Susan Craig-Greene

Susan Craig-Greene (Dale Farm Housing Association): Susan is originally from Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in International Relations. Susan then won a Bailey Scholarship to enter the University of Leipzig, where she studied the changing role of women in reunified Germany. She returned to teach in Germany two years later on a Fulbright scholarship and entered the private sector to work at an IT market research consultancy. Susan then returned to university and earned an MA in Human Rights at the University of Essex, where she earned a distinction for her dissertation. After graduating, Susan took a placement with Amnesty International’s International Justice Project. She left Amnesty following the birth of the first of her two children and began studying documentary photography. She lives close to the Dale Farm site.

Dale Farm: A Community in Transition

15 Jun

The residents of Dale Farm were informed that the UK’s highest court of appeal, the House of Lords, will not hear their appeal to remain at Dale Farm, and that there may be no protection from eviction whilst they pursue other legal avenues. Unless their neighbours can be encouraged to engage with the Travellers, recognise their humanity (and the fundamental rights that go with it) and support their residence at Dale Farm, I fear, as the Travellers do, that the Traveller community will be scattered across the country, separating families and creating yet more obstacles to them exercising their traditional way of life.

This collection of photos tells the story of a community in transition; a community that is uncertain of its future. Most of the Travellers at Dale Farm have lived much of their lives on the road, but recognising the advantages of easily accessible healthcare and education for their children, they are adapting to a changing world and living a settled life for much of the year. Throughout this transition, they are trying to preserve the Traveller culture, stay together as a community and protect their children from the ills of a settled life.

For the Travellers at Dale Farm, this transition comes with added complications, because they are under the constant threat of eviction for contravening planning law and building on green belt land. They are uncertain every night whether or not they will be evicted from their homes in the morning, which causes them much worry and strain. Due to this uncertain situation, they have therefore not developed any sort of permanent relationship with their environment and much of the site is dilapidated and in disarray. 

Underlying this collection of photos are the strong family and community bonds that keep them together throughout the uncertainty of the looming eviction that threatens to break them apart.  The Travellers at Dale Farm remain strong and dignified despite their precarious living situation, overt prejudice from their neighbours and their ongoing struggle to preserve their way of life in a society designed for settled, literate people. 

Dale Farm, Essex, United Kingdom. 2010

Click here to see all the photos in this collection.

Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Jun 15th, 2010

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