My Gypsy Culture

Cambridge, GB
FUNDED

I am a documentary photographer / film maker and photography lecturer based in Cambridge, England, and I have recently initiated a project for gypsy youths in England called 'Life Through A Lens'. The project was funded and supported by Ormiston Children and Families Trust and aims to empower gypsy youths by equipping them with the skills necessary to document their lives. The photography produced by the students acts as an alternative to the media’s current negative representation of gypsy communities.  The photographs also function as a catalyst in engaging academic and creative industries in a lively discourse regarding the ethics of contemporary representations of gypsies and travellers.

I am now collaborating with an excellent documentary photographer and film maker (Artur Conka, who is of Slovakian origin) in order to plan a second project in Slovakia. We wish to initiate this project in Lunik IX, Košice, from where we have recently returned after documenting the Roma community. Some 15,000 Roma reside there in extremely poor living conditions. Yet in spite of this, at the heart of Lunik IX is a thriving nursery and school. The standard of artwork produced by the children at the nursery is exceptional and has been recognised in an international context. We plan to use both the nursery and the school to deliver the project. We believe that the children will be able to access and document their community in a manner that is refreshingly distinctive.

We believe the photographs the Roma youths produce will provide specific audiences and relevant organisations with vital information regarding the issues faced by Roma. We also feel the Roma youths’ work will provide a rare insight into the community (this will result in the generation of financial support for Lunik IX). We would like to focus on the issues surrounding health and education in the community and believe these areas could be addressed through the body of work the young people produce. Our ultimate aim will be to generate interest in and financial support for Lunik IX.

The funding we are applying for would therefore cover the costs of compact cameras, printing, publishing and exhibiting expenses, production and promotion of the exhibition as well as our travel costs and the team's minimal daily rate. The funding would support the project in its initial stages; our intention is to create the revenue necessary to feedback into the community at Lunik IX  through the exhibition, by collaborating with charities that will endeavour to use the funds to support Lunik IX. 

Artur Conka and I have worked together before on the ‘Life Through A Lens’ project. We are aware of the importance of the roles we will assume as teachers, facilitators and as objective, experienced photographers and film makers to act as advocates within this particular community. We both welcome the opportunity to teach the groups whilst also documenting the youths and the overall project. We intend to constantly work and collaborate with the groups, in order to ensure that the outcome is meaningful to them, that it challenges stereotypes and that it directly addresses their current situation and aspirations for the future of their community.

The emerging body of digital work would be a collaborative project presented online and in an exhibition, accompanied by our documentation, as well as a published book that would include our body of research (text in Slovakian and English). Postcards and prints would be on sale at the venue, with all proceeds going towards the organisation that funds the project.

Information about the team

Artur Conka

Documentary photographer, film maker and photography lecturer. Born in Košice, Lunik IX, in 1990 and of Roma origin.

Ever since I left the community in the early 90s I have longed to return and document the Roma people who live at Lunik IX. I have travelled to Lunik IX on three occasions, most recently in March 2012. While I was there I spent three weeks integrating with the community; my Auntie and her family are still living there. I photographed and filmed my family and other Roma to show the outside world the living conditions of this community. The book and the film are now on tour in the UK (Lunik IX: A Short Documentary by Artur Conka). While I was visiting Košice I was interviewed by the media in relation to coverage of Lunik IX, and in the UK I have been interviewed in national papers and on the radio. The film I produced and the associated book have won an award from the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

 While I was at Lunik IX I observed the breakdown of social structures and youth prospects. There is an overwhelming number of young men and women dependent on alcohol and drugs. I witnessed this first-hand, standing at a bus stop in Lunik IX  when a group of youths started fighting about drugs; one of the youths was about 14 years old. Lunik IX has a large unemployment rate; quality of life for these people is extremely poor. The Roma are segregated from society and the rest of the world. Therefore, when reviewing the community and the issues it faces, I feel the most crucial of these is education. I believe that with your financial support, my colleague (Julia) and I can use this project to raise awareness of this issue and others, such as health, drug and alcohol abuse, in order to develop within the young people the confidence and skills they need to escape this poverty and the hopelessness of their situation.

Here are some useful links to my work as well as critical reviews and media coverage of the film.

My website:

arturconkaphotography.carbonmade.com/about

Media Coverage:

www.derby.ac.uk/news/hard-hitting-student-film-on-european-gypsies-grim-lives

www.free-range.org.uk/cgi-bin/portfolio.pl?memberID=21537

www.labkultur.tv/en/blog/lunik-ix-romani-people-neighbourhood-part-1

www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Trio-s-artwork-set-prove-big-draw-alongside/story-16493390-detail/story.html

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00sgmyq

www.derbymuseums.org/new-photography-award-announce/

Critical review:

emmataylorlondon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/by-royal-appt-artur-conka.html

Julia Johnson

Documentary photographer / film maker/ project founder and photography lecturer.

I have recently founded the ‘Life Through A Lens’ project for gypsy youths in England. I am interested in collaborating with communities to produce a meaningful, empowered body of work that acts as an agent for positive social influence and change. I regularly exhibit and present my documentary work nationally and have self-published my photography work. I am currently studying for a masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication. I have recently collaborated with Artur Conka; whilst visiting Lunik IX in Slovakia and during the gypsy ‘Life Through A Lens’ course that I initiated. We believe we will make the ideal team to develop and deliver the proposed project.

For more on the ‘Life Through A Lens’ project, follow the links below:

www.markproctor.talktalk.net/ltal

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-18524178

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctuf5coSmr8

For more on my photography work, follow the links below:

www.jcjphotographer.com/page17.htm

www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2842952

www.twitter.com/jcjphotographer

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Users details

jcjphotographer
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GBP £170
21% raised of our GBP £800 goal
This project ended on Tuesday, Jan 1st - 17:01

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A thank you email from the team

£5.00 or more : An email from the team to say thank you for sponsoring us!

 

A complimentary glass of wine at the private view

£10.00 or more : Come and join us at the private view of the final exhibition and have a complimentary glass of wine for supporting our project.

 

A poster from the exhibition -signed by the team

£20.00 or more : A high quality poster featuring an image from the project and information about the exhibition signed by the team.

 

A 7 X 5 inch print of one of the images from the Lunik IX project

£60.00 or more : A high quality photographic print of one of the images from the exhibition. Available in luster or glossy finish.

 

A 12 X 10 inch print of one of the images from the Lunik IX project

£90.00 or more : A high quality photographic print of one of the images from the exhibition. Available in a luster or glossy finish.

 

A 15 X 12 inch print of one of the images from the Lunik IX project

£110.00 or more : A high quality photographic prints of one of the images from the exhibition. Available in luster or glossy finish.

 

Two 12 X 10 inch prints of the images from the Lunik IX project

£165.00 or more : Two high quality photographic prints of two of the images from the exhibition. Available in luster or glossy finish.

 

Two 15 X 12 inch prints of two of the images from the Lunik IX project

£200.00 or more : Two high quality photographic prints of two of the images from the exhibition. Available in luster or glossy finish.

 

A credit to you or your company on our professional webpage.

£350.00 or more : To show our gratitude we will ensure that our thanks to you or your company is mentioned on our professional webpage, along with your logo, for a minimum of one year. We will be creating the webpage at www.jcjphotographer.com.

 

Your company logo added to our E- invitations for the private view.

£350.00 or more : To show our gratitude we will add your company's logo to the E invites we will send out to our audience.

 

Your company's logo added to our poster to advertise the exhibition

£450.00 or more : To show our gratitude we will add your company's logo to the posters we will produce to advertise the exhibition.

 

A complimentary photo shoot for you or your company (availability weekends and evenings - South-East of England and London only).

£1,350.00 or more : A member of the team will photograph an event of your choice and ensure you receive a CD of the edited images afterwards (availability Wednesdays, Fridays, weekends and evenings only - South-East of England and London only). Your logo will also be placed on the project's professional webpage that we will create at www.jcjphotographer.com