Keynote speech: Images of Roma people: Mis- and missing representations

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description of Activity

This keynote speech is on the missing representations of Roma, Gypsy and Traveller people in European repertoires. Public representations of Roma, Gypsy and Traveller people are invariably misrepresentations. The idea of ‘the Gypsies’ – a term often used pejoratively - has always aroused fascination and desire along with hatred, disgust and violence. Despite the depressing ubiquity of these racist, exclusionary framings, these misrepresentations do not go unchallenged. Artists and activists, many from Roma heritages themselves, produce evocative images of their reactions to, and experiences of, damaging ‘Gypsy’ stereotypes. The main premise of this keynote speech is to highlight this work, to show how such visual artefacts produce critical thinking that subverts, challenges and parodies prevalent notions of European ‘belonging’. Such alternative representations, currently missing from the dominant cultural repertoire, also contribute to our understandings of approaches to anti-racism as a subversive yet inclusive engagement with the histories of entrenched racism. These images question the established ‘norm’ from which contemporary dominant depictions, even those that purport to be ‘positive’, continue to be circulated.
Period31 Aug 2022
Held atEuropean Sociological Association, France
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Roma minorities
  • Gypsy, Roma and Travellers
  • representations
  • Visuality
  • Racism
  • anti-racism
  • misrepresentations
  • decolonization
  • Belonging
  • Europe
  • Alternative representations
  • Roma art
  • Roma activism
  • Gypsy art
  • Gypsy activism