January 11, 2024, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
Venue: Budapest, City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle, Museum of Hungarian Agriculture
Organiser: European Circus Association (ECA) logó National Circus Arts Centre
Conferencer: Anna Vas
The conference of the European Circus Association (ECA) presents current issues of European circus culture. ECA offers a chance to learn about practices of Hungarian and international circuses, and to open professional discussions on topics such as: animal wellbeing, the cultural recognition of circus, the regulation of circus artists’ mobility, the education of children travelling with circuses, circus in education, higher circus education, circus heritage, and circus museology.
The Circus, education, heritage – ECA International Academic Conference will host seventeen lecturers from nine countries to report on their own results of circus-related research, in Hungarian, English, French, Russian, and German language.
10.00 Conference Opening
Peter Fekete, Director General of the National Circus Arts Center (Hungary): Opening Speech
10.10 Helmut Grosscurth, Managing Director of the European Circus Association (ECA) (Germany): ECA Goals and Achievements
10.30 Annette Schwer, Education Officer of the European Circus Association (ECA) (Germany), Former Director of the School for Circus Children in North Rhine-Westphalia, Vice President of the ENTE board (European Network for Traveler Education), President of the IfiF (Privates Institut für individuelle Förderung und Schulmanagement): Interaction of Education and Culture to Secure the Future of Circus
11:00 Konferencia megnyitó,
Fekete Péter kultúráért felelős államtitkár, a Budapest Nemzetközi Cirkuszfesztivál szervező bizottsága elnökének köszöntője
Dr. Alain Frére, a Monte-Carlói Nemzetközi Cirkuszfesztivál társ-alapítójának és művészeti tanácsadójának köszöntője
11.30 Kamilla Reidl, Acting Rector of the Budapest College of Circus Arts and Contemporary Dance (Hungary): Integration of Circus Arts Program into the Hungarian Higher Education System
11.40 Andrea Horthy, Leader of the Mentoring Programme of the National Circus Arts Center (Hungary): Circus Mentoring Programme – Mentoring of the Amateur, Self-organizing Circus Communities in Hungary
11.45 András Sándor, aLeader of the Educational Programme of the National Circus Arts Center (Hungary): Circus Networking in Hungary 'Learn circus!' - Skill Development in Educational and Cultural Institutions
11.50 Emese Joó, Chief Museologist, Head of the Museum, Library and Archives of Hungarian Circus Arts (Hungary): Circus Education is Circus and More – Publication Premier
12.00–13.00 Wonderful Circus World – International Circus History
11 January 2024 will also be a celebration of circus performing arts and circus science in Budapest's Városliget, when we open our major international exhibition on circus history. The exhibition of the 15th Budapest Circus Festival will bring together for the first time Hungarian artist dynasties, special artist relics and stories, historical documents of Hungarian world number circus productions, as well as important works of circus art and film.
13.00–13.45 Lunch Break
14.00 Peter Fekete, Director General of the National Circus Arts Center (Hungary): Audio Description – Poster Presentation
14.10 Dr. Alain Frére, Circus Researcher, Collector, Musée du Cirque Alain Frére (France): Video Presentation of the Museum Collection
14.20 Antonio Giarola, President of the Centro Educativo di Documentazione Arti Circensi (Italy): CEDAC: A Management Model for Circus Heritage
14.30 Genís Matabosch Giménez, President of the Circus Arts Foundation and Director of the Circusland (Spain): CIRCUSLAND: The European House for the Professional Conservation of Circus Heritage (ZOOM)
14.40 Yulia Osipova, Museologist, Archivist, Circus Art Museum (Russia): Circus Art Museum: Heritage Preservation and Creative Laboratory
14.50 Michael Swatosch, Director of the Vienna Circus & Clown Museum (Austria): Circus YESTERDAY – TODAY. The Circus & Clown Museum Vienna as an Important Place of Preservation and Research
15.00 Louis-Sampion Bouglione, Co-director of Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione, in charge of communication and visual identity, President of Association Musée Émilien Bouglione and Director of Musée Émilien Bouglione (France): Émilien Bouglione Museum in Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione, Creation, History and Future of a Collection
15.15–15.45 Coffee Break
15.45 Eszter Csonka-Takács, Director of the Directorate of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Hungarian Open Air Museum (Hungary): Perspectives of the Common Heritage
15.55 Amanda Gatewood, Scientist of University of Wisconson-Madison, School of Medicine and Public Health (USA) and Dr. LaReina Hingson, Visiting Faculty Member, Linguistics at Brigham Young University (USA): Developing a Circus Classification System (ZOOM)
16.10 Szandra Szonday, museologist of the Museum, Library and Archives of Hungarian Circus Arts (Hungary): What is a Horse Juggler? - Developing a Circus Genre Taxonomy
16.20-16.45 Panel Discussion. Moderator: Brúnó Schütz
Roberto Fazzini (Italy), Nargiz Tamabekkyzy (Kazakhstan), Davio Casartelli (Italy), Gilles Maignant (France), Irina Ivanovna Zaitseva (Russia), Emese Joó (Magyarország)
16.50 Helmut Grosscurth, Managing Director of the European Circus Association (Germany): Closing Words
The conference is open to all and no pre-registration is required.
Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in English, French, German, Russian and Hungarian.
We are looking forward to welcoming you at the conference!
On behalf of the organisers:
Péter Fekete, Director General of the National Circus Arts Centre and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Budapest Circus Festival,
Emese Joó, Head of the Museum, Library and Archives of Hungarian Circus Arts,
Tünde Kerülő, Exhibition Manager of the Museum, Library and Archives of Hungarian Circus Arts,
Andrea Horthy, Leader of the Mentoring Programme of the National Circus Arts Centre,
András Sándor, Leader of the Educational Programme of the National Circus Arts Centre.
It is a great pleasure and an even greater honour for us that the European Circus Association (ECA) will organise its international circus professional-scientific conference in Budapest for the fourth time – after 2016, 2018 and 2020 – in close cooperation with the Hungarian National Circus Arts Centre, as a flagship programme of the Budapest Circus Festival.
In 2024, the international scientific conference "Circus, Education, Heritage" will be the first important strategic meeting point for the circus profession, where, in addition to exchanging experiences, we will also formulate, together with the leading figures of the European circus industry, objectives that will define the present, the near and the distant future of this art form.
It is a particular pleasure to welcome Helmut Grosscurth, Managing Director of the European Circus Association, who will open the event by highlighting the most important practical challenges facing European circuses and their political and international legal implications. Among these, I would like to emphasise the hot topic of a possible regulatory framework for circus arts involving animals. Annette Schwer, ECA Education Officer and Vice President of the European Network for Traveller Education board, will present a similarly relevant topic. The aim of her presentation is to give an insight into the educational opportunities for children and young people travelling with the circus, based on good examples from the Netherlands and Germany, and to provide an overview of the opportunities and challenges within the European Union.
In the morning session of the conference, several presentations will focus on the many innovative areas of circus education and training, from pre-school to university arts degrees, from introductory and informal classes for the public to the pedagogical aspects of circus values, such as responsible animal husbandry or "audio description” for the circus performances.
I would like to underline the main theme of the afternoon session of the conference: the increasingly important issue of cultural preservation. According to the 2003 UNESCO Convention, the preservation and promotion of our common cultural heritage is of the utmost importance. Circus arts play an important role in this, and Hungary has been at the forefront of initiatives in this direction, being one of the first countries in the world to place circus arts on the list of national cultural heritage.
We are pleased to see more and more circus exhibitions, museums, collections, archives and libraries are opening around the world, and more and more researchers are working to preserve circus heritage. With our conference, we are creating for the first time in the world a collective showcase for circus collections and our academic workshop, the Museum, Library and Archives of Hungarian Circus Arts, to learn about each other's methods and to develop close professional relationships. Our international exhibition on circus history ’Wonderful Circus World’, linked to the conference, will showcase circus heritage conservation activities in 13 countries. We will present fascinating circus artefacts to the public, while promoting dialogue between new academic disciplines such as circus museology and the taxonomy of circus genres – which are niche areas for circus heritage studies.
This year's ECA conference will be perhaps more diverse and complex than ever before. It will create a vibrant intellectual community of researchers from all over the world, demonstrating that these issues are not just those of a narrow profession, but go far beyond that and are fundamental to the future of our culture.BACK
ECA is working on four mail goals. Cultural recognition for the circus has been achieved in several European countries and in the European Parliament. Animal welfare is still a big issue in some countries. ECA is working on saving the circus with animals here. EU regulations are still not harmonized, e.g. visa and work permits difficult to get for circus artists. Finally, ECA is working on the education for children living and travelling in the circus.
On the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which describes the child's right to education, a look is taken at the educational situation of children of professional travellers in Europe. In the UN Convention, the right to education has been enshrined as a general "cultural" human right, as described in Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Social Covenant). In this way, an explicit link between education and culture is established. Equal opportunities for education on the journey, at and with the circus on the one hand, but on the other hand also the aspect of preserving culture through education for the circus is internationally linked and anchored. In this sense, the question arises as to how this educational obligation will be fulfilled in Europe with regard to children who live in circuses and travel with them. In most European countries, compulsory education for children is enshrined in law. Ultimately, it is the parents who are responsible for this, and the state exercises some control. In Germany, schooling is compulsory! Here, all children have to attend a state-approved school. Both the ECA and ENTE repeatedly note that children on the journey rarely receive an equal opportunity education and are therefore rarely able to achieve a higher degree or complete a course of study. For this reason, two "Best Practice" films are shown below, which are intended to illustrate what a successful education for children and young people on the journey can look like. In addition, a scientific project from Germany will be addressed, which will deal with the educational opportunities of children on the journey in a large-scale study in 2024. The aim of this lecture is to take a look at the educational opportunities of children and young people travelling with the circus in order to motivate all European countries to follow the example of the Netherlands and Germany and thus strengthen circus culture from its roots!
The Budapest Circus Arts and Contemporary Dance College is a space and community for the learning, teaching, research and development of time-based, movement-based performing arts. With the start of the Circus Arts degree courses in 2023, the College will continue the pioneering work in the new field of performing arts that began 40 years ago in contemporary dance. In close cooperation with the National Centre for Circus Arts, it is its mission to introduce circus genres and fields of art to higher education in Hungary. The courses launched aim to research and develop circus arts with an educational focus and to create a professional community of teachers, students and circus artists. In my presentation, I will describe the professional programme of the new courses, the pedagogical challenges we face and the results we have achieved. How can the courses develop together, yet as separate identities?
The Circus Mentoring Programme which launched by the National Circus Arts Centre has started in September 2023, and the main task was to gather the Hungarian amateur, self-organizing communities, organize them into a network, and support their work. Since no one in the world – in relation of the circus art – has started to create such a large-scale and completely free mentoring programme, it was quite a challenge to develop it. The evolution of the programme was a special curiosity; the first reactions of the approached mentees and how the future operation of the mentoring programme was outlined day by day. We worked out the details of the mentoring programme with the active participation of our mentees, because it soon became obvious for us that not only in the circus genres, but even in each landscape unit they face completely different needs and problems, in connection with they ask for our mentoring help. Another interesting thing is that when we dreamed up the Circus Mentoring Program, we didn’t have extra financial resources available, so on the one hand the programme was very uplifting „fairy godmother”, since we didn’t ask anything in return from our mentees, on the other hand we were facing a very difficult task and a real challenge.
The extension of circus network in Hungary is a highlighted goal of the National Circus Arts Centre. One of the tools used in this network-building is the role of the institute’s own travelling circus educational workshop in domestic cultural, and educational institutions. The program is funded by the state of Hungary and coordinated by the National Cultural Centre (Nemzeti Művelődési Intézet). The program is made for elementary and secondary school students, consists of cognition and practice of basic circus movements (juggling, balance, human tower etc…) locally, in towns participating. Other than propagating circus arts, developing skills related to the circus, and creating network, the program offers a chance to create cultural equality, as its coordinators mainly await small towns to apply. The program arrives to each town three times, thus providing the opportunity for continuous development, and, at the same time, for setting up the network. This academic year circus network will be built up in 45 cultural regions of 19 counties of Hungary.
During the fall of 2023, Eötvös Loránd University published a volume of new studies on non-formal educational disciplines carried out by Hungarian cultural institutes. Circus in education was introduced as a development of the Capital Circus of Budapest in 2016 and was brought to the curriculum – and to scientific discussion in Hungary – as the newest discipline of non-formal education. The study on circus in education makes an attempt to provide a definition to the term of complex circus in education, while it analyses methods and practices of circus in education that are different from others of non-formal education, and, via audiovisual aid, it presents the historical precedents and international context of circus in education.
Pharmacist and general practitioner in Tourrette-Levens from 1967 to 1998. Mayor of Tourrette-Levens from 1983 to 2020. In 1974, he co-founded the Monte-Carlo Circus Festival, in accordance with the wishes of Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Artistic advisor to the Monte Carlo Circus Festival since its creation in 1974. With the help of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Minister Jean-Philippe LECAT, the circus was recognised as a cultural attraction in France in 1978. He is currently the artistic advisor to the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo, working directly with Princess Stéphanie of Monaco. He has a private circus museum in Tourrette-Levens, where he has costumes of the greatest artists (including the Russian clown "Nikulin" and Grock's costume). He is a jury member of several national and international circus festivals.
Since 2003, the year of its official opening, CEDAC has shifted from an initial empirical management of collections to a scientific and increasingly cooperation-oriented documentary management policy, the most important example being its membership to Italian National Libraries System. The need, over time, has been to think according to an integrated vision of cultural heritage, overcoming the canonical division between library, archive and museum, sectors that, although each characterized by specific descriptive and cataloguing rules, in the most contemporary vision are increasingly managed as interoperable domains. CEDAC brings together around 40 collections, of different consistencies and types of documents, which are progressively being sorted, digitized and described on the ArchiCEDAC portal, from which users can consult the resources. To date, around 2300 digital objects can be consulted directly on the ArchiCEDAC platform.
Located in the medieval town of Besalú (Girona, Spain), Circusland invites the visitor to a walk through the arts of the circus, its origins, history and evolution. Arranged in two three-story buildings, the different equipment rooms show the history of the 250 years of the circus through a tour of the different disciplines of the circus: acrobatics, balance, magic, juggling, trapeze. An attractive presentation involves the visitor and transports him to a magical world through the rooms located in the premises of the old Royal Abbey of Saint Peter: from the ancient Chinese acrobatics to Cirque du Soleil without forgetting the minstrels of the Middle Ages, a prefiguration of today's jugglers. This unique sponsored facility is directed by the same private non-profit cultural foundation that every year organizes the International Golden Elephant Circus Festival, the Great Christmas Circus of Girona or the summer Circus Nights in Roses and Besalú, at the foot of the museum.
The history of the creation of the Circus Art Museum (the original name was the "Circus and Variety Museum") in St. Petersburg (in the year of the Museum's foundation - Leningrad) State Circus collector, theater critic, circus art researcher Vasily Yakovlevich Andreev. Personal collections of materials on the art of the circus, as well as on the art of movement, collected by Vasily Yakovlevich Andreev for several years, adopted as the basis of the Museum and became its base. Features of the acquisition of funds and the principles of thematic classification of museum objects, archival documents, currently ongoing inside the funds work according to criteria developed by the first employees of the Museum. Active exhibition and educational work from the beginning of the Museum's existence to the present day, methods of creating programs for working with a wide audience not directly related to circus art, focus, among other things, on preserving social memory. Organization of work within foundations with specialists and cultural figures.
A brief overview of the history and organization of our museum, from its inception almost 100 years ago to the present day! Handling Circus Heritage / Collection Areas Insight into our working methods. How we deal with the diverse aspects of circus art, preserving and presenting them! Costumes, posters, props, and photographs tell stories of famous circus acts, legendary artists, and the evolution of this art form over the years. Research – Documentation: Research on specific topics and documenting the results in the form of publications are important areas of our work. Museum as a Meeting Place: Not only preservation and research, but also audience education is central to us. Various events and educational programs contribute to promoting understanding and appreciation for the circus as a cultural heritage.
The Emilien Bouglione Museum is located in the heart of the Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione in Paris, the oldest circus in the world. When he was very young, Emilien Bouglione realized that the history of circus arts and the emblematic monument needed both to be preserved. He therefore began to gather objects that were due to be thrown away or, worse still, destroyed. He developed a unique collection and passed it on to his son Louis-Sampion Bouglione who has been in charge of it and enriching it for more than 20 years. Preserving and maintaining a family collection is a challenge requiring daily attention. The traditional circus is a question of transmission, of knowledge which is handed down from generation to generation. The objects of this collection remind us of all the artists and workers who have handled them, and all the audiences who have seen them. Thus, their memories still live on. They will never be forgotten.
The circus heritage does not only mean the production presented to the widest public, but also includes the knowledge, skills, practice, continuously passed down from generation to generation. It includes material, built and intangible cultural heritage. The circus heritage is the element that is spread and known and popular all over the world. According to the 2003 UNESCO Convention it is possible to safeguard the common heritage, make it more visible and make its importance known.
Statistician George Box wrote, „All models are wrong but some are useful.” Classification systems are never perfectly exhaustive or precise. However, a thoughtful classification system can inspire viewers to think more deeply about a concept, its history, and its interconnections. We profile one classification system that organizes over 300 circus skills, apparatus, and disciplines. We discuss 1) why and how the system was created, 2) successes and shortcomings of the system, and 3) a set of questions that can help a reader better understand and use circus organizational systems generally. We encourage viewers of circus classification systems to consider the purpose of the system and the positionality of their authors in relation to circus performance, teaching, academia, history, and geography. We lastly encourage classification systems to remain flexible and dynamic. As circus arts expand and grow, so must circus classification systems.
The circus is an international performing art: its centuries-old terminology reflects this. Different sources often refer to the genres and categorize them in many different ways. The aim of science is to create a consensual, well-defined circus vocabulary, a language of circus science - which already exists for other arts - to enable circus phenomena to be professionally defined, described clearly and accurately for all, and thus linked to other disciplines. In my presentation, I will describe the work in progress in our scientific workshop: the creation of a system and a dictionary of circus genres that will allow the classification of all circus genres in all types of public collections (museums, libraries, archives), allowing the accurate description of the objects in the collection and their searchability. The aim is to record, define and give meaning to selected circus terms through professional dialogue, bringing together the research of circus experts. In my presentation, I want to address this professional community by presenting some specific cases and raising questions and issues.