Decolonial Perspectives on the Image of the Spanish Romanies

24, 25 and 26 May 2023

Centro Cultural La Corrala-Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, c/ Carlos Arniches, 3, 5, 28005, Madrid.

Conference programme
Videos of the conference
Silueta negra de una mujer con fondo rojo y ruedas colgadas al fondo

Image: Proud Roma (Pablo Vega, ERIAC, 2021)

Call for proposals

The representation of the Roma has been essential in the construction of Spanish identity. Contrary to what happens with other minorities, where invisibilisation prevails, the Spanish Roma have been victims of a proliferation of images so powerful that they are usually accepted as representative of an entire people. proliferation of images so powerful that they are usually accepted as representative of an entire people. The weight of these stereotypes, spread since the publication of Cervantes’ La gitanilla, has been such that Charnon-Deutsch (2004) has called it a ‘European obsession’. Images have fluctuated between exotic caricatures and the most damaging generalisations about the Roma and their culture. And yet, despite their supposed “otherness”, the representation of the Roma has shaped the image of Spain by portraying it as an orientalised country.

In recent decades, the access of Roma to filmmaking and the production of their own creations from a place of situated knowledge makes it an urgent task to examine the modes of representation and self-representation chosen. This is especially demanded in a context where, on the one hand, the socio-economic progress of the Roma has stagnated, while on the other hand the Roma have achieved certain, specific historical demands – such as the acceptance of anti-Gypsyism as a hate crime, and the teaching of Roma history in compulsory education. In addition, the European Union has promoted transnational initiatives such as the Decade of Roma Inclusion (2005-2015) and institutions such as ERIAC, supported by the Council of Europe and the Open Society Foundations, have combatted prejudice through culture and the media.


This conference aims to stimulate reflection centred on the dramatic arts and media (fiction and documentary films, television, and online formats), from a decolonial perspective, addressing the following:

  • Decolonising/’Romanising’ the theory and historiography of media and dramatic arts.
  • Roma self-representation.
  • Expanded notions of Roma authorship and creativity.
  • Feminism, LGBTI+ discourses, class, and other modes of intersectionality.
  • Racial politics of casting.
  • Museums and archives. The work of Roma in the protection of their cultural heritage.
  • Roma activism in networks.
  • Visibilisation of the Roma in the national curriculum.
  • Comparative studies of the representation of the Calós, with the Sinti-Manouches, the Roms and the Doms (or any other denominations).
  • Cultural appropriation/expropriation (Buhigas) of Roma images and iconographies.

Submission of papers
and deadline

Please send your proposal in Spanish, English, or Romani language

by email to by 15 February 2023 with the subject: ‘Proposal for the DocRoma Congress’

and include the following: an editable text document with your name; institutional affiliation (if any); email; title; abstract (maximum 250 words) and keywords (maximum 5); bibliography (optional); and biography (maximum 150 words).

Send now

Organised by

DocRoma. The Image of the Roma in Documentary Film. With the support of the Convocatoria Atracción de Talento de la Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid ref: 2020-T1/HUM-20231

Organising Committee

  • Lidia Merás (Autonomous University of Madrid, PI)
  • Rafael Buhigas Jiménez (Autonomous University of Madrid / Complutense University of Madrid, Network Coordinator)

Advisory Board

  • Petre Breazu (Loughborough University London)
  • Sebijan Fejzula (Coimbra University)
  • Patricia Galletti (IDAES, Argentina)
  • Fernando Macías Aranda (University of Barcelona)
  • Margareta Matache (Harvard University)
  • Tamara Moya Jorge (Carlos III University, Madrid)
  • Idoia Murga Castro (CSIC, Spain)
  • Iván Periáñez Bolaño (University of Sevilla)
  • Mariana Sabino-Salazar (University of Texas at Austin)