met all the Traveller Times people I was a bit worried it would be boring and like school so I wasn’t going to do it but Lisa said “Give it a go and if you don’t like it you can go home, you might regret it if you don’t try” so I did and I am really glad. It was much more fun than I thought – not like school – and I liked doing graffiti and we got lots of help with the poem. I’d say to anyone even you aren’t sure – give something a new a go. It’s given me confidence and I would like to go to college now.” Whitney, 14 “ I love learning and I’d love to go school but me and me brother were really bullied by the teachers and my Mum and Dad don’t want us to go so I was keen to do this and get out and see different things. I wasn’t sure about being in the film but in the end it was great and I loved being in Travellers Times and we got to meet Damian and he’s famous. My advice is you’d be surprised what you can do and I am proud that other people will hear what we have to say about Travellers. I am going to try and go to college now” Hughie, 11 “I wanted to do it but I don’t like sitting down all the time so I was happy that we were out and about doing stuff and not in a classroom. I liked watching all the films they showed us. I liked some not others. The sports ones were good and we met the filmmaker who made it. I showed everyone a film of my Great Grandad too and I am really proud of him. I thought we would make a film about boxing but in the end we did one about ourselves really and that was good. My advice would be don’t worry if things change and from the first idea – sometimes it works out better. Also when we got stuff done we could choose where we ate lunch – so my advice would also be get stuff done!” Tiegan “ Usually I wouldn’t like to go against what the others wanted to do even if it wasn’t my choice but we were able to write things down and put them in box and no one knew what anyone else had chosen so I didn’t mind doing that and it felt fair”
How did you include people?We met everyone lots of times first at their home site so everyone got to know one another and we had time to talk to the Mum’s, Dad’s, Aunties, Uncles and carers too. We gave everyone lots time of time to talk to them about what sort of things they’d like to do and find out about and what they wanted to say. Then we went away and made some exciting plans and came back and gave the young people choices and then made one big plan based on what everyone wanted to do to make it fair. We also made sure that we had some time at the end of every day to think about what had worked well and what hadn’t work so well so we could change the things the next day. Everyone had a chance to choose what lunch the group would have the following day. It wasn’t possible for busy Mums and Dads to get everyone to venue where we were based so we made sure we had a big van that could pick everyone up and bring them home safely. It wasn’t possible to take the little brothers and sisters along but we helped the older ones do a graffiti art session with them so they could show them what they had learnt and all family and friends, neighbours were invited to a screening of the film and award ceremony and we hired a coach to take everyone there and had drinks and snacks. What did you enjoy? Jack 14, “I liked getting out and seeing new things and I liked being in film and getting to tell people all about what we are really like.” Whitney, “I liked learning and meeting new people. I liked being in Travellers Times. I liked making my family proud.” Tristram, “I liked being listened to. I liked doing something different that I would never have thought about doing before. I liked seeing how a film is made and liked that after the two weeks were over everyone from Travellers Times still kept in touch with us.” Hughie, “I liked being the magazine and doing the graffiti art and being with my friends doing something different and I liked being able to show my little brothers and cousins how to do the graffiti tagging and use the camera and stuff. It made me feel good about myself” Tallulah, “I really didn’t like the idea of not having my phone on at first but after the first day, I actually liked it. I found out I look at my phone all the time but I didn’t need to because I was busy and my friends were in the room. If my Mum needed me then she could ring Dan or Lisa” [audio mp3="https://cpip.ucanmakechange2.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/WythallLifeGoals_audio.mp3"][/audio]
Any other advice?Sometimes the young people hadn’t had a chance to eat breakfast so we made sure there was fruit, croissants, muffins and breakfast bars available first thing because it helps everyone to concentrate. We didn’t have fizzy drinks during the day and everyone agreed that they would turn mobiles phones off so that it was less distracting and the young people didn’t have to worry about what other people were doing. If there was a problem at home the young people knew that parents and carers had the group leader’s phone number and would ring them.
What has changed?Since the end of the project two of the girls have decided to go to college together. The teachers and governors of the school have watched the film and have agreed to think about some of the ways they can tackle bullying and exclusion within the school.