Traveller activists get stuck in at the TT Media Skills workshop in Wales

9 March 2018
Traveller activists get stuck in at the TT Media Skills workshop in Wales

Gypsy and Traveller activists from all over Wales got stuck into the new Travellers’ Times Media Skills workshop to discuss and debate how to both challenge the media – and to use it as a tool to campaign for their rights and recognition.

“I liked meeting other Travellers and Gypsies who were there to help other Travellers with their rights and trying to stop racism,” said Colleen Gallagher, a participant in the workshop.

 “The people from the TT magazine and what they showed us was handy to know in the future. It also made me want to do that kind of work myself.”

Workshop participants viewed and discussed successful social media campaigns such as the ‘We are so many things’ campaign from London Gypsies and Travellers

There were 13 people who attended the media skills day from south, west and north wales – plus the Travelling Ahead team who arranged the event. Mike Doherty, TT Editor, and Lisa Smith, TT Youth Editor shared their skills with the group and – as always – the learning went both ways with the TT picking up lots of experience and potential stories!

The workshop in progress
The workshop in progress

Bill Cooney and his friends and family, who live on a council site in Conwy, North Wales, shared his experience with the group of being at the centre of a media storm over a planning battle himself – and how the site residents engaged with the local press to turn it around and get their voices heard. The Travellers’ Times editor and Travelling Ahead will be following up and publishing articles on another campaign Bill is already involved in - the proposed Anglesey stopping place which, Bill says, is totally unsuitable for human habitation.

“We really enjoyed the media day and the topics covered was good and varied,” said Bill, who is the spokesperson for the Bangor Back Lane residents association.

  “We are so happy that there is a magazine that covers the ups and downs [and good and bad] of our Gypsy lives,   run by the same minded people, as ourselves.”

Bill was also keen to remind the Travellers’ Times that although it was good to celebrate young Gypsies and Travellers going on to university and college – we should not forget to celebrate the way many young people don’t choose to go down that road and learn how to work in the family business and earn their living that way. A good point and noted Bill!

The aims of the day were to bring people together to share experiences and learn about how to look critically at the media; how to report discrimination on line and in the media generally and how to influence the media and ways of promoting positive images and challenge stereotypes and negative press.

Workshop participants discussed this film about Gypsies and Travellers and racism in the media made by Insula Productions

“I found it to be an interesting, informative and productive day,” said Leeanne Morgan.

The main result of the day was that Wales should have its own media group that would Find and develop stories to publish on the new Welsh pages of Travellers Times website and in the regional and national media – and also act to hold the media to account.

“It was really good to see and plan the plans and discussions we have made being brought up in meetings and something being done about the true issues we have to face as an ethnic minority,” said Tyrone Price.

Travelling Ahead have a new free advice line for Welsh Gypsies and Travellers, which can be used to report negative media and other issues:

Travelling Ahead: All Wales Advice and Advocacy Service 0808 802 0025

Main picture  Left to Right: Leeanne Morgan, Colleen Gallagher, Nora Gallagher, Tyrone Price, Ricky Price, Tom Tom Hendry, Patrick Gallagher and Martin Gallagher © Mike Doherty/TT

By Mike Doherty/TT News