Gypsy Children & Education - Blind Willie McTell

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Dr Martin Levinson, is senior lecturer and researcher at Exeter University’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning.  He presented his paper Gypsy children at home and school: questions of culture, learning and identity last Friday at the Cultural Studies Now conference in London. Life has changed significantly for gypsy families in recent years.  Travel is the main factor, while some gypsies still have an entirely itinerant lifestyle, many live in houses.  Some have a lifestyle somewhere in between.  But even those who are sedentary never consider themselves to be completely static, there is a sense of “travelling in the mind”. Dr Levinson originally became interested in gypsy children’s relationship with schooling when he was a teacher.  He was struck by the poor attainment of the gypsy pupils he came across in the classroom.  He joins Laurie Taylor to discuss the educational needs of Gypsy children and whether formal education necessarily means compromising cultural identity?

According to Bob Dylan's song, “Nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell”.  But who was Blind Willie McTell, and why is so little known about the man whom many have described as the most gifted musician of his generation? Michael Gray, writer, critic and broadcaster is the author of a new book entitled Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Search Of Blind Willie McTell which recounts his journey into the deep American south, to discover what life was like for a black musician from a poor town, growing up in the pre-civil rights era. Blind from birth, McTell used his musical talents to escape a life of labouring in the cotton fields and went on to explode every stereotype about blues artists.  Despite numerous record deals, he spent much of his life busking on street corners, achieving fame only after his death during the 1960s country blues revival.

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30 minutes

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Mon 30 Jul 2007 00:15

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