Cultural Policy Group of KU Leuven Launches Their Roma Genius Project

RomaGenius is an annotation tool designed by four students from the Cultural Studies Master’s program at KU Leuven University. As part of their Cultural Policy course, they collaborated with the Weave/Europeana project and made their contribution by creating a platform where Roma & Non-Roma people can share their knowledge of Roma music by engaging in respectful dialogue and mutual interaction. Now in its proto version, the logic of the RomaGenius project is quite simple. Currently restricted to a sample of selected Roma songs, the participants are encouraged to make entries in terms of the historical background of the song they pick from the list and explain the meaning of its lyrics, the context where this kind of music is performed, the instruments used and any other relevant information that may extend our understanding and knowledge on Roma music. The team selected these songs from Europeana’s Roma music collection and tried to make the selection as representative as possible of the community. To this aim, they selected songs originating from different countries and contexts with lyrics written in various European languages, and they created a Spotify playlist (link below) accessible to participants for listening while making the annotations.

The tool is incorporated on the website of the RomaGenius Project, and it can be accessed via the link below by everyone interested in Roma cultural heritage and Roma music in particular. In the following weeks, the project team plans to develop the tool further by extending the scope of songs and incorporating the tool to various platforms via hyperlinks.

Screenshot from RomaGenius Website

The team now is excited to promote the project in a public event called “Reboot the Future” to be held up from 19:00-22:00 pm on 30th April 2022, in Machinezaal at Termotechnisch Instituut of KU Leuven University’s Arenberg Campus. The presentation will consist of the introduction to the website and the tool in their proto versions; the discussion on selected Roma songs with their contexts, historical backgrounds, and lyrics; and the portrayal of other visual & audio material pertaining to Roma music.

Spotify playlist:

RomaGenius Website:

From left to right: Zhuo Li, Caro Raedts, Ilker Bahar, Mengyu Li

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