Online exhibition spotlighting cultural heritage of Rroma people launched with support of CENL

Objavljeno 23.11.2021.

On 5 November 2021, marking this year’s World Day of Romani Language, the Association of Roma in the Republic of Croatia “Kali Sara” hosted the launch of Rroma pe droma: The Rroma Heritage and Future (Rroma pe droma: baština i budućnost Roma), an online exhibition jointly created by the National and University Library in Zagreb, Central Library of Roma in the Republic of Croatia and the “Kali Sara” association, with the support of The Conference of European National Librarians (CENL).

In 2020, CENL, which brings together the directors of 49 national libraries of the member states of the Council of Europe, awarded the National and University Library in Zagreb a €2,500 grant, from its Hidden Stories Support Fund, set up to support projects to collect, preserve, research and highlight the stories from, by and related to underrepresented communities in the collections of CENL member libraries, for the preparation of the exhibition.

Rroma pe droma:The Rroma Heritage and Future presents the path of the Rroma people through history, from the time of their first migrations to their way towards the future. It is a unique website providing insight into the overall history, culture, heritage, migrations and suffering of the Rroma, bringing data on notable Roma who distinguished themselves in science and culture and addressing relevant issues and events for the present-day Roma, such as the circumstances and position of Romani women in today’s society, social customs of the contemporary Roma, contemporary Romani art, the work of the Roma Memorial Center Uštica in Croatia, which commemorates the victims of the Roma genocide during the Second World War, etc. Apart from a wealth of varied visual material making part of the exhibition and made available in one place as part of the exhibition’s gallery, the exhibition also includes a digital collection featuring the publications of the “Kali Sara” association, ranging from picture books to books and serial publications. Exhibition content is available in Croatian, English and the Řomani Čhib language.

The trilingual online exhibition was prepared by the Library Adviser for Academic and Special Libraries at the Croatian Institute for Librarianship Dr Breza Šalamon-Cindori and Head of the Central Library of Roma in the Republic of Croatia Petra Medić and developed by the Zagreb-based web design and development company Oxidian. Its development will be continued, to eventually grow into the web portal bringing together resources on Rroma heritage whose maintenance and updating in the course of time will be taken over by the Central Library of Roma in the Republic of Croatia, founded in 2020 as part of the “Kali Sara” association as a special library, the only one in Europe, and quite probably the only one in the world focusing on collecting, cataloguing and making available as diverse as possible material and resources on the Rroma.

Through this online exhibition and the setting up of both an inspired and inspirational website revealing the hidden story of the Rroma community and its heritage which has so far not been sufficiently represented in digital library collections, the National and University Library in Zagreb is carrying out the mission of libraries, which, apart from performing their basic tasks, should also be alert to and fully acknowledge diversity, enabling its expression and presentation through their activities. Also, as a result of this project and support of CENL, it has strengthened its cooperation with one of the special libraries under its authority.