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Anti-racism conference held

By Paul Ainsworth

SOUTH Belfast has hosted the inaugural ‘Love Music Hate Racism’ conference, where the focus was on prejudice against the travelling community.

Held in the revamped Crescent Arts Centre on University Road, last Friday’s conference featured speakers representing travellers, who hit out at the exploitation of TV shows including ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’.

Organiser Gordon Hewitt said guest speaker Catherine Joyce Collins, herself a traveller, shed light on how the show was perceived in her community. “She demolished the idea that it was anything other than a disgracefully exploitative and dishonest portrayal of the lives of that community,” he said. “She pointed out that far from being a documentary, it was more shock TV.”

Meanwhile, the conference offered a platform for local musicians from an ethnic minority background to perform, while details of a ‘busking festival’ planned for the Lower Ormeau area were revealed.

Representatives of the Lower Ormeau’s Roma residents also attended the conference. They were invited following a race row in the area last year. Other ideas floated at the event included collaboration between local musicians in relation to telling an alternative story of the Titanic.


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