The Travellers’ Times new Youth Advisory Group (YAG) met in Hereford last month to learn about how the TT works and to take part in journalism, film and oral history workshops with TT staff.
The new group members also had their first ever meeting and will be helping to steer the editorial direction of the TT as it looks forward to launching its new website. YAG is funded by the Big Lottery.
Youth at Travellers Times (YTT) will have its own editorial and will be featured prominently on the new TT website - which launches in early December. It will be a part of Travellers’ Times specifically for and by Romany Gypsy and Traveller youth, and will offer a platform and publishing space for youth journalism and media production.
Lisa Smith, YTT Editor, said that YTT is about young people being able to set the agenda and the opportunity and space to represent themselves.
“The first YAG meeting was a huge success”, said Lisa Smith “YAG has been designed to make sure that youth voice is embedded in to every aspect of Travellers Times and our future plans.”
“We want to challenge stereotypes and prejudices by showing the diversity of our youth and their lifestyles by strengthening the visibility of role models and their positive contributions as part of the campaign for Gypsy and Traveller rights and recognition,” said Lisa Smith.
(Picture caption: l-r Adalaide Purcell, Betsy Mobey, Ben Bennett, David Donaldson, TTs Chris Smith, Ruby Smith, Anastasia Bennett, and Scarlett Smith at the first YAG meeting).
Mike Doherty, TT Editor, said that he was looking forward to integrating YTT into the wider TT publishing platforms.
“We have already been publishing YTT articles on the current website, including blogs and reviews written by some of our YAG members, and it’s all great stuff and deserves its own section on the new website,” he said.
Adelaide Purcell, 16, from Pontypool in Wales, said that after finding out what the Youth Advisory Group was about she was really looking forward to being involved in the future.
“I found it inspiring being around so many passionate young Travellers like myself and feel inspired to tackle racism on different platforms, I learned a lot about the media and I am really proud to be seen as YAG member,” she said.
Ruby Smith, 14, from Herts, said she had high hopes working as a YAG member and wants to help change people’s perceptions of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller youth.
“I hope to eradicate racism in all walks of life,” she added.
After the YAG meeting the young people took part in a series of workshops. Session one, ‘The Power of Film’, examined and discussed how four very different genres of film all had the same focus of challenging stereotypes and perceptions. One of the films was an extract from a new documentary ‘Searching for the Travelling People’ being made by Rural Media as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project and this led to an oral history training session led by Charles Newland. Older community members were invited in for tea and cakes and the group spent the afternoon learning interview skills and techniques and recording memories and stories of the old days.
(Picture caption: l-r Adalaide Purcell, Ben Bennet, Danniel Bennet, Robert Smith Betsy Mobey and TTs Lisa Smith at the Oral history workshop).
Anastasia Bennett, 13, From Notts, said that the “teachers” were “kushti”.
“After this weekend I feel more confident, educated and inspired. Taking part in the Interviewing techniques and oral history workshop has been a good experience we need to preserve our history!”
Ben Bennett, 14, from Notts, said that he enjoyed learning interviewing skills. “The whole weekend has been great,” he said.
Scarlett Smith, 13, said that the workshop made her feel “inspired”.
“I feel more inspired and empowered, it’s really nice to see more Gypsy and Traveller youth get involved with Travellers Times and I got to meet some new people,” she said.
YAG members also took part in a Youth Journalism Masterclass led by TTs Editor Mike Doherty.
Jason Smith, 22, from Worcestershire, said, “I learned so much about how the media works this weekend and how Travellers’ Times works to tackle negative stereotypes and presumptions, I really enjoyed the Journalism masterclass and want to write more of my own stories for the website.
David Donaldson, 19, from Aberdeen Scotland said that if Travellers understood how the media industry worked, then they would be more able to challenge it and use it to campaign.
“I found today very interesting,” he said. “I think that with an increased awareness and understanding of the media, young Travellers can better use media as a tool for campaigning and activism. “I now have increased confidence is analysing and writing news articles for the Gypsy Roma and Traveller cause”.
(Picture caption: l-r Jason Smith David Donaldson, Betsy Mobey, Ben Bennett Scarlett Smith, Anastasia Bennet, Ruby Smith, Adalaide Purcell, TTs Mike Doherty and TTs Charles Newland at the Youth Journalism Master class).
Betsy Mobey, 23, from Croydon, agreed. “I feel privileged and honoured to be part of the new youth advisory group from all around the UK youth have gathered to express debate and exchange our opinions and experiences to work together to enforce change of perceptions about who we are among the broader communities,” she added.
“Today’s intensive course on journalism was insightful and has inspired me to immerse myself into the world of media because as we know the media has such an impact on society, today more than ever before. As a young Romany activist being equipped with these tools and knowledge gives me the platform to deliver my message to the desired quality I aim to achieve and a place to say it!”
“The weekend was a great success and the future looks bright for Travellers’ Times, said Lisa Smith
“I’m delighted to be bringing on board such an inspiring group of young people as youth advisory members to help influence and steer the direction of YTT at Travellers’ Times and hope it encourages more young people to get involved in the project”.
If you have a story you want to share with us or if you are interested in finding out more about YTT and getting involved email us at email@example.com or call Lisa at Travellers’ Times headquarters on 01432 344039.
(Lead Picture caption: l-r Anastasia Bennett, Ben Bennett, Ruby Smith, Scarlett Smith, Betsy Mobey, Adalaide Purcell and David Donaldson).