Our Place in the Country

Publication year: 

This film was made by a group of 'New-Age travellers' from the Hampshire area and facilitated by students from the MA Television for Development Course (1993/4) at King Alfred's College, Winchester. The students and travellers collaboratively researched the travellers' lives through a series of participatory exercises. This process enabled the travellers to analyse their circumstances and define their needs. The Criminal Justice Bill was seen as a problem as it was going to criminalise their way of life. The travellers wanted to express their point of view to local landowners and parish councils in the area and requested help from the students to make a video that would help them articulate their views. The video is intended for showing at Parish Council meetings to begin a dialogue between travellers and villagers. One of the biggest problems the travellers identified was the lack of sites and facilities, which makes it difficult for them to move from one place to another (02). They need access to water, firewood and shops, and a place away from the road which is safe for their children and animals (03). 'Media myths' about travellers abound. It is not true that they receive state benefits for their dogs, nor that their animals pose health risks to others (05). Travellers will spend a large proportion of their limited incomes making sure their animals are innoculated and properly cared for (06). Attending school regularly is often difficult for traveller children. There is no statutory duty to provide sites for new-age travellers, and constant evictions and harassment badly affect children's schooling (09). Many children are educationally deprived due to of the lack of site provision (10). Yet under the 1988 Education Act all traveller children are entitled to attend school (11). There is concern that new laws contained in the Criminal Justice Bill could lead to travellers losing their homes and the breaking up of family units (12). They fear it will make the homelessness situation much worse and will in effect penalise those who want to live differently (13).

Interest groups: 
This video will be useful for community workers interested in using video as a tool for participatory development.
MA/PGD Television for Development, King Alfred's College, Sparkford Road, Winchester, SO22 4NR, UK. Tel: (962) 841515. Fax: (962) 842280
ú10.00 including postage
15 mins