A pioneering art exhibition showcasing the work of young people from the traveller and Gypsy community opens in Norwich this weekend.

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Entitled ‘Life Through a Lens – My Gypsy Culture’, it seeks to challenge the stereotypes and prejudice faced by young people on a daily basis.

The educational project has been funded by Ormiston Children and Families Trust, and has seen its 15 participants, all aged 12 to 21, complete a college photography course and develop new skills.

For many, it was a first taste of higher education and their first positive experience of learning, culminating in a GCSE-equivalent Arts Award.

Megan Lamb, 15, said: “Life Through a Lens has helped me a lot.

“As I don’t go to school it has given me the confidence to go on to do other things and I would love to do a media make-up course next.

“By taking part in this project I know that I still can get a job and not be at home and married young, like some Travellers are.”

Ormiston chief executive Geoff Prescott said: “Within communities like this, young people currently live with more stigmatisation and racial hatred than ever before.”

He added the coverage of the Dale Farm evictions in Essex and the publicity for programmes such as Big Fat Gypsy Weddings have reinforced negative stereotypes.

He added: “We offered young Travellers the opportunity to create and share inspiring facets of their lives and culture with the wider community and they grabbed it with both hands.”

Life Through a Lens will be at Norwich Arts Centre in St Benedicts Street from Saturday until December 22.

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