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.

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

24 Jan

I found the first in the newest Channel 4 series, “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings” a lot more interesting than last year’s snapshot. Channel 4 has definitely improved upon their access from their last attempt, but it is not true that Travellers are reluctant to discuss their views and culture. I have found them remarkably open, welcoming and straight-forward. This programme seemed to feature more views of Travellers rather than a heavy focus on dressmaking, but the aim (again) was to leave the viewer wide-eyed and open-mouthed as they marvel at scantily clad girls and enormous dresses.  I was sceptical that some of the customs being discussed (i.e. grabbing) may not be commonplace throughout the wider Traveller community. In the same vein, it was mentioned that there is a difference between the Roma and Irish Travellers (who in my experience, do not like to be called Gypsies), but thus far, no differentiation has been made between the two cultures.  

John and Dennis watching an advert for "Big Fat Gypsy Weddings", photo by Mary Turner 

In its opening, the series promises that it will cover all aspects of Traveller life.  I look forward to seeing a more far-reaching portrayal in the upcoming programmes, moving beyond the superficial and focussing more directly on the motivations behind their choice to live outside the mainstream, as well as on the issues that threaten the Gypsy and Traveller way of life. Definitely tune in tomorrow to see coverage of Dale Farm and the evictions at Hovefields.   

For a more subtle and less sensationalised portrayal of Traveller weddings, please check out Mary Turner’s excellent photo essay on the weddings of several Dale Farm residents.Click here to hear Dale Farm residents talk about weddings.     from Mary Turner's photo essay, "Scenes from Traveller Weddings"

Posted By Susan Craig-Greene

Posted Jan 24th, 2011

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