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Urban Village: Engaging with Coventry’s Roma Community

Learn more about the Roma community's Urban Village allotment project in a special online event

Following the success of our online Generations exhibition, we’re delighted to be working with our partners at the Roma Project and Coventry University once again to present a special event this Friday.

Hosted via Zoom from 10-11.30am on Friday 10 July, Urban Village: Engaging with Coventry’s Roma Community will explore ways of welcoming and giving voice to Roma people in the city, offering insights into a collaborative community project which has been running in recent weeks.

Funded by Coventry University and the University of Warwick, Urban Village is an allotment project bringing together Roma and non-Roma people. By co-creating a short film, images and a digital scrapbook to document the project, Roma participants have been empowered to share their experiences and express their identity on their own terms.

Our upcoming event will combing a screening of the film with an introduction, Q&A and panel discussion featuring speakers including Roma Project Manager Bernie Flatley, Coventry University (C-DaRE) researcher Rosa Cisneros, Warwick University (CCMPS) researcher Dr Heidi Ashton, Maria Polodeanu of Reel Master Production, and Belgrade Theatre Co-Artistic Director for City of Culture 2021, Balisha Karra.

Invited guests and members of the public will have the chance to see the work, ask questions and find out more about the community, the project and how the work has changed and evolved under lockdown. Members of the Roma community will also be present to share their experiences.

This event is a collaboration between the Roma Project, the University of Warwick’s Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies (CCMPS), Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) and the Belgrade Theatre, and is supported by funding from Coventry City of Culture Trust.

Set up in 2010, the Roma Project is a community-led organisation aiming to tackle the exploitation of Roma people in Coventry and advance their social inclusion. Working with a range of different partners, it runs projects at local, national and international levels.

Despite the discrimination and disadvantages they face, the Roma community are often left out of wider discussions around diversity in the arts. Over the last few months, the Belgrade Theatre has been taking steps to address this, working in partnership with the Roma Project and Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research to find ways of welcoming and giving voice to Roma people in the city.

In addition to our Generations exhibition, recent collaborations have included warm-up and storytelling videos shared as part of Coventry Welcomes festival, coinciding with Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.

Urban Village: Engaging with Coventry’s Roma Community takes place from 10-11.30am on Friday 10 July. Please email if you are interested in taking part.

A virtual waiting room will be open from 9.45am. Please log in early so the event can begin promptly at 10am.

After the event, the film and digital scrapbook will be shared publicly via the Belgrade’s social media channels. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram for updates.


At the Belgrade Theatre, our team have been working hard to find ways of engaging with the city’s diverse communities during lockdown, even as we face the greatest crisis our industry has seen in a lifetime. With over 70% of our income having vanished overnight, we are relying on diminishing reserves and the generosity of donors and supporters to continue with this vital work. To help secure a future for our theatre and to support the work we are doing, please consider making a donation to us online.