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.

Introducing the Travellers at Dale Farm

20 Apr

I have now been involved with the Irish Traveller community at Dale Farm (or Oak Lane as the residents know it) for over a year. It is amazing what a difference one year can make to your life. I went from knowing virtually nothing about this group of people who live only a few miles down the road to feeling fortunate for knowing them and becoming personally invested in their future. 

I first became involved last year when I began a documentary photography project on everyday life and the sensitive political situation at Dale Farm for my photography course.  Since moving to the area, I have been shocked at how socially acceptable it was to be openly prejudiced against the Travellers and I was fascinated to personally meet the individuals who have been largely demonised and dehumanised by my local community. Over the past year, I have amassed a large collection of photos, some of which I will share as the blog progresses. I do not seek to romanticise the Travellers; rather, I hope to provide an accurate and accessible record of their lives, so that their neighbours can see them as they truly are and are forced to confront their prejudices. 

Here are a few portraits I took at Dale Farm one Sunday afternoon a few months ago. I pinned a white sheet to a tall fence and photographed willing participants who happened to walk by. The aim was to take the residents out of their everyday surroundings and focus squarely on them as individuals. If you are a photography fan, you might notice the influence of Avedon’s In the American West series. 



Click here to view more in this series.






Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Apr 20th, 2010


  • Bec

    April 20, 2010


    great photos Susan

  • Erin

    April 21, 2010


    Susan, the photos are beautiful. Its so nice to see the residents of Dale Farm. I read about their struggle from the states and hear the of the prejudices they face but its hard to see sometimes. Thanks,

  • Ethan

    June 18, 2010


    Did you spend any time at all with the local settled community? eg Len Gridley? Isn’t it advisable to base a view on both sides of a situation?
    This is usually a wise precaution otherwise you may tend to be albeit unconciously biased in favour of your chosen subjects.

  • Pete

    June 18, 2010


    The trouble with these flawed studies is they miss the point. It’s not the women and children playing in the dirt outside lovely clean caravans that are the problem, and that’s NOT why people want them off the illegal sites. It’s the prolific criminal element within their midsts that have hijacked the traveler community as a springboard for their lawless behaviour and criminal conspiracy against the rest of society. When the real traveler community stands up for themselves and expels the crooks by exposing who they are then society will be happy to engage in human rights issues with genuine travelers. They can’t have their cake and eat it, no more than the rest of us can. I suggest the academics start looking at the real problems rather than the imagined one that the women and children are victims of persecution.

    The trouble is with the close nit traveler community is in the old days they would police themselves to a certain degree and ensure the blatant criminals were excluded from normal traveler sites for fear of damaging the whole community. These days the criminal element have almost become untouchable within the community, and the gang bosses ensure there is little or no dissent. The genuine traveler community is as much a victim of these people as the rest of society is, but until the traveler community starts to stand up for itself against these people they will be tarred with the same brush, which is a tragic shame.

    So I say to the genuine travelers STAND UP and be counted and expose the devils you have in your camps so that both you and the rest of society can live proper lives in the community otherwise they will drag you in to the gutter and keep you there forever.

    I grew up in the 60s and 70s and knew many gypsies. Yeah OK they used to duck and dive, didnt we all. But they could be trusted by the majority of society. These days as soon as a gypsy opens his mouth it brings fear and revulsion, and that is a sad reflection on the community.

  • Pete

    June 18, 2010


    PS: BBC recently broadcast some lovely children from Dale Farm in a documentary called
    *Children of the Road*
    Children of the Road

    Last broadcast on Sat, 20 Mar 2010, 11:30 on BBC Two (except Northern Ireland (Analogue), Wales (Analogue)).

    Documentary series following a group of youngsters, providing insight into the lives of different children across the UK. Travelling children are seen as outsiders, who don’t finish school, don’t mix with other children and whose lives don’t go beyond their community fences. As the future of the travellers’ camp is placed under threat, we follow these youngsters as they live on the margin of society, sharing their hopes and aspirations for the future as they face a period of change.

    Narrator Rani Price
    Director Chris Morris
    ProducerChris Morris

  • james

    August 17, 2010


    nice picture

  • it s awesome

  • Christina

    July 5, 2011


    What Pete says is the sort of accepted view in this country nowadays – there are ‘real’ travellers, and criminals. Pete this is a load of crap, there are travellers, just like there are settled people. My cousins are the ones featured here on this site, so I think I should know, they’re the ones who get told to stop travelling, then when they do stop they get told they’re not real travellers because they don’t travel. England thinks it’s such a tolerant, accepting country, but it’s attitude towards us shows us the opposite. The comments after articles in the Basildon Recorder show the huge levels of hatred from the settled community in south Essex, one comment said travellers should be crucified along the A12 as a warning to others not to stop there. If this was about muslims, black or indian people they could be prosecuted for racial abuse.

    Because I was brought up settled I had a settled persons’ education, and for my MA I studied how minority groups can be turned into bogey men to suit political needs. The victimisation of the travelling community is the latest manifestation of that pathetic tradition, and it makes me furious. Susan I will be spending some time at Dale Farm soon, and I look forward to meeting you.

  • Derry

    September 19, 2011


    There is constant reference of the Dale Farm residents being Irish Travelers but I saw an interview with some of them and they said they were English. If media continues to call these people ‘Irish’ they may as well do the same with 50% of the whole of England

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