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.

It’s all happening at Appleby Horse Fair

12 Jun

I have just returned from my second trip to Appleby Horse Fair, an annual event that has been fixed in the calendars of Romany and Irish Traveller families since the 18th century.

The fair is much more than just an opportunity for Romany and Travellers to conduct business (mainly buying and selling horses) and to meet up with friends and family. It is a proud celebration of their history and culture and by persistently honouring this longstanding tradition, they are taking a stand to preserve a way of life that is threatened with extinction in the UK.  Used to being the outsiders in their everyday lives, at Appleby Horse Fair, for one week every year, Romany and Travellers represent the dominant culture; here, they are able to proudly display their cultural traditions to settled visitors.

Visiting and, importantly, staying at Appleby is a vibrant, humbling, and slightly crazy experience, that I would recommend to anyone interested in Romany/Traveller culture.  I have made friends who have helped me to pitch my tent in the middle of the night, shared their culture and history with me, showed me the importance they place on their relationship with their horses, and sang to me by the campfire until the early hours of the morning. It was one of the best experiences I have had till date cause as the night progressed I got to hear more about horses, Hearing them speak about their horses made me feel as though they were equal or even more like the dog’s people keep at home for pets for them. It is an amazing experience, and I plan to meet up with my friends and become part of the landscape of Appleby every year.

I can’t see how anyone could come away from the Appleby experience and still believe that this culture is not worth preserving.

Click here for a slideshow of my images from Appleby.

Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Jun 12th, 2011

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *