On 18 April, the Commission will organise a conference discussing the substantial role that arts and culture may play in Roma inclusion. In fact, they may act as a bridge between Roma and the majority society, challenging stereotypes and prejudice.
18 April 2012 - Charlemagne - Brussels
"My name is Lukas Hudak.
As recognized by most of the recently adopted national strategies for Roma integration, arts and culture have a substantial role to play in Roma inclusion. Material deprivation is the most visible component of social exclusion, but actions in support of inclusion may risk not being successful if only material deprivation is dealt with.
In fact, such initiatives may be jeopardised when the intended beneficiaries live a situation of exclusion from the majority society's culture - which may critically undermine the motivation to change; and when prejudice and stereotypes affect social and cultural identities and the desire to belong.
Such cultural exclusion may only be reversed by conscious and proactive efforts toward mentality change, on the side of both the majority and the minority population. And mentalities may only change if people have the opportunity to deepen knowledge of the other and mutual understanding through positive encounters. Arts and culture provide the ideal platform to make this happen.
The conference will discuss how artistic and cultural activities may facilitate intercultural dialogue by building a bridge between the Roma and majority society.
It will explore how participatory projects focused on arts may give a sense of empowerment and of self confidence. At the same time, they may open a space of encounter and understanding between the minority and the majority population.
It will also argue that the negative attitudes of majority population, that so deeply compound the problems of Roma, are often due to lack of knowledge and thus to a maintained stereotypical perception. Stereotypes may be strengthened by the media coverage focusing on the scandalous, criminal elements, and in best case presenting an archaic-sentimental image of Roma people. Thus, it is vital to promote knowledge of Roma and to foster encounters and exchange based on respect for Roma cultural identity.
Finally, the conference will illustrate how artists may be ambassadors and bring forward the agenda of intercultural dialogue.
The event will also provide the opportunity for a debate on some key questions that may relate Roma culture, such as
In the evening the Commission will offer a concert "Roma Voices for Tomorrow" organised by the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation as a valorisation event of their project supported by the EU Culture Programme. At the concert the renown Roma artist Ida Kelarova accompanied by the children from Roma settlements will show how art is able to link artistic excellence and social exclusion.
Concert Programme [721 KB]
Access map to Albert Hall [14 KB]
Please register here http://conference-roma.teamwork.fr/ for the Conference and/or the Concert
Participation is determined on a first-come-first-served basis until capacity is reached.
Registration confirmation will be sent to you in due course
The clip is part of the documentary film about the Slumdog Theatre which has been made by Karol Horvath, 18 years old Roma film maker passionate about the images. His dream is to become a professional filmaker.
The film will be screened during the conference.