Seen as ‘a people who have been separated from God’, Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have been persecuted, misrepresented, enslaved and even murdered for over five hundred years, in whatever land they reside. In spite of this, religious conviction remains at the very heart of their communities. 

Join cultural critic, theologian and broadcaster Professor Robert Beckford for a fascinating conversation with Dr Steven Horne, the first person of Romany descent from the UK to be awarded a PhD in Theology. Horne’s book Gypsies and Jesus: A Traveller Theology, lights the touch paper on the grace-filled, intimate and unheard core of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller religiosity that is Traveller theology.

About The Author

Steven Horne is an author who will be appearing at Bradford Literature Festival 2022

Steven Horne

Steven Horne is the first person of Romany decent from the UK to be awarded a PhD in Theology. He is currently in the discernment process for ministry in the Church of England, and is the owner and creator of ‘fireside’ – an initiative for mental health and wellbeing for men. His mother is a gorger (non-Gypsy), and his father is a Romany Gypsy. He grew up within two cultures: an amalgamation of Gypsy values and ‘settled’ practices. He was raised in a single-parent family and having effectively left school at 15, he later returned to education, graduating with first-class honours.

About The Chair

Headshot of author, Robert Beckford

Robert Beckford

Professor Robert Beckford joined the University of Winchester in 2021 as Director of the new Institute of Climate and Social Justice. 

Robert is an activist scholar, working interdisciplinarily to address, confront and overturn injustice in African mainland and diaspora communities. Robert’s scholarship takes place across a range of media. He has written eight monographs exploring the interface of religion, ethnicity, and social justice. His most recent work is an action-research project on decoloniality, music and theology (Decolonising Gospel Music: A Revolutionary Theopraxis, Bloomsbury 2022).

Robert is a BAFTA Award-winning documentary filmmaker. His films have contributed to increasing public awareness of issues of corporate malfeasance in Africa, the reparations movement and anti-racism in Britain. Robert’s most recent media projects are an independent film project funded by the Movement for Justice and Reconciliation (50k), exploring the meaning of reconciliation in response to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (‘After Noah: Christianity, Slavery and Reconciliation 2022’). Also a BBC World Service documentary on the environmental impact of colonialism on Barbados (2022).

Robert is currently involved in a range of research projects. He is heading up a £30k collaborative action-research project with Hampshire County Council, Winchester Prison and the Hampshire and Isle of White Wildlife Trust to deliver sustainability (rewilding) education to offenders at Winchester Prison.

Robert is also developing two Knowledge Exchange projects: a hip-hop/rap music-inspired sustainability resource for Key Stage 1 Geography and a series of religious icons titled ‘Our Lady of Climate Justice.’ Finally, in autumn 2022 Robert will be hosting the first national symposium for global majority peoples in Britain advocating climate and social justice.

In 2021, Robert completed a three-year collaborative £600,000 ESRC research project on ‘Austerity Britain’ with the University of Coventry (‘Life on the Breadline’).