In this workshop we invite participants to explore traditional representations of nomadic minorities such as Irish Travellers and Roma as communities often overwhelmed by issues of social disadvantage, and to investigate imaginations of these communities in terms of 'crisis' discourses.
Irish Travellers are a nomadic minority group with a shared history and culture. They share many historical and cultural features with European Roma. In recent years many Roma have migrated to Ireland to escape persecution in their former homelands. Both Irish Travellers and Roma have suffered exclusion and discrimination and traditional discourses have centred on issues such as poverty, poor health, educational disadvantage, violence, migration and marginalisation. Yet Irish Travellers and Roma have maintained their cultural traditions as minorities within nation states in the face of intolerance. Irish Traveller and Roma community activists have challenged prevailing notions of their communities as beset by social problems and have laboured internally and externally to develop strategies to overcome social disadvantage and discrimination. In the past, Irish Travellers and Roma have rarely had any input into how their communities have been represented. This workshop seeks to explore the vibrancy of Traveller and Roma cultures. The workshop aims to give voice to those minorities and to recognise their internal strategies for defending their cultural traditions, while at the same time acknowledging Traveller and Roma dynamism in overcoming social disadvantage. We especially invite Traveller and Roma researchers and community members to participate in the workshop.