Drawing on her extensive civil liberties, human rights, and journalistic work, in this lecture-performance Roseanna T. McPhee discusses her involvement in a historic 2009 legal battle, which led to a landmark ruling that recognized Scottish Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic minority. In addition to appearing as witness during the court hearing, McPhee was instrumental in building the successful case through the identification of new evidence that challenged previous rulings. Through a reading of courtroom transcripts and a discussion of events leading up to the hearing, she presents the story behind the huge effort to gain recognition for her community, a quest that was ultimately successful. The experience of being “called as a witness” and the human cost to those involved since “giving testimony” are related in light of the Gypsy Travellers’ historic fight for equality, a struggle that continues to be shared by Roma communities across Europe in their ongoing clashes with establishment forces. (Daniel Baker)
ROSEANNA T. MCPHEE (born 1966) is an educator and activist. She holds a M.A. in Celtic and English Studies from Aberdeen University, Aberdeen. In 2004 McPhee undertook training at the Council of Europe on the merits of the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities in Strasbourg. In 2008 she contributed to the preparation for appeal to determine the Gypsy Traveller a recognized ethnicity; the case established Scottish Gypsy Travellers as an ethnic minority; for which she later appeared as a community witness. In addition to actively and intellectually contributing to several Gypsy Traveller rights initiatives, she is a teacher and lecturer of English, Gaelic, and Media Studies. McPhee lives and works in Pitlochry.