Lynne McCarthy & Kelly Green

Lynne McCarthy, Kelly Green


Dale Farm, Crays Hill, Basildon, Essex, UK

Project Description:

Project Context. This action redresses the circulation of images in the UK media relating to the eviction of eighty Irish Traveller families from Dale Farm in Essex, October 2011. Much public attention was oriented to images of resistance that perforated the site of eviction as one hundred and fifty riot police clashed with protestors supporting the Traveller community. The subsequent political critique analyzed the eviction as a spectacle of disorder and easily concerted public opinion on the illegitimacy of Traveller concerns. While the Travellers own the land at Dale Farm, its unauthorized development contravened the law. Travellers argue that ninety percent of their planning proposals are refused throughout the UK and that home-making is necessarily unauthorized. Themes of legitimacy have persistently dominated Dale Farm but the material circumstances of eighty homeless families have been less valued.

Travellers are forbidden to lead nomadic lifestyles since 1994 in the UK yet, it is also near impossible to attain planning permission for settled and culturally appropriate living.

Project Outline. By distilling the remains of the eviction this project will illustrate what is culturally put ‘out of order’ or lawfully excluded. The devastated landscapes will be captured live on December 18th and accompanied by the voices of the Traveller community and their advocates. Migration is often seen as transnational yet the lived realities of ethnic minorities can also be read as an internal migration that is municipally enforced. Evicted families have undertaken journeys as far as Scotland searching for adequate transit and permanent Traveller sites but in many instances were turned away by local police. Groups of caravans have now returned to the lane way that encloses Dale Farm. There is nowhere else to go. This is juxtaposed to the devastating imagery of a dismantled site. Many people in the UK are unaware that these families are now homeless with no electricity, water or sanitary facilities. Children are subject to these exigent circumstances but there are also five elderly cancer patients reliant on medical equipment that erratically functions from diesel generators in cold caravans.

The aim of this project is to put back into circulation an authentic image of these lived realities.

On Sunday, December 18th residents will attest to these circumstances and ask for a re-discrimination of Traveller culture.

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