This community faced a number of barriers to creativity and culture, such as access to education (none of the 11-19 year olds on the site were in formal education), prevailing attitudes to Travellers by the settled population (and vice versa), and Traveller families’ reticence for their children to mix with settled community for fear of loss of own cultural identity. Until this project, the Travellers had not benefited directly from, nor were they able to access, activities funded by Find Your Talent in North Somerset, as these had largely been delivered through schools and youth services.
In the first strand of the project, Creative Practitioner Luci Gorell Barnes worked with staff, classes and families at St Anne’s Primary School using arts and a variety of media in play settings to explore and develop a constructive dialogue between Traveller and settled families around the topic “good and bad”.
As well as inspiring parents and children alike, the project also had a profound effect of the school staff. Angela Bolitho, Headteacher of St Anne’s, enthused:
“Luci’s work with the Busy Bee’s reception class has been great; I have particularly liked the way Luci has got to know the children and staff and she feels like a member of the St Anne’s Team already. Not only have the children benefited from her input, but so have the staff. The teaching and support staff have had some invaluable professional development which will enable the benefits of this project to be sustained and hopefully developed with these children and those in future years”.
The second strand saw Rina Vergano (Artistic Associate, Theatre Orchard Project) visit the Moorland Park Traveller site, setting up a cultural project for young Travellers outside of secondary education. Rina discovered that there were a number of activities in which the Travelers were keen to participate, such as embroidery, street dance, woodwork and circus skills. The absence of a purpose-built communal space on the site was the biggest obstacle to their participation in such activities.