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Night Shift production photography by Avi Ratnayake

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Traveller Wellbeing 2022: Galway Traveller Movement

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min read

Traveller Wellbeing 2022: Galway Traveller Movement

min read

23/01/23

Traveller Wellbeing 2022: Galway Traveller Movement

Take a look at one of the Traveller Wellbeing through Creativity 2022 successful applicants, who they are, and what they accomplished with Creative Ireland this year.

Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) was established in 1994 in order to challenge and respond to the structural inequalities faced by the Traveller community. The organisation uses a community development approach, and their work to address disadvantage, poverty and the social exclusion experienced by the Traveller Community is underpinned by a commitment to participation, empowerment and collective action. Their work has always been rooted in an understanding of, and respect for, the distinct culture and ethnic identity of the Traveller community.

Above: Stop-Motion Animation Workshop - Photography by Emilija Jefremova

The purpose of the funding was to facilitate a number of events promoting Traveller wellbeing. Some highlights include:

Re-Imagining Life on the Road.
During the camp days, members of the community spent time together reminiscing about their culture through storytelling and song, as well as participating in other activities. “It’s the passing of the skills from one generation to another”, Primary Health Care Co-Ordinator, Kathleen Sweeney noted during the day camps in Ballinasloe. “Especially the older ones… it brings back a lot of memories.” These camp days acted as a space in which members of the Traveller community could celebrate their culture with each other. The days were full of joy and fun, and connecting and reconnecting with their identity. “The thing coming back to me is why we need more projects like this, why we need to reconnect with our roots and the best way to do [that] is to come back to where our families would have been, like in camps” Community Development Worker, Nora Corcoran, stated.

Re-Imagining Life on the Road.

Open Video

The Night Shift.
Night Shift, a new play written by Rosaleen McDonagh, was a very special occasion. It was a play written by, directed by, and acted by members of the Traveller community, which is rare. There was a two week rehearsal process in person, and the actors met together a few times on Zoom beforehand too to run lines. The opening night was an exclusive event for members of the Traveller community and some representatives from funding bodies. The subsequent nights were presented as part of the Misleór Festival. The attendance on Opening night was 73, with 59 of those being members of the Traveller community. Many had never been to the Druid Theatre or indeed the theatre at all so it was a huge success in introducing the community to local cultural spaces and seeing their own culture reflected there.

University of Galway also reached out to GTM to discuss the possibility of putting on a matinée showing of Night Shift for students in the college. There was a Question & Answer session with the cast afterwards, during which the audience were very engaged.

Above: Night Shift production photography by Avi Ratnayake

To find out more about Galway Traveller Movement, you can find their website here.

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