Roma youth in Romania: "What did I do all winter? Bear things. I hibernated!

IRiS research fellow Dr Stefano Piemontese, has produced a video diary from Lauren Ionescu, a young Roma affected by poverty and lack of mobility in Europe

Tall man in hoodie works in factory, packing boxes

Lauren Ionescu at his local town hall, unpacking aid boxes

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow Stefano Piemontese, from the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS), started filming Lauren's life in 2014.

At that time, Lauren was a teenager living in precarious housing conditions on the outskirts of Madrid, and Stefano was a PhD candidate working on youth migration. Their experimental collaborations continued for a couple of years. Then Stefano's doctoral scholarship ended, and the possibility to produce a collaborative documentary movie went on stand-by.

"Over the years, we kept imagining working together on this project, each of us with different motivations and positionalities," says Stefano. Finally, the opportunity presented itself with the EU-funded project "Resilience and Resignation among Transnational Roma and non-Roma Youths" (RETRY, 2019-2022). "Unfortunately, the pandemic broke out shortly before we could meet in Romania, where Lauren had eventually returned with his family", Stefano explains. "So, towards the end of 2020, I sent him a smartphone and invited him to record his life." This video is Lauren's diary of that period.

Camera and script – Lauren Ionescu
Production – Stefano Piemontese
Editing – Jérôme Walter Gueguen
Subtitles – Emily Churchill Zaraa

Stefano's chapter "Combining Participatory and Audiovisual Methods with Young Roma Affected by Mobility" (2021) provides a detailed account of the first audiovisual encounters and collaborations between Stefano and Lauren.