Contemporary circus education in focus
With the funding from Nordplus Horizontal and Nordic Culture Point, Finnish Circus Information Centre in collaboration with Turku University of Applied Science’s Arts Academy organized a Nordic seminar that focused on the future and challenges of contemporary circus pedagogy. The seminar offered an excellent occasion for networking and sharing good practices and it gathered participants from eleven countries.
On the 22nd of August 2011, as a part of the Nordic Circus Year 2011, Finnish Circus Information Centre, in collaboration with Turku University of Applied Sciences’ Arts Academy, organized Future Circus Arts Education – Seminar on Circus Pedagogy in Turku. The seminar gathered 55 international participants to discuss today’s and future’s circus education in Nordic countries. Different pedagogical issues from youth circuses to professional degree programmes were examined.
The morning session of the full-day seminar was reserved for lectures. Researcher JuttaVirolainen from Finnish Circus Information Centre presented parts from her recent Nordic Circus Survey, in which the current state and challenges of circus education in Nordic countries were analyzed. Jutta’s lecture was followed by presentations of the two Nordic university level degree programmes in contemporary circus: Stockholm’s Dans- och cirkushögskolan and Turku’s Arts Academy. Other interesting topics were: circus in the Finnish basic arts education system, Social Circus ESR-project from Tampere University and the research projects of FEDEC, the European network for professional circus schools.
In the afternoon the participants were divided in small working groups, where they tackled the key themes of developing the Nordic circus education. Among the participants were representatives from leading European circus schools, Nordic circus professionals and pedagogues, Finnish youth circus directors, partners from the Social Circus project and employees from the organizing establishments: Finnish Circus Information Centre and Turku Arts Academy.
Overall, for those involved in circus pedagogy, the seminar offered an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing best practices. To provide circus teachers with good pedagogical skills was seen important for the development of circus education. Learning communities were seen valuable in order to enhance professional development and the sharing of ideas between pedagogical staff. The role of a teacher and evaluation of learning as a part of the learning process were also discussed. Education, professionalism and broad working experience were seen as good qualities for a circus teacher.
TEXT: Kadja Karjalainen, Finnish Circus Information Centre