Project Type:
Community & social inclusion

Autumn 2021 - ongoing

Participant Group:
Children from Traveller and Roma communities

Danny Brennan, Francesca Hutchinson

Cork Traveller Visibility Group, Irish Traveller Movement and the Yellow Flag Programme, Cork STAR project, Tusla Education Support Service

The Toy Show Appeal and The Community Foundation of Ireland

Our Lives, Our Voices

The Our Lives, Our Voices project is a children’s publishing initiative that puts the voices of children from Traveller and Roma communities at the centre of the creative representation of their identities. We believe that children’s voices must be a part of reducing inequality, and that creativity can offer a safe, joyful, fulfilling way for children to be heard.

The children met on a weekly basis to work collaboratively with our Associate Artists Francesca Hutchinson and Danny Brennan, under the guidance of mentor Mary Branley. Using a wide variety of art materials, they engaged in an extended creative process to create two child-authored, non-fiction books which celebrates their lives and experiences.

Updated on 20th Feb 2014

We are very pleased to publish the findings from the Our Lives, Our Voices research by Dr Susan McDonnell and Dr Tamsin Cavaliero. Our Lives Our Voices is a Kids’ Own project with Traveller and Roma children and young people in Cork.

The report presents the findings of evaluation research conducted as part of a 12-week participatory interdisciplinary arts and publishing project that took place in Cork city in 2021-22. The arts project comprised two series of workshops: one with a group of Roma children and young people, and one with a group of Traveller children and young people, resulting in the production of two books featuring participants’ stories and artwork.

Follow the link to view the full report

Updated on 19th Jan 2024

We are delighted to announce the launch of the two compelling books, “Grow Up Strong” and “The Real Us,” reflecting the lives and experiences of Traveller and Roma children in Cork.  Developed in collaboration with the Cork Traveller Visibility Group, TUSLA Education Support Service, and the Cork STAR project, these books showcase the creativity and resilience of young voices. The official launch will take place at Nano Nagle Place on Thursday, November 25th, from 11 am to 1 pm, with the esteemed presence of the Lord Mayor of Cork.

These remarkable publications offer a unique insight into the worlds of Traveller and Roma children, sharing their stories and artwork that highlight the significance of their experiences. Over a period of 12 weeks, these young individuals engaged in collaborative sessions with Kids’ Own Associate Artist Francesca Hutchinson, alongside Associate Writers Daniel Brennan and Mary Branley. The creative process involved storytelling about their lives and experiences, accompanied by experimentation with unconventional materials such as latex, PVA, clay, and found materials to produce visually stunning artwork.

The titles, “Grow Up Strong” and “The Real Us,” were carefully chosen by the young creators themselves. “Grow Up Strong” encapsulates the resilience and confidence imparted by their mothers, encouraging them to stand tall despite challenges. In “The Real Us,” the group of Roma young people addresses prevalent stereotypes, emphasising their genuine aspirations for education and a meaningful future.

In addition to the book launch, a teaching and learning resource for educators will be introduced, providing a valuable tool for integrating these young voices into the classroom. Ciara Gallagher, CEO and Creative Director of Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, expresses immense pride in publishing these insightful books and highlights the organization’s commitment to amplifying the voices and creativity of children from Traveller and Roma communities.

Dan O’Shea, Regional Manager of Tusla Education Support Service, underscores the project’s primary goal of amplifying the voices of young Traveller and Roma students through creative art. The accompanying resource pack is anticipated to be a valuable asset for teachers nationwide, contributing to increased participation, retention, and attendance of Traveller and Roma children in schools.

The Cork Traveller Visibility Group adds their enthusiasm, emphasizing the empowering, challenging, and endearing nature of this creative project. This initiative, supported by the RTE Toy Show Appeal, the Community Foundation for Ireland, the Cork STAR Project, Cork Traveller Visibility Group, and Tusla Education Support Service, stands as a testament to the celebration of diverse voices and positive visibility for Traveller and Roma children in Ireland.



In pandemic times when building new relationships and communities is a struggle, it has been an extraordinary opportunity to speak to and work collaboratively with these young people, creating a new creative community.

Funded by the Toy Show Appeal and The Community Foundation of Ireland, Kids’ Own are delighted to be working in close collaboration with the Irish Traveller Movement and the Yellow Flag Programme on this project.

We are also excited to have researchers Tamsin Cavaliero and Susan McDonnell as part of this project. They will measure the impact of the project on participants, from a rights-based perspective. The research will also explore the impact of the book and resource with a larger group of children in the future.