Mythic Demons and Political Footballs


SEMINAR – 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 AT 2.00PM, DALHOUSIE 2F15 (lunch will be provided in the Foyer at Dalhousie at 1.15pm)

Mythic Demons and Political Footballs - Gypsy and Traveller People in UK Society

Helen Jones is CEO at Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange (Leeds GATE) where she started as the founder employee.  Over the past 14 years, Leeds GATE has become one of the most nationally recognised Gypsy and Traveller organisations in the UK.  Before her work at Leeds GATE Helen enjoyed a varied working life in fields and factories having left school at 16. 



Helen will take us on her personal journey from casual work picking hops and apples in the Midlands, where she first met Gypsy people, to her leading role in the campaign for Gypsy and Traveller rights and especially in promoting positive responses to Gypsy and Traveller people living on unauthorised encampments.  Along the way, we will share Helen’s learning about what ‘charity’ means and about how the culture of minority communities in the UK is inevitably intertwined with the majority’s view of and response to that culture.  Helen will question the role assigned to Gypsy and Traveller people of mythic demon and political football and ask whether that role really serves anyone’s best interest.  Now that these polarised positions between the ‘settled’ and ‘travelling’ communities are so deeply entrenched Helen will be asking how, and if, this can ever change.


Please email Kay Findlay ( for more information and to book your place by 31 August 2017.