A couple of us went up to the Brotherton Library at Leeds University a few weeks ago, for the opening of their new Treasures of the Brotherton gallery, which showcases some of the amazing things they’ve got tucked away in their Special Collections. One of these collections is known as the “Romany Collection”, and includes objects, photos, books and other things about Romanies, Gypsies and Travellers.
It’s great that they have this stuff on public display, not tucked away in a back room somewhere. Even though the exhibition’s publicity doesn’t mention that there’s material about Romanies, and even though the word “Romany” is in quite small letters on the signs in the gallery, it’s still good to have it included. But – and this is true with any exhibition – it’s not just a matter of having things on display, it’s also about how they’re put into context: how they’re displayed, what the curators write on the labels, and the information given to viewers about what each object means.
One object we saw was a small brass box which, according to its label, was given by a group of Gypsies to a collector called George Smith in the 19th century, out of gratitude for his help with educating their children. There was nothing about who George Smith was; but as we looked at the label, we realised that this tale of a gift given by grateful Gypsies was entirely from his viewpoint, and we started to wonder if there might be another side to the story.
....Whilst local communities, local government, and local police services invest their efforts into removing camps, we see that daily problems which create difficulties for communities trying to live well together, go unaddressed...
Leeds GATE are delighted that Esmee Fairbairn Foundation will be funding us for the next three years to continue to work to improve responses to roadside camps.
It that time of year again when our spring bulbs start to flower, the last frost has gone (well, hopefully) and we can start to think about summer bedding plants. The two raised beds at the entrance to Cottingley Springs means a lot to residents as its one of the last pieces of project work that Kathleen Lowther Morrison did as youth worker for Leeds GATE before she passed away some 4 years ago now.
As of 6th April, the law has changed and it is now compulsory to have your dog chipped. I don’t think it is for Leeds GATE to speculate as to how likely these new rules will be enforced or even whether we think this is a good or a bad law. What we can do is give you the facts about what the new law says.
We are pleased to report that our hopes about this week’s Outcomes Accountability session have largely been met. This discussion, organised jointly by Leeds GATE and Leeds City Council, attempted to start coming up with concrete realisable plans to improve Gypsy and Traveller educational outcomes. Suffice to say, some great ideas came out of this; the challenge will be to put some of these into practice. So what priorities came out of this and will they be realised?