City Hall display reveals the reality

January 11, 2018

London Gypsies and Travellers has launched a new exhibition of images at City Hall, challenging the public and Greater London Authority employees to see the reality beyond the stereotypes of Gypsies and Travellers.

The pictures of Gypsies and Travellers going about everyday life were gathered by photographer Mary Turner as part of LGT’s successful #weareallsomanythings anti-prejudice campaign in 2017.

Launching the exhibition, Mena Mongan, one those portrayed, challenged the public to see Gypsies and Travellers for who they really are. Her words are quoted in the exhibition: “There is still that stigma about Travellers. We are part of the London community, but it seems we’re always looking in from the outside.”

Before the launch, LGT activists outside City Hall invited members of the public to describe themselves using just one hashtag, and gave them a sticker bearing the hashtag to wear during the day. They included #cold #gay #woman #resilient #father #politician.

The point being made, says LGT’s Community Development and Campaigns Officer Clemmie James, who helped Gypsies and Travellers organise the event, is that people are many things – not just a stereotype or a first impression. “Is it really possible to reduce ourselves to simply one noun or adjective?” she says. “It’s almost impossible and this is highlighted in the campaign and exhibition.”

For the launch, Gypsy and Traveller representatives and London Assembly members gathered in City Hall’s cafe area surrounded by the positive and optimistic images, which will be on display for the whole of January. The exhibition coincides with the consultation period for the draft London Plan – which includes housing proposals that could have a major impact on Gypsies and Travellers.

“The timing to have our progressive and positive campaign in the heart of the building is perfect,” said Mena Mongan, “because the Mayor’s team is inviting feedback on the draft London Plan until 2nd March.”

“The community is pleased to see such progress in the acknowledgement of Gypsy and Traveller needs in the new draft London Plan, but real change would come from the delivery of new sites.”

The community, with the support of London Gypsies and Travellers, is about to launch a new postcard campaign revolving around the London Plan consultation. Further details to come.

Pictured: At the exhibition launch, Betsy Mobey, a Romany Gypsy, in discussion with London Gypsies and Travellers Trustee Richard Bennett

More news

Injunctions under review

December 16, 2020

On Thursday 17th December 2020, a major case management hearing will take place ahead of an upcoming High Court case on anti-Traveller wide injunctions, due to be held in January 2021. Since 2015, councils have increasingly used injunctions to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from stopping on council-owned land. The majority of people who pull up …

New challenge to government planning rules

November 26, 2020

A court hearing on 10th and 11th December could determine that the government’s planning definition of Gypsies and Travellers is unlawful. The current planning definition, adopted in 2015, means that Gypsies and Travellers who have permanently stopped travelling in a caravan for work do not have their accommodation needs counted and struggle to get planning …

National Lottery funds new ‘Roadside Futures’ project

October 28, 2020

‘Roadside Futures’ project to improve lives of roadside Gypsies and Travellers across the UK, thanks to National Lottery funding Today, £2million in National Lottery funding has been awarded to ‘Roadside Futures’ which is a project that aims to improve the quality of life for nomadic Gypsies and Travellers and the communities in which they live …