Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month

Published on 16 Jun 2020

The month of June is a celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history. Over the past three years, Iriss has been active in this area in relation to social work's role. Our work resulted in a number of resources:

Iriss evidence summary (Insight): Gypsy Travellers: Human rights and social work's role 

A pictorial history was borne out of the Insight that sets out to tell the story of Gypsy Travellers in Scotland. It begins in the 10th century with their Indic origins and takes us right through to the present day.

In March 2017, we held an event on the topic of Gypsy Travellers and social work's role, which was chaired by Lesley Riddoch, and included presentations from leaders in the field: activists Shamus and Roseanna McPhee, and Ken MacLennan, a social worker whose landmark Legal case (K MacLennan v GTEIP) secured legal recognition for the ethnic minority status of Scottish Gypsy Travellers in 2008. A post-event report, including a video of attendee views and audio contributions from Shamus and Ken, is available.

In 2018, we also held an event to explore how co-production can equip social services with the cultural competency it needs when working with Gypsy Traveller and Roma communities. It included presentations from Isaac Blake, Executive Director of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company in Cardiff and Geetha Marcus, a sociologist, feminist and teacher activist. Thomas McCarthy, an Irish Traveller, shared some songs and reflected on the ways these stories can impact our understanding of one another. 

What other organisations are doing

BASW Cymru has been involving itself in a number of campaigns and lobbying efforts aimed at connecting social workers with improving the quality of life for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.

Keep up to date with Scottish Government strategy in this area. 

Useful organisations and resources 

Scottish Human Rights Commission
Article 12
MECOPP- supporting minority ethnic carers
Stories of Health and Wellness (Wales) - full report and news-story
Hidden Treasures - Gypsy Traveller art, culture, history and heritage
Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights