About the network
Equity's Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Network is a network for professional creatives from the Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller (GRT)* communities and non-Traveller allies, formed in 2020. The network has been working closely with the charity Friends, Families and Travellers
As one voice, we are committed to amplifying GRT voices in all aspects of the entertainment industry (Theatre, T.V., Film, Radio, New Media, Variety etc.) to create positive work by and for GRT professional creatives, and those who wish to work in partnership with them.
We welcome enquiries and questions from production companies, casting agencies, broadcasting, and streaming services where a project involves GRT characters and storylines – especially at the formative stages – and the casting there of.
Under the guidance and with support from the union Equity, we aim to ensure the safeguarding throughout:
- To address the lack of awareness and representation of the GRT communities in the entertainment industry
- To fight and address misrepresentation, misunderstanding and misconceptions within portrayals and storylines of the various communities, histories and cultures of the different ethnicities that come under the umbrella term “Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller”
- To safeguard against Cultural Appropriation
- To safeguard interests of GRT professional creatives and communities when dealing with production companies and casting agencies – with the backing of Equity.
- To promote examples of “Good Practice”
- To support and raise the profile of GRT creatives at all stages of their careers, from students to established artists.
Equity’s GRT Network welcome all professional creatives (whether starting out or established; Equity members or not) who are from the GRT communities.
The Network will safeguard identities of those who are not yet comfortable in having their ethnicity/background known to the wider public.
This network has been, and are currently engaged in, dialogues with a variety of production companies – both theatre and recorded media – and a major subscription TV streaming service.
Guidelines for screenwriters, producers and casting directors are currently being drafted and will appear on this page when finalised.
*"The term Gypsy, Roma and Traveller has been used by policy-makers and researchers to describe a range of ethnic groups or those with nomadic ways of life who are not from a specific ethnicity. In the UK, it is common to differentiate between Gypsies (including English Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy/Travellers, Welsh Gypsies and other Romany people), Irish Travellers, who have specific Irish roots, and Roma, understood to be more recent migrants from Central and Eastern Europe. In continental Europe, however, all groups with nomadic histories are categorised as "Roma", a much broader term that, while it includes Gypsies and Irish Travellers, is not the way in which most British communities would identify themselves."
"The term Traveller can also encompass groups that travel, including, but not limited to, New Travellers, Boaters, Bargees and Showpeople. While these communities share many of the barriers faced by people who are ethnically Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller, covering all these groups in a single inquiry would not do justice to their needs…
We asked many members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities how they preferred to describe themselves. While some find the term "Gypsy" to be offensive, many stakeholders and witnesses were proud to associate themselves with this term and so we have decided that it is right and proper to use it, where appropriate, throughout the report. We also heard many other terms used to refer to the Communities that are completely unacceptable and hate speech…
Gypsies and some Traveller ethnicities have been recognised in law as being ethnic groups protected against discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.1 Others, such as New Travellers, have either been deemed not to be protected or have not tested their rights in court. Migrant Roma are protected both by virtue of their ethnicities and their national identities."
(Extracts from the House of Commons, Women and Equalities Committee - Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (2019))