'Our School' film screening and Living Library | Part of The Roma from 'extra' to 'ordinary' Project

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25th June 2014

6.30 - 9.30pm

Romanian Cultural Centre in London

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As part of the project The Roma - from 'extra' to 'ordinary', on the 25th of June we projected the documentary
By Mona Nicoara & Miruna Coca-Cozma

The screening was followed by a LIVING LIBRARY with: Alina Serban (Actor), Nicu Dumitru (Project Manager – Terre des hommes), Artur Conka (Photographer) Ewelina Pawlowska (Roma Community Support Worker)


Our School (2011| 93 mins) | Dirs. Mona Nicoara & Miruna Coca-Cozma | USA / Romania / Switzerland

The documentary follows three Roma (commonly known as “Gypsy”) children in a rural Transylvanian village who are among the pioneer participants in an initiative to integrate the ethnically segregated Romanian schools. When their school is desegregated, Alin, Benjamin, and Dana set out for the city school, optimistic for education and new friendships, even as funds earmarked for integration are questionably used to build a “Roma-only” school in their village. Their innocent optimism quickly sours when the children are met with low expectations and further isolation.

Shot over four years, the filmmakers’ tender portrait of rural village life and its rhythms fosters an intimacy in the children’s profound reality and admiration for their indomitable spirit, punctuated by shocking instances of prejudice and ignorance. Their story touches on issues ranging from institutionalized racism, public education, and the intractability of poverty, culminating in an outrageous finale that cements the Roma children’s struggle in the annals of egregious human rights violations. Our School is an absorbing, infuriating, and ultimately bittersweet story of tradition and progress.


Alina Serban (Actress)
Nicu Dumitru (Project Manager – Terre des hommes)
Artur Conka (Photographer)
Ewelina Pawlowska (Roma Community Support Worker)

In its initial form a ‘living library’is a mobile library where the ‘books’ are live people with knowledge about a given subject. Visitors are given the opportunity to speak informally with “people on loan” about those life experiences and the challenges and achievements involved.Our ‘living library’ is designed as an event to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding about Roma people.  By capturing people’s stories the human library puts visitors to our exhibition face to face with the life experiences of Roma people, which we hope will have a deep impact on those who attend.

This event is part of ‘The Roma from ‘extra’ to ‘ordinary’ project by Violeta Vajda

Photo credits: James Rice