The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £77,100 to the Roma Support Group for the Roma Oral History Project, which will work with Roma researchers, local community members, London Metropolitan Archives, museums and academic institutions to explore, archive and share the unrecorded stories of Roma refugees and migrants in London.
The Roma ‘voice’ has often been marginalised, ‘hidden’ or written out of mainstream historical narratives due to discrimination and racism. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, this project will give the Roma community a rare opportunity to record their history, which has been passed down across generations orally, before it is lost.
The project will explore several key themes that are central to Roma heritage: anti-Roma persecution during WWII, displacement, migration, changing identities and an emerging sense of belonging in their new country.
The project will give young and older Roma and non-Roma community members a unique opportunity to be trained in collecting oral history stories, archiving and preserving them for future generations. Roma researchers will work together with volunteers to record, archive and share Roma oral history through educational materials, workshops and exhibitions, allowing them to challenge negative perceptions and anti-Roma prejudices.
All of the collected oral histories will be audio-recorded, transcribed, catalogued and archived at the London Metropolitan Archives and local museums, making them available to the wider public for the first time in UK.
Sylvia Ingmire, Roma Support Group’s CEO, stated: “We are thrilled to have received this National Lottery award. By enabling the Roma community to conduct their own oral history research, this project will promote greater cultural awareness and understanding as well as helping Roma to be included in the wider social and political debate.”