Social Circus Roundup - Spring 2022 - StageLync

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Social Circus Roundup – Spring 2022

This article is the first part of a biannual update from the Caravan Social Circus Network and its members, the international social circus community.

The Caravan Network has had a busy and exciting beginning of 2022, and we have many exciting updates to share with you. With travel and sanitary restrictions being eased world-wide, our activities are moving forward briskly. It is however, with heavy hearts, that our Development Manager Camille Henry, will be leaving us at the end of March for new horizons. Her work has been monumental with regards to the internal foundations of our network, the implementation of our reformed membership structure, and her tireless work in managing our projects during the COVID crisis! We thank you Camille for your fantastic work, and we wish you all the best in your future adventures.

This year we’ve already welcomed 2 new organisations to our network. We’re delighted that both ‘Circus Central’ in Newcastle, UK and ‘Taking Flight’ in Dublin, Ireland have joined our network as Friends, and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.  In February, our communications, and projects assistant, Will Borrell, was able to travel to Bristol, UK, to attend the ‘Circus Rising’ conference hosted by ‘Circusworks’, the British youth circus network umbrella, to present Caravan, their members, and projects to the British youth circus community. Taina Kopra (Caravan’s President, from Sorin Sirkus) and Tiina Kujala (Univeristy of Tampere, Finland) also presented the Project Circus ++, sharing updates and next phases of the project to the participants of the conference.

The Caravan Youth Advisory Group has also met online to discuss potential future project ideas, and we are in talks with Sorin Sirkus to organise an in-person meeting for the group in the autumn for the group to meet, develop a stronger sense of team spirit, effectively brainstorm and build on the ideas that have begun to emerge. They are eager to see each other in the flesh, after many months of only meeting online!

Caravan’s other projects have also been moving along swiftly.

  • It was the first time in history that one of the host organisations of Circus Transformation in Action (CTF) hosted an online module. We were delighted that AltroCirco in Italy were able to deliver a wonderful module in an online setting, that achieved all the intended learning outcomes, while also enabling the participants to feel connected despite the separation. The final module of CTF6 will take place in Galway at the end of the month at the Galway Community Circus School in person, and we look forward to awarding the participants with their certificates.
  • Unfortunately, we were forced to postpone the first module of Circus Overseas in South Africa from January to April, but we are confident that this is the final time that it will have the date changed, and all the partner organisations are preparing their participants for travelling to South Africa.
  • The multiplier event for our project Circus as an Intercultural Encounter’ will take place in Foligno, Italy on the 2nd and 3rd of April where elements of the research and the handbook will be shared with attendees from all around the world. We have invited representatives from Nablus (Palestine), Cirqu’en Ciel (Lebanon), Sirkhane (Turkey), and Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles (Belgium) to come and share some of their experience and knowledge on the topic of circus work with refugees and migrants in a panel, and roundtable setting.
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The Current Situation in Afghanistan and
The Mobile Mini Circus for Children (MMCC)

An event for MMCC social circus in Afghanistan. Hungry Afghan children at a long table eat bread and stew As you are surely aware, the country of Afghanistan has been under Taliban control for the last 7 months, putting millions of lives at risk, especially those of women, girls, and children.  Their organization has been heavily impacted by this occupation, but thankfully all their staff and trainers are safe, although they have experienced vandalism and theft of equipment during the chaos and unrest.

Their normal activities include singing, dancing, juggling acrobatics, and many other forms of performance art and circus, but this has been forced to stop, to not provoke the new authorities. The situation is very delicate and dangerous; the Red Cross has warned that the starvation could kill more people in Afghanistan than in the previous 20 years of war. Which is why MMCC have dedicated their capacities towards providing the most vulnerable children and families with basic food packages together with some basic psychosocial activities for the children (social games and juggling etc.) This will first of all help the starving children and families to survive (together with the social games and trauma therapies) but also help them rebrand our activities in Afghanistan as an emergency provider and thereby justify their existence and activities in Afghanistan. The current battle is to convince the officials that they are an ‘emergency charity’ bringing food to starving families along with recreational activities for children, or order to get them off the ‘black NGO’ list. The objectives is to gradually be able to progress and expand towards as many youth circus activities as possible, but it takes time, and there is enormous prejudice about the participation of girls.

MMCC can be much safer if they are able to quickly start food emergency activities and get a good reputation in Afghanistan and among the Taliban as being the NGO that brings food to starving children and families. This will also reduce the danger for our artists and for anyone who is in anyways associated with MMCC. At the same time, MMCC with the new branding and the network of its youth trainers in different provinces, also with food distribution can make a very strong infrastructure for more social circus activities. Afghanistan is in such a dramatic situation both with hunger and depression, so we would like to invite you to support their fundraising effort in any of the following ways:

  • Donate; especially the monthly contribution which is also matched 100% in the first month and can sustain our activities in our long-term planning: globalgiving.org/projects/Sharing
  • Share the fundraising link in your network
  • Check out their website or facebook and donate directly there
  • Sign up to their newsletter for updates
  • Make your own fundraiser (for MMCC´s BackToLife campaign) in a few steps by this link: globalgiving.org/fundraisers

Not only will this support Afghanistan and Afghan children, but also MMCC and all their activities to improve and reach more people across Afghanistan. Thank you.

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News from Social Circuses Around the World

Galway Community Circus(Ireland)

Galway Community Circus kicked off their 20th anniversary year as a proud recipient of the Arts Council Open Call funding for 2022, receiving €171,150 for their LifeLine project. LifeLine will take place on 16th July 2022 and will feature a cast of 150 people from all walks of life that will perform Europe’s largest highwire spectacle over the River Corrib and Claddagh Basin in the heart of Galway City.

Cirkus Bosko (Montenegro)

Cirkus Bosko have started their project in the Youth Detention Center “Ljubović” with the aims to help and prepare young people from the Detention centerto prepare for a better future and life after their service. Following the successful model of the European countries which use social circus as one of the methods of work with youth in detention centers, they decided to try it in Montenegro.

Axé Cirque (Switzerland)

Courant d’Cirque company is really happy to welcome the third edition of Axé Cirque from May 24 to May 30th in Cossonay, Switzerland. More than 60 young artists coming from Spain (Malabaracirco), Italy (Fuma Che’Nduma), Belgium (Ecole de cirque de Marchin) and Switzerland (LABO’Cirque) will meet through circus during a whole week.

CIRQUEON (Czech Republic)

CIRQUEON is in the middle of their Circus in Schools project. Thanks to the funding from the Czech Ministry of Education, CIRQUEON has been able to train eight physical education teachers from Prague schools in circus pedagogy and now follows up with them in classes. They are also working on a manual for schools that will guide them in adding circus skills to their physical education curricula using equipment they already have.

CIRQUEON training activity- circus artists in a gym practice over mats and a trampoline
CIRQUEON

L’art d’en faire (France)

L’Art d’En Faire have just set up their tent again in Lablachère – south Ardeche, for 4 months with a large program for youth. Passerelle (or « bridge ») is a project specifically intended for young people from 16 to 30 years old in social or professional difficulty. Through different times, between circus practice and professional immersion, L’Art d’En Faire assist them to gain more self confidence and to make easier their integration into the world of work. A group of 8 to 10 young people have joined them, and will stay until summer.

Sirkus Magenta (Finland)

Sirkus Magenta is very happy to announce that The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (Taike) has awarded us with an annual subsidy. This is a huge progress in promoting social circus and the applied arts field in Finland. New episodes are coming out in March of our Circus training for the elderly on TV, in co-operation with the world’s first geriatric TV channel KotiTV. This year we aim to shoot as many as 30 new episodes and be a part of the channels’ weekly program.  The project is funded by the City of Helsinki and TAIKE Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

The Palestinian Circus School in Rome (Palestine)

A Circus training workshop implemented by The Palestinian Circus School for 17 dancers from different nationalities at the National Dance Academy in Rome – “Italy Accademia Nazionale di Danza”. This workshop is part of an exchange project between the Palestine Circus School and the National Dance Academy in Rome, in partnership with Faculty of Art, Music and Design at Birzeit University and Sareyyet Ramallah. The workshop aims to develop the capacities of the dancers by training them on various circus disciplines: Acrobatics, Acro lifting, acro-dance, pyramids and physical preparation exercises. In addition to group work exercises that focus on trust and concentration.

Caravan Circus Network
Caravan is an international youth and social circus network of 30 circus schools from across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, that advocates for the positive impact of youth and social circus. The network was established in 2008 by 6 European circus schools, with a common goal to use social circus as an educational tool and to dedicate this work to groups from disadvantaged backgrounds with specific needs.
We are a non-profit organisation that is committed to developing the sector and empowering our members and their participants. Our members are closely connected, and these links have been created through our projects: Youth festivals and exchanges, training for trainers programmes, capacity building, volunteer exchange, production of research, seminars and gathering of resources.

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Caravan Circus Network

Caravan is an international youth and social circus network of 30 circus schools from across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, that advocates for the positive impact of youth and social circus. The network was established in 2008 by 6 European circus schools, with a common goal to use social circus as an educational tool and to dedicate this work to groups from disadvantaged backgrounds with specific needs. We are a non-profit organisation that is committed to developing the sector and empowering our members and their participants. Our members are closely connected, and these links have been created through our projects: Youth festivals and exchanges, training for trainers programmes, capacity building, volunteer exchange, production of research, seminars and gathering of resources.