Sixteen: Where I come from and where I’m going to: exploring identity, hopes and futures with Roma girls in Rotherham

This chapter discusses the ‘I come from’ project, one of the strands within the ‘Imagine’ project, which set out to work with a group of Rotherham’s young women, defined as Roma by their school and the communities around them. The project aimed to explore their experiences and visions of an imagined future and their fused identities and shared sense of belonging. In the very midst of the project’s creative activities, however, the Jay Report into child sexual exploitation was released, letting loose formerly suppressed fears and anxieties about the population growth and perceptions of Roma communities in parts of Rotherham, especially around the town centre. Immediately upon the report’s release, Rotherham’s once suppressed racial and cultural tensions came to the surface. Perspectives across the communities changed quickly and significantly, and the growing differences between ethnicities and cultures became the focus of both individual actions and media attention.

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