Committee Contacts


Baroness Janet Whitaker


Lisa Smith

Lisa obtained an MA in Inclusive Education in 2015 from the University of Worcester and is currently Youth Editor at Travellers’ Times a national magazine for and by Roma and Traveller communities. She is also a Global Leader for Young Children at the World Forum Foundation and a freelance education consultant for the Council of Europe as part of the INSCHOOL project on Roma Education.

Vice Chair

Siobhan Spencer

Dr Siobhan Spencer MBE works in a national capacity for her community on Gypsy planning and health community issues). From 1987 to date she has worked in a volunteer capacity as coordinator for Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group. In 2005 she set up The National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups (NFGLG), which encourages and enables members of the Gypsy and Traveller community to participate more effectively with Government agencies. In 2009 she was awarded an MBE for community relations and in 2015 was appointed to Government Commission for the Holocaust Education Advisory Group Between 2007-2009 she represented Gypsy Communities on to the Government Task Group on Accommodation and Enforcement Issues. Siobhan is an advocate of lifelong learning she did not undertake any higher education A levels etc, until after being married at 17 and raising four children. She gained a Law Degree in 2012 from Derby University and PhD from Anglia Ruskin University in 2018.


Vice Chair

Valdemar Kalinin

Valdemar is a renowned Roma linguist and poet who has lived in the UK since 1996. He has worked as a liaison officer with Camden and Hammersmith and Fulham LAs and has contributed to Holocaust memorial celebrations for several years. He is a committed Christian and has translated the New Testament into Romanes.


Anne Walker


Candace Thomas

Candace G. Thomas is Program Coordinator with EPIC Assist Scotland and delivers all ongoing and newly developed projects.

Candace has an MPhil in Sociology from the University of Cambridge and is currently undertaking a PhD in Sociology at University College Dublin. Her research is looking into Irish Traveller Identities and how they negotiate their identity over time, space, and place. Candace has extensive experience designing and implementing various integration/ community education projects both in the UK, and internationally. Candace has worked with children of various ages, with insight into the experiences of refugee and ethnic minority children (providing psychosocial support to residents of the Serres refugee camp, in Northern Greece).

Candace is a Trustee of Fair Scotland a registered Scottish Charity aiming to promote the heritage and culture of Scottish Fairgrounds and sits on the Executive Committee of ACERT. Candace is also the Team Coordinator of the GTRSBC group at the United Nations House Scotland and therefore benefits from an up-to-date understanding of international development and contemporary human rights issues. She has undergone trauma and recovery training with Rape Crisis Glasgow and Clyde, in cooperation with the University of Glasgow, which included an induction and triage sessions on childhood trauma, ACE’s, and domestic violence. Candace is knowledgeable in universal safeguard training and is therefore well equipped to handle any upsets or unforeseeable circumstances which may arise with respectful ease.

Thomas Acton

Dr. Thomas Acton OBE (b.1948) ran the first Gypsy Council caravan school on an illegal site in 1967 and went on to become the UK’s first professor of Romani Studies, at the University of Greenwich. He is also Patron of the Roma Support Group and secretary of the Brentwood Gypsy Support Group. He has published many books and articles on Roma, Gypsies and Travellers.

Colin Clark

Colin teaches applied social sciences at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) where he is currently Professor of Sociology and Social Policy. Colin’s PhD is from Edinburgh University (2001) and his research is mainly located within the connected fields of Romani Studies and ethnic and racial studies, with an interest in issues of identity, migration and citizenship. Colin has published widely in these areas as well as supervised and examined a large number of PhD students. Outside of UWS, Colin sits on the Board of Directors of the Glasgow anti-racist group Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights and is a Trustee of the Glasgow-based Roma Rights group Romano Lav (Roma Voice). He also is a member of the Research Advisory Group for the Scottish Human Rights Commission as well as the Traveller Movement. Colin is from a Scottish Traveller background, on his mother’s side, the extended Robertson family of Aberdeenshire. He tweets at: @profcolinclark and more information about his research work can be found here:

Brian Foster

Hazel Marsh

Hazel Marsh is Associate Professor in the school of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. Her research interests include popular music and social activism, politics and popular culture, the creative arts and community action, collective memory and identity, culture and disaster risk reduction, music and social movements, migration and displacement, and Romani Studies. Hazel has published widely in these areas and worked on a number of interdisciplinary research projects drawing on participatory, arts-based methods to support knowledge exchange between decision-makers and ‘at-risk’ communities. She is an associated member of the European Academic Network on Romani Studies and tweets at @HazelMarsh18. Hazel is from an English Romanichal background on her father’s side. More information about her work can be found here:  


Sue Mutter



Margaret Wood

Margaret Wood has been interested in Traveller education since volunteering at the Gypsy Summer School in Wisbech in the early ‘70s. She taught languages in comprehensive schools before joining Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s newly established Traveller Education Service in 1988. Having spent 8 years as a teacher of Travellers, she worked as the team manager for a further 13 years. Following her retirement, she acted as a consultant to the DfE on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Education. She has contributed a few articles and chapters on good practice to various books and journals. She has been an active member of ACERT since 1990.

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