2021 PERSEPHONE MIEL FELLOW
Elena Stancu is a Romanian journalist who lives in a campervan and travels throughout Europe to document Romanian immigrants. She has been working as a journalist for 17 years; her reporting focuses on extreme poverty, domestic violence, life in Romanian prisons, the drug crisis in Romanian hospitals, racism, discrimination, and migration.
Stancu was a deputy editor-in-chief at Marie Claire Romania. In 2013, she resigned and moved into a campervan with her partner, photographer Cosmin Bumbuț, in order to be able to work on documentary projects.
She has won several journalism awards and grants, including a fellowship from the Carter Center in the U.S. and the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence. She has made two independent documentaries, The Last Kalderash (2016) and The Residents (2018), and her stories have appeared in her book Acasă, pe drum (At Home on the Road) (Humanitas, 2017).
In January 2019, she started a documentary project on the Romanian diaspora communities: Romania is the EU country with most citizens living abroad. She spent months doing fieldwork from her campervan, writing about Romanians picking strawberries in Spain, migrant workers in the fields of Germany, cleaning ladies in Portugal, and Romanian doctors in Italy.
In the UK, she's documenting Romanian immigrant communities affected by Brexit and the pandemic. Her feature reports are published in Libertatea, the largest daily newspaper in Romania, and on Teleleu.eu.