Hundreds of events in schools, libraries, museums and cinemas began the long overdue process of educating the public about GRT history and culture. What started five years ago as a local initiative in Brent spread across the country after public support and funding from the Department of Children, Schools and Families.
In London, winners of the Nationwide Poster Competition to celebrate the month, coordinated by the Leeds Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service, were presented with prizes by Lord Avebury at the House of Lords on June 2.
A day later Gypsy and Traveller historians and academics gathered in Greenwich University to debate Gypsy and Traveller origins and identity.
Romany Professor Ian Hancock said the value of the month was not just in its power to educate the public about Gypsy culture, but also its power to educate Europe’s largest ethnic community about its own value.
GRTHM Reached Behind Closed Doors
Thousands of people attended the different GRT History events and some were held behind closed doors. HMP Edmunds Hill in Suffolk was one of many prisons which used the month to educate staff and inmates about the Travelling community. “It’s about time that what we’ve gone through is recognised and remembered,” said Irish Traveller inmate John Joyce.
We hope everyone who attended any of the events in their area enjoyed the celebrations and entertainment on show.
Involvement in GRTHM 2008 was encouraged by a national poster competition. Professional Gypsy Roma and Traveller artists contributed artwork that was made into a poster set that inspired and encouraged people to enter. The posters are still available from GRTAS Leeds who produced the set on behalf of GRTHM 2008.