From the Invisible to the Exotic: the public perception of the Roma Gypsy ghetto

From the Invisible to the Exotic: the public perception of the Roma Gypsy ghetto

Following their presence in the Roma Gypsy Survival Strategies series of events at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the London College of Fashion, architects Catalin Berescu and Alexander Valentino, and their guests, bring images and stories from Romania, for an honest discussion on the subject of the Roma Gypsy ghetto. Moderator is Dr Mike Phillips OBE, British novelist, historian and curator.

Friday 26 June 2009, 19.00-21.00, The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre
Manchester Square, 18 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 6EQ; Tel. 020 7486 0295 ext. 108
Entry is free but booking is essential. Book now at

The Roma Gypsy are probably one of the most widely known but misunderstood communities around. From the fiery rhythms of their music to their perceived way of living and spirit of independence, the Roma have always exerted a fascination on the city dwellers in the West – from artists, writers and musicians to New Age travellers, bringing the proliferation of Gypsy-style or Gypsy-inspired music, the so-called bohemian fashion or boho-chic, and the enduring myth of boundless freedom.

Yet the people who provided the inspiration for these fashions remain most of the times an exotic enigma, and it seems almost nobody wants to exchange exoticism for harsh reality. The vision of the Roma Gypsy ‘nomadic way of life’ is too attractive, so many fail to notice the poverty in which the vast majority of the Roma live. They occupy a real ‘Archipelago of Poverty’, as one Romanian architect put it – collections of shacks and dilapidated buildings in urban and rural areas. In striking opposition to the shaggy, crumbling outdoors, the interiors are usually unexpectedly colourful and neat. The houses are under continuous construction or reconstruction, swiftly and pragmatically adapted to the scarce resources available.

Bearing testimony to the tenacity and inventiveness of the Roma Gypsy ghetto, this discussion hopes to offer answers to how the invisible and the exotic can be translated in terms of real policies addressing real problems.

Culture Power is a programme initiated by the Ratiu Foundation, consisting of a number of presentations and constructive dialogue with an invited audience.

Organised by The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre in London

Region: All
Start Date: 26/06/2009
End Date:
Start Time: 19.00
Press Tickets: Not Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Ramona Mitrica
Phone: 02074860295