The Travellers’ Times (TT) Arts Award project came about from a conversation between Chief Executive Boris Worrall and Neighbourhood Officer Tony Henderson from Rooftop Housing and Project Manager, Julie Colman and Youth programme Leader, Lisa Smith.

Rooftop were keen to offer an exciting and inspiring project for some young people aged 8-14 on one of their sites in North Worcestershire, who are not in main stream education and were seeking some advice from the Travellers’ Times team. Having recently worked with TT’s editor-at-large Damian Le Bas on a spoken word film, and after watching some other short films created by young people as part of the Travellers’ Times project some sort of film-making project was envisaged. Shortly after the meeting a news article was submitted to Travellers’ Times about an Arts Award project run by a Lincolnshire based Traveller support group and so the idea was born.

TT contacted Arts Connect who were really keen to support a creative arts project with young Gypsy and Traveller people, putting Lisa Smith through Arts Award delivery training and offering some financial support for workbooks and other Arts Award materials.

Rooftop leapt at the opportunity, offering staff time in the form of outreach for the families and young people and some financial support, with further support from The National Lottery Community fund through Travellers’ Times. Some development work with the young people started in October 2018 with the final project plans coming together in March for an Easter 2019 holiday time creative programme.

The young people spent 2 weeks exploring different arts forms, researching and interviewing Romany Gypsy author and Poet Damian Le Bas, reviewing films and graffiti art, creating some graffiti art of their own, forming a spoken word piece and finally producing their own short spoken word arts piece.… all with a focus on inspiration and aspiration.

TT project Julie Colman said “this was an incredibly ambitious and exciting project and we challenged the participants to work really hard and think about art and the world in ways they hadn’t ever considered before, but we were confident that these bright young people would produce some amazing work, and achieve a Bronze Arts award and great short film for their CVs and to inspire others

The young people met and researched work by Romany author and poet Damian le Bas and his wife, Romany Actor Candis Nergaard , who delivered workshops with the young people and helped them craft their fantastic poem.