Roma in Northern England

Roma in Northern England: Creating interventions towards a better quality of life

some graffiti on a wall in the central part of Chisinau. diversity appretiation. pic made with multi-exposure.

Photograph by Kamen Tabakov

About the project

Roma in Northern England: Creating interventions towards a better quality of life is a twelve month project which builds on previous ethnographic research among Czech and Slovak Roma in Leeds.

Roma across Europe have historically experienced economic and political marginalisation with a multitudes of studies documenting the higher poverty rates, worse health outcomes, higher incidence of smoking and long-term health conditions, and lower education than the majority populations in the same countries. Studies of Roma in the last three decades have noted that in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Roma have been disproportionately affected by the economic changes that accompanied the transition to capitalism. For many Roma, migration to the UK has been a vehicle for escaping racial discrimination and stigmatisation from imagined mono-racial white ‘nations’ in CEE, as well as a way of accessing better economic opportunities.

The project looks at the case of a migrant Roma as a way of examining what constitutes a good life and how it can be achieved. In particular, in the context of a hostile environment (implemented by the British government) and a Brexit induced end of freedom of movement that seeks to limit mobility of people like Roma, and amidst increasing wealth and health inequalities, the project asks just how and to what extent the good life is accessible to racialised and marginalised communities like migrant Roma.

Key objectives

The project seeks to make better use of research to enable service providers and local authorities to introduce more meaningful policy interventions to make a difference in the everyday lives of Roma residents of northern towns.

Among the key objectives of the project is to disseminate findings of previous research. This will be done through publications, both academic and policy oriented, and publications for the wider public.

The project will host two sessions during the first half of 2021. The first session will be for external stakeholders and will take place in February 2021. The purpose of this session is to open up a collective conversation on the difficulties that Roma communities in Leeds, and across the region, experience, with the aim of influencing practice and informing policy. The second event will take place in June 2021 and will bring together doctoral and early career researchers, and senior scholars. The session will be an opportunity to engage with cross-disciplinary debates within scholarship on issues faced by Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities.

The project is based at the School of Sociology and Social Policy and is led by Dr Marketa Dolezalova, with the participation of Dr Roxana Barbulescu.