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"Art against Segregation" conference in Prague opens tomorrow

Prague, 26.5.2011 15:17, (ROMEA)

Tomorrow a conference will take place in Prague in connection with an exhibition entitled "The Ministry of Education warns: Segregation seriously harms you and those around you" ("Ministerstvo školství varuje: Segregace vážně škodí Vám i lidem ve Vašem okolí"). The aim of the conference is to demonstrate the problematic repercussions of the segregation of Roma children in various cultural and geographic contexts, as well as to present various works of art against racism and the social exclusion of Roma people. The works discuss both explicit and hidden racism and offer a different view of the Roma community itself.

Place: EU House (Evropský dům), Jungmanova 24, Prague 1

Time: 10:00 - 15:30

Moderator: Zuzana Štefková

Morning program

(10:00 - 12:00)

Opening remarks: Jan Michal, Head of the European Commission Representation in the Czech Republic

Curator Tamara Moyzes and moderator Zuzana Štefková

Presentation of the project 10:10 - 10:20

Eszter Lazár (HU) 10:20 - 10:45

"Mute signals, current approaches to (in)tolerance" ("Němé znaky, Současné přístupy k (Ne)toleranci")

Csaba Némes (HU) 10:45-11:10

"Don't harm the Hungarians!" ("Neubližujte Maďarům!")

Roma Art Talk / Laďa Gažiová, Věra Duždová (SK/CZ) 11:10 - 11:40

PANEL DISCUSSION: 11:40 - 12:00

Lunch break from 12:00-13:00

Afternoon program:

(13:00 - 15:30)

Arie Farnam (USA) 13:00 - 13:25

"Eleven years after: The impact of segregation in the schools" ("Jedenáct let po té: Dopad segregace ve školství")

Astrid Kury and Ursula Glaeser (AUS) 13:25 - 13:50

"The Romale! cultural network in Graz" ("Kulturní síť Romale! ve Štýrském Hradci")

Delaine Le Bas (GB) 13:50 - 14:15

"Art, education and solidarity" ("Umění, vzdělání a solidarita")

Damian James Le Bas (GB) 14:15 - 14:40

"Theater and the politicization of Roma consciousness" ("Divadlo a politizace romského vědomí")

Alfred Ullrich (GE) 14:40- 15:05

"Story of the 'site for traveling persons' at Dachau" ("Příběh "místa pro kočující osoby" v Dachau")

PANEL DISCUSSION:

15:05 - 15:30

Exhibition opening: 18:00

The opening will take place at the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Nostitz Palace (Nostický palác), Maltézské nám. 1, and at the Napa gallery, Prokopská 8, Prague

Eszter Lazár (HU)

"Mute signals, current approaches to (in)tolerance" ("Němé znaky, Současné přístupy k (Ne)toleranci")

Eszter Lazár presents one of her curatorial projects, the exhibition "Mute signals, current approaches to (in)tolerance", which opened at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest in 2009. She will also discuss other relevant art projects reflecting the topics of difference, (in)tolerance, and social exclusion in the recent sociopolitical context of Hungary.

Csaba Némes (HU)

"Don't harm the Hungarians!" ("Neubližujte Maďarům!")

Approximately 20 years after the political changes, some very dangerous conflicts are arising in Hungarian society, the most problematic of which is violence against Roma people. Revived racism and the rise of nationalistic tendencies, together with increasing fear of the impact of the economic crisis, is causing many ordinary people - and others - to imagine they are faced with a new enemy. The Roma community has become both their real and their symbolic target.

Arie Farnam (USA)

"Eleven years after: The impact of segregation in the schools" ("Jedenáct let po té: Dopad segregace ve školství")

An adoptive parent of Roma children, Arie Farnam is an American journalist living in the Czech Republic. She will talk about her film, "Walls" ("Zdi"), which follows the stories of Roma children attending a "special school". She will link that experience to information she has gathered while working as a journalist across the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe. In her opinion, segregation the schools is at the heart of many social problems and affects not just the Roma community, but negatively impacts the economies of entire states. Farnam will also outline historical parallels with segregated schooling in the United States.

Astrid Kury and Ursula Glaeser (AUS)

"The Romale! cultural network in Graz" ("Kulturní síť Romale! ve Štýrském Hradci")

Instead of classifying people on the basis of their ethnic origin, the "Romale!" cultural network focuses on the many layers of individual identity and brings together artists and scholars struggling against discrimination and exclusion. The assignment of a certain collective identity is the start of the exclusion mechanism, and the culture and life of Roma people is marked by their experience with exclusion and extirpation. "Romale!" leaves behind the predominant mutual stereotypes and presents a contemporary position on art and social policy in collaboration with Roma activists and associations and various cultural and scholarly institutions.

Delaine Le Bas (GB)

"Art, education and solidarity" ("Umění, vzdělání a solidarita")

For more than a year, Delaine Le Bas has been working with the Aspex Gallery (www.aspex.org.uk). Together with Amy Lloyd, their coordinator for education, she has worked with families settled on a halting site for Roma/Travellers administered by the municipality of Southampton in Hampshire, England. The works she has created with this families are about them, come from them, and are directed by them. The families originally asked her to help them create images that could be understood as culturally "theirs"/"ours", but what began to come about was something completely refreshing that speaks about their place in the world as they themselves see it. All of the questions were posed by them and their self-confidence grew as a result. Through this space, they have become sufficiently sure of themselves and their true capabilities are starting to reveal themselves. This success was achieved through the free flow of ideas, an informal approach, the use of various media, and work with the families both inside their community and outside in the world.

Damian James Le Bas (GB)

"Theater and the politicization of Roma consciousness" ("Divadlo a politizace romského vědomí")

From the Russian Roma operettas of the 19th century to the productions of Roma theater companies in the 21st century, theater has always represented an important component of Roma cultural tradition. Even though it is obviously not as strongly anchored in the broader public's concept of a "typical Gypsy professon", the theater has long played a role in the Roma tradition of musical and other performances and in fortune-telling (dukkeripen). This presentation will cover the responses of Roma dramatists, performers and poets to current political problems concerning the life of the Roma. Given that the world Roma population has exceeded 12 million people and is continuing to grow in both Americas and in Europe, political activism and Roma theater are becoming linked and are revealing both the sorrows and the victories of the Roma community.

The conference and exhibition are part of the World Roma Festival Khamoro.

This project is taking place under the auspices of UNICEF and the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Monika Šimůnková

This project has been created in collaboration with the Slovo 21 and Vzájemné soužití, o.s. (Life Together) organizations.

Gwendolyn Albert, Jitka Votavová, voj, Slovo 21, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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