Barcelona & Madrid – Belgrade Do the Roma embody the spirit of a Europe without borders?

Freedom of movement is currently restricted all over the world, including in Europe. This situation threatens the very livelihood of people who see themselves as transnational citizens of the world. As they have always regarded borders as being artificial, the Romani people represent the quintessence of the European spirit, as Günter Grass once wrote: “They are what we pretend to be; they are the true Europeans.” In collaboration with the Unión Romaní, the Goethe-Instituts in Barcelona and Madrid make the case for valorizing the experiences of the European Romani.


Belgrade is addressing the Spanish question “Do Sinti and Romanies symbolize the spirit of a Europe without borders?” in a documentary film. Andrijana Stojković and her team have been shooting the film in multiple stages since the summer of 2018, accompanying Skill and Buddy, two brothers in a German-Serb hip hop group called Gypsy Mafia, on their journey from Germany through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary to Zrenjanin, their hometown in Serbia. From the protagonists’ point of view, we see the obstacles they meet with at and between national borders on account of their passports or ethnicity. No sleep till Mahala – Return of the Gypsy Mafia implicitly asks what an enlightened culture and a borderless Europe might look like, and whether either is even conceivable.

Barcelona/Madrid are working with La Joven Compañía Theatre on the question from Belgrade: “Is happiness possible regardless of social circumstances?” Professionals at La Joven Compañía are directing two (musical) plays in workshops for young people, one in Barcelona and one in Madrid, focusing on the Romani and Sinti community in Spain and their conception of happiness and lust for life. The two partner institutions, the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) and the Fundación Instituto de Cultura Gitana (FIGC), are actively encouraging young Romanies and Sinti to take part in the workshops. Each workshop will be mentored by an invited artist (actor, director etc.) from the community. The artistic team are also developing an overall concept to ensure that each group’s work complements and refers to the other’s. In mid-December, the two workshop groups will meet up in Madrid at the Feria Internacional de las Culturas festival to combine and present the results of their efforts.

(September 2018)

Our Partners

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) based in Barcelona, is an intercultural organization dedicated to supporting, promoting and developing the Roma community in Spain and throughout Europe.
The Fundación Instituto de Cultura Gitana (FIGC) based in Madrid, is a foundation within the Spanish Ministry of Culture dedicated to promoting and disseminating Roma culture and fighting discrimination. The FIGC works towards the harmonious coexistence of different social groups, the preservation of Roma cultural heritage and the promotion of Roma culture and language.

A film about the Gipsy Mafia concert

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