Word of Mouth Exhibition – Collecting Oral Histories

Oral Histories Roma and Traveller Communities in Cambridgeshire

The project Oral Histories: Roma & Traveller Communities in Cambridgeshire involved collecting, recording and sharing English Gypsy, Traveller and Roma heritage.

Focusing on Traveller fairs, which have existed for centuries, we are collecting stories about families, trading at the fairs, travelling between fairs and the nature of changing experiences. We are collecting oral histories, artefacts, photographs and video material. With our Heritage Lottery Fund partners, the Museum of Cambridge, we are especially interested in the Midsummer Fair in Cambridge. We are training some young Travellers to collect oral histories from family members.

The stories will be shared on the Capturing Cambridge website, Artworks, the Museum of Cambridge, online at http://www.archive.org and in the Cambridgeshire collection at central library. This will allow the materials to be accessible and interpreted by a wide audience, with a view to informing and educating as many people as possible about the rich cultural heritage of English Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in changing times. We have an ongoing collection of video and other material gathered over several years and this is being catalogued and archived as part of the project. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Word of Mouth Exhibition at Artworks and Cambridge Museum as a part of our Oral History project funded by HLF. 

This project allows Travellers to tell their stories to the wider community of Cambridge. Their cultural contribution to the history of the city and county has been significant. Word of Mouth addresses the lack of archived material about this community through audio and video clips, photographs and educational materials.

Second exhibition Word of Mouth exhibition 13th of November – 9th of December 2018 at the Museum of Cambridge.

Let the path of words lead you through the Museum of Cambridge.

The Museum of Cambridge allowed us to take over their museum and add add oral histories and other object from the Travelling community to their museum. We therefore added not only voice recordings but also artefacts curated by the Travellers themselves, quotes on the floor, projections, pictures from our archive and other relevant information.

First exhibition Word of Mouth exhibition 28th of September – 6th of October 2018 at Cambridge Art Works. 

At Opening Night, Travellers shared their stories at the Caravanserai at Cambridge Art Works on Green’s Road, Chesterton. The Art and Story Van was alongside the caravan, displaying work made by children during art workshops at Traveller sites in the area. This exhibition was a unique insight into the lives of families who live in Cambridgeshire and others who come to the Midsummer Fair each summer.

Traveller Advocacy

We offer an advocacy help support service with follow up case work. Main areas of work include welfare advice, family support, education, homes and healthcare. We facilitate engagement between the Traveller community and statutory providers of services to address barriers to education and other basic human rights. We liaise with FFT (Friends Families and Travellers, CIB (Citizens Advice Bureau), legal teams, NGTC (National Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Council) and others to support families with a wide range of issues and to address barriers to inclusion such as discrimination. The project was funded by Lush.


me advocacy sm

Creative Literacy and Art project with Roma and Traveller Teenagers in Cambridgeshire

Compas and Oblique Arts work together to host creative literacy workshops for Roma and Traveller teenagers. 

Creative literacy

We offer Creative Literacy workshops for adults and teenagers. We have enabled Traveller teenagers to provide exhibitions to the local library. As part of our education work we are registered with ‘Education Otherwise’ and can provide some support for Traveller children whilst not in school. We liaise with local education providers to call for an end to bullying and discrimination and to offer advice about culturally appropriate  approaches to working effectively with Traveller families. 

Art in a Van

Our mobile workshop facility goes out to Traveller sites. It is popular with 8-13 year olds and results have been exhibited as a part of our Oral History project at Cambridge Artworks and the Museum of Cambridge. 


Animation made by Diego Moreira and Joana Pinto