Duration 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2019
Project Topic BESTROM explores the cultural contribution to Europe’s public space/s of Romani minorities since the 19th century. It answers HERA’s CfP by exploring the lessons for integration of the experience of a particular minority, bearing in mind how historical prejudices against “Gypsies” are currently being transferred to new migrant groups. BESTROM can encourage reflection on discriminatory practices and valorise diversity by showing minorities as contributors to a shared store of cultural capital rather than “problems”. BESTROM’s emphasis on Romani agency also implies a critique of “integration”: Romanies’ ambivalent historical experience confounds the familiar inclusion-exclusion binomial, while their practices of challenging normative integration processes, deploying skills of adaptability, mobility and multilingualism, constitute a cultural matrix rich in possibilities for re-visioning European identity. The outcomes of the CRP will be (1) new knowledge about Romani practices and cultural interactions with non-Romanies in public spaces and (2) new, evidence-based, understandings of Europe’s Romani communities on the part of scholars, policymakers, and the general public, with implications for (3) public acceptance of cultural diversity and (4) capacity-building in Romani communities. Deliverables include scholarly publications (collaborative book and journal special issue, and individual works) and public engagement activities (research-based performances, an online exhibition and a multilingual website).Researchers will examine the Romani contribution in four exemplary public spaces - political forums, musical performance, fairs/markets, and circuses. They will deploy hybrid historical, ethnographic and musicological methods, exploring the past and present dynamics of those spaces with a shared aim of illuminating processes of exchange without ignoring underlying conflicts and asymmetries of power. The case studies represent all parts of Europe and are conceived in transnational terms, sensitive to comparisons and transfers. Both research design and public engagement will be informed at each stage by collaborations with Associated Partners from Romani communities, including cultural producers and activists.
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Call HERA Joint Research Programme “Public Spaces: Culture and Intergration in Europe”

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Helsinki Partner Finland
2 Jagiellonian University of Kraków Partner Poland
3 Universidad de Sevilla Coordinator Spain
4 University of Liverpool Partner United Kingdom