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Barvalipe Academy Members


David Peña Dorantes

About 25 years ago an unusual pianist coming from a family with a long standing flamenco tradition burst onto the scene. DORANTES (nephew of El Lebrijano, grandson of a highly valued cantaora known as La Perrata) was born in Lebrija (Andalusia, Spain) in 1969 and retains the frankness of someone who is proud of his origins: one of the most important Gitano lineages in Flamenco (the Pena-Perrate-Pinni-Bacân].He started with the guitar, became a regular at flamenco festivals as a guitarist and one day, by Chance, a piano changed his destiny. He enrolled in the Music Conservatory of Seville and in soon his talent began to stand out. At the moment, he indubitably represents one of the most outstanding and innovative contributions to the Spanish musical scene. Dorantes is not only a virtuoso instrumentalist who has turned the piano into a soloist and a reinvigorating element in Andalusian flamenco, he is also a brilliant orchestral composer. His creative force has unleashed a genuine revolution in flamenco music. Dorantes is opening new and coherent paths for this heritage and, in his unstoppable advance, he is bringing it closer to the status of “classical or cultivated music”. All Jiot this while staying adamantly coherent with his roots. Jose Luis Navarro, flamenco professor and
historian, states: “Dorantes is doing with the piano, in leaps and bounds, what Paco de Lucia did with the guitar”. The journalist Mirien Landeta adds “Dorantes is a remembrance of flamenco that looks to the future. He is harmony and rupture. He is technique and sheer virtuosity combined with passion and feeling. He is, like his piano, black and white. Ivory and flesh. Man and music. 


Dr. Maria Bogdan

Chair of the Barvalipe Academy


Dr. Maria Bogdan received her PhD from the Film, Media and Culture Theory Doctoral Program at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in 2018. She wrote her thesis about the media representation of the Roma in Hungary, and developed a multidisciplinary theoretical approach based on cultural studies for analyzing and understanding the position of Roma in the Hungarian society. Her main research interest is related to media representation, the modern forms of racism, and the questions of diversity. She has published numerous articles in English and in Hungarian related to these topics in international and Hungarian journals.


Dr. Bogdan was a visiting researcher at CEU Romani Studies Program in 2018, and prior to that position, she was a researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2014-2017) and an assistant lecturer at the University of Pécs (2006-2013). She is also a Fulbright Alumna and completed part of her PhD research at Columbia University in New York. She has also studied journalism and film and has worked as a journalist at different media organizations in Hungary. Dr. Bogdan is one of the founding editors of Critical Romani Studies journal and is a member of the ERCF Board which runs Gallery8 – the first Roma contemporary art space in Hungary.



Prof Dr. Ethel Brooks


Professor Dr. Ethel Brooks is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She has conducted research on an host of sites around the world including London, Istanbul, Fall River, San Salvador, Dhaka and York City. Professor Brooks is currently working on two book projects: “Disrupting the Nation: Land Tenure, Productivity and the Possibilities of a Romani Post-Coloniality”, and “(Mis)Recognitions and (Un)Acknowledgements: Visualities, Productivities and the Contours of Romani Feminism”, both of which focus on political economy and cultural production and the increasing violence against Romani (Gypsy) citizens worldwide.

In 2011 Professor Brooks was awarded a prestigious Fulbright-University of the Arts London Distinguished Chair Award and she spent the academic year 2011/2012 at TrAIN – the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation. Part of the award supported Professor Brooks’ delivery of a lecture series in conjunction with the Tate Gallery, London.

Brooks serves as a member of numerous boards and commissions, including the USC Shoah Foundation VHA External Advisory Committee, the RomArchive, the European Roma Rights Centre, and the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. She is a member of the US Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and its Roma Genocide Working Group.

In 2016, she was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.



Dr. Ismael Cortés-Gómez

Vice-Chair of the Barvalipe Academy



Dr. Ismael Cortés-Gómez is a political philosopher who currently holds a double academic position as a part-time lecturer at the Unesco Chair of Philosophy (Universitat Jaume I de Castelló) and as a visiting researcher at the Institute DEMOS Paz (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). Last year he was awarded a postdoctoral position at the Romani Studies Program (Central European University). His research interest focuses on the interrelation among law-culture-politics, by analyzing how ideologies constitute institutional norms, policy frames, and action programs. During his academic career, Dr. Cortés-Gómezhas been a researcher at the School of Critical Theory & Cultural Studies (University of Nottingham), the Institute for the Study of Peace and Conflicts (International University of Andalusia) and the Institute of Human Rights Bartolomé de las Casas (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid).

Dr. Cortés-Gómez has worked as a policy analyst for Open Society Foundations from 2016 to 2018, both with the Budapest and the Brussels office; he also collaborates as an associate researcher with the Brussels-based think tank Centre for European Policy Studies. He has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and op-eds with newspapers such as HuffPost, Le Monde Diplomatique, Euractiv, and El País. His work is deeply engaged with the criticism of new forms of racism and ethnonationalism in the European Union.


Nedjo Osman

Nedjo Osman was born in Skopje/Macedonia, in the former Yugoslavia. Osman began his acting career at the Roma theater Pralipe in Skopje. After graduating from the Film and Theater Academy in Novi Sad, he worked as a theater actor at the National Theater KPGT in Subotica and made guest appearances on the stage of the Serbian National Theaters in Novi Sad and JDP Belgrade.
After the outbreak of the war in the Balkans, he came to Germany as a member of the ensemble of the Pralipe Theater at the Theater Mülheim an der Ruhr, where his leading role received outstanding reviews in magazines and newspapers such as Theater Heute, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Frankfurter Rundschau, Süddeutsche Zeitung etc. He took leading roles in many productions from classical to modern for which he received numerous awards.
Osman has performed at various international festivals in Europe, awarded with best critiques as well as numerous awards: the Golden Laurel Wreath at the International Theater Festival MESS Sarajevo in 1991 and for the leading role of Sebastian in the play “Anita Berber” at the Theater Festival in Vojvodina in 1997. In 2003, for the first time, the Yul Brynner Prize was awarded in Berlin and Nedjo Osman was awarded for directing the play “Medea” as well as in his capacity as a Roma actor. In Zagreb in 2017, he received the “Šaip Jusuf” lifetime achievement award. The prize is awarded for the contribution to the development of the Roma community in the field of culture, art and education.
In 1996, after leaving Pralipe Theater, he was a guest actor in many German city theaters such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Saarbrücken and many others.
Since 1996 he has been a freelance actor and director and together with Nada Kokotovic acts as the artistic director of the Theater TKO / Choreodrama – Romano Theater in Cologne.
As a journalist, he directed and moderated programs in Romanes at Radio Multi-Kulti in Berlin from 2000 to 2002 and at Deutsche Welle in Bonn from 2002 to 2014.
As a translator into Romanes and as a poet, Nedjo Osman has discovered his passion for writing at an early age. His inspiration is the street, Roma inhabited neighborhoods, experiences with non-Roma and love as a source of beauty. His poems have been published in Serbia, Turkey, Macedonia, Croatia and Germany.
As a long-standing translator of Roma culture, Osman has also acted as a social worker and mediator in various Roma projects in Cologne and many other German cities.
For years Osman has been trying to awaken Roma interest in art as one of the most important elements of Roma culture and identity. He has been working continuously to promote Roma culture and Roma theater among non-Roma in order to change their minds and change the image of Roma.



Tony Gatlif


Tony Gatlif is an acclaimed French film director, screenwriter, composer, actor, and producer of Romani ethnicity. He was born in Algeria in 1948 and came to France in 1960. Starting in 1981, he has tackled the theme he now explores from film to film: Romani people from all over the world, seduced by this “community in movement” and “of great richness and diversity.” He is best known for his films dealing inspired by Romani arts and culture, including “Latcho Drom” (1993), “Gadjo Dilo” (1997), “Vengo” (2000), “Transylvania” (2006) and “Korkoro” (2009). His 2004 film “Exils” won the Best Director Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. He was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur on 30 March 2015.



Dr. Delia Madalina Grigore


Dr. Delia Mandalina Grigore is a Rromani woman born 1972 in Galaţi, Romania. She holds a Ph.D. in visual arts, with a specialization ethnography-ethnology from the Romanian Academy, Institute of Ethnography and Folklore in 2004. She is a senior reader at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Rromani Language and Literature Section and the President of the Roma Center “Amare Rromentza”. She works in education, Rromology research (e.g. ethnography, ethnology, ethnolinguistics, folklore, oral history, and literature) and Rromani culture fields. She is the author of several works, including Introduction in the Study of Traditional Culture Elements of the Contemporary Rromani Identity (2001, University of Bucharest – CREDIS, Bucharest) and Rromanipen – Keystones of Rromani Culture (2011, Amare Rromentza, Bucharest). She is a team member for the presentation of Rromani Literature in Romania for RomArchive.



Delaine Le Bas


Delaine Le Bas was born in 1965 in Worthing, U.K. She studied at St Martins School of Art London. Delaine is a cross-disciplinary artist creating installations, performances, photography, and films. She was one of sixteen artists who were part of “Paradise Lost,” the first Roma Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2007. She worked with her late husband, artist Damian Le Bas, on their installations for their ongoing projects “Safe European Home?” and projects “Gypsy Revolution” and “Gypsy DaDa”, and in 2017 to produce the stage artworks and costumes together for the “Roma Armee”. Delaine created the “Romani Embassy” in 2015. She also has created performance text works with her son, writer Damian James Le Bas. Her works have been included in the Venice Biennales of 2007 & 2017, the Prague Biennales of 2005 & 2007, the Gwangju Biennale 2012, the Zacheta National Gallery of Art 2013, the MWW Wroclaw Contemporary Art Museum 2014, the Third Edition of the Project Biennial of Contemporary Art D-O Ark Underground Bosnia and Herzegovina 2015, the Off Biennale Budapest 2015, the Goteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art Extended 2015, and the Critical Contemplations Tate Modern 2017. Delaine is one of the curators for 1st Roma Biennale 2018 and is an Associate Curator at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning London U.K.



Florin Nasture

© Chad Evans Wyatt Photo 2004-2019. Roma Rising. All rights reserved.


Florin Nasture is a Roma advocate from Romania who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the National School of Public Administration, Bucharest. He graduated from the Faculty of Philology and Theology at Bucharest University, where he also obtained a Masters degree in Strategic Management. In addition, he obtained a Master in Social Development Practice from London Metropolitan University. Since 1997, he has been involved in Roma Civil Society, first as a project coordinator for the Romani Criss Foundation and then as the senior manager for the Roma Education Fund. Florin Nasture has a long-standing experience in advocacy for education and health rights of those who are vulnerable. Also, he has been delivering training programmes as part of projects implemented by different organizations in the areas of community mobilization and development, conflict resolution and mediation, democratic participation, project management, and education. In all his work, Florin Nasture has been guided by the principles of community development, gaining significant expertise in civic mobilization and community empowerment.



Emília Rigová


Emília Rigová (born 1980) is a visual artist from the Slovak Republic. She is laureate of the Oskar Cepan Award (2018) for young artists under 40 in Slovakia and a laureate of the Roma Spirit Award (2018). In addition to her artwork, she teaches art courses (object, multi-media, inter-media) at Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. For Rigová, an object in the form of installation or as a performance or a site-specific intervention is a basic element of her art language. Further, she expresses herself through the 2D interface of computer graphics, with reference to classical painting. Concerning the content of her work, she explores intersubjective emotion modified by a specific social-cultural environment. The last five years, her work deals with the topic of internal and external construction of Romani identity and the appropriation of the Romani body in the long history of European culture.


Romani Rose


Romani Rose (born 1946 at Heidelberg, Germany) is a Romani activist who lost 13 relatives in the Holocaust of the Nazi purges against the Romani people and Jews and is the head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. During the founding of the Central Council in 1982 he was voted to the position of Chairman by the delegates of the member organisations – then 9, now 16 state and regional associations – and since then has been confirmed in his post every four years at the member meetings. From 1991, Rose took over the management of the Documentation and Culture Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg. For years he has been known by the federal and state governments for his resoluteness and for his persistent and unyielding work.

Together with the Chairpersons of the National Minorities in Germany, Rose leads the Minority Council, which was founded on September 9, 2004. It is the union of the umbrella organisations of the four national minorities which belong to the German nation and have always been resident and autochthonous here. For three decades –since June 1979 to be exact – he has led the work for the civil rights of German Sinti and Roma before the eyes of the German as well as the international public; he has also fought for their protection from racism and discrimination, for compensation for the survivors of the Holocaust – at the same time announcing the magnitude and the historical importance of the genocide of 500,000 Sinti and Roma in National Socialist occupied Europe. In May 1995, in cooperation with the member organisations of the Central Council, Rose achieved recognition for German Sinti and Roma as a national minority in Germany with their own minority language, connected with their goal of equal participation in social and political life.



Miguel Ángel Vargas


Miguel Ángel Vargas (born 1978, Spain) is a stage director, poet, actor, and researcher. In his work, inspired by the poetics of the old, he uses material and aesthetic elements of the past to influence contemporary contexts; from his point of view, nothing – material or not – dies free of life and of a certain magical influence, especially in the universe of Theater. He earned his degree in Art History from the University of Seville, studied Stage Direction in the the Instituto del Teatro de Sevilla, and currently researching the representation of Roma theater artists on stage (Sevilla and Cádiz, 1746-1845), while also collaborating with international organizations like ERIAC or Central European University for the Roma emancipation through culture and art. Miguel has performed as a theater actor on several stages across Europe; starting in 2001 with Teatro del Velador and Teatro del Duende (Spain), Newcastle Northern Stage (London), and the historic Roma Theater Pralipe (Germany). As well as occupying different positions in the field of being an opera technician at the Teatro Maestranza, a technical director of the Teatro Quintero, and a TV stage manager for the television program Ratones Coloraos in Canal Sur TV. During 2010, he was the production manager of the show Flamenco Hoy, by international filmmaker Carlos Saura. In 2012, he was awarded Young Creators Award by the Instituto de Cultura Gitana of the Ministry of Culture of Spain.



Mihaela Zatreanu


Mihaela Zatreanu is probably one of the best Romani language teaching experts among the Roma with a broad outlook at the Romani language field. A graduate of the Pedagogical High School and Foreign Language Faculty in Bucharest, Mihaela has worked in Roma education for the past 15 years, first as a primary school teacher, then as a trainer for Roma and non-Roma educators, and educational inspector at the Ministry of Education. Mihaela Zatreanu has been developing the first curriculum for Romani language in Romania and continued her activity authoring of textbooks, publishing a series of textbooks for Romani language. During 5 years as an educational inspector in the Ministry of Education and Research, she contributed to the designing of the legislative policies for increasing the school participation of Roma, has been monitoring and guiding local programs for supplementary school assistance, and introduced the school mediator for the first time in Romania. Mihaela Zatreanu had an important role in introducing Romani language and history in state schools at national level and for the allocation of special places for Roma students at high school and university level. At the European level Mihaela Zatreanu has been working in cooperation with the Council of Europe as a Chief Executive Officer at the European Roma and Travellers Forum. She was acting several years as the educational expert for the Council of Europe, contributing to the development of the policy paper for the education of Roma children in Europe, developing the Guide for Roma school mediators, teaching materials for preschool education and the Curriculum Framework for Romania Language together with a group of European experts. She has been CoE trainer for school mediation and the National Program Officer of ROMACT program in Romania.



Croatian Romani Union “KALI SARA”


Croatian Romani Union, “KALI SARA” (cro., Savez Roma u Republici Hrvatskoj “KALI SARA”) continues the long tradition of the Association for Promoting Roma Education in the Republic of Croatia (UZOR). “KALI SARA” founded in 2007 by MP Mr. Veljko Kajtazi, is one of the most active Roma organizations operating in the Republic of Croatia. It gathers the highest number of Roma community members, associations of the Roma national minority, and the democratically elected Councils of the Roma national minority at the level of counties, cities and municipalities.

Today, CRU “KALI SARA” is the main partner of the Government of the Republic of Croatia in implementing the National Roma Inclusion Strategy (2013- 2020), the Operative Plan for National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia (2017- 2020) and various other programs and initiatives that aim for the improvement of the position of the Roma in Croatia. They are particularly proud about their newspaper, published in four languages (Phralipen.hr), the ongoing initiative of building the Memorial Centre Uštica, and their modern headquarters in the Zagreb City centre.



Museum of Roma Culture in Brno


The Museum of Roma Culture in Brno was established in 1991, their first permanent exhibit was opened on 01 December 2005. The Museum also offers a space for research and community gatherings. The MRC holds a unique position in the world, due to its long existence and collection and documentation work and is a strong partner of ERIAC. Owing to the experience and the team of experts available at the Museum, a cooperation between the MRC and ERIAC will be beneficial and enriching.