To open the Circus and its Others II conference’s closing roundtable on August 29, 2018, its organizers and featured speakers offered five sentences each in response to the conference, in whatever format they wished. Here are those sentences, which launched a free-flowing discussion about the conference and the potential futures of the Circus and its Others inquiry with all attendees.
Women in Circus and its Others workshop session notes:Circus and its Others II conference, Prague, August 27-29 2018
Feedback session (notes taken by Dr. Tina Carter)
Four subject areas/foci:
Working conditions (led by Alisan Funk)
Clusters of barriers to investigate:
- Motherhood: physical body and its expectations
- Integration of children into job constructs: performance, teaching, directing etc.
- Political body
- Fatherhood/Parenthood: looking after the child and social expectations
- Do people choose to be a performer or have a family
- Relationships: how to have a family if touring
- Transparency of pay; gender gaps; locations and classes and races encountering these
- Lack of organizing union especially because of cross-border industry
- Psychosocial barriers – students and faculties; encouraging the flyer to be a coach but saying no as too small
- Foundational experiences in order to get to the next step: how do you get these
- Representation? Accessed by taking students of different genders across different disciplines with educators and teachers
Parenting bisecting with other factors
Visibility (led by Dr. Marion Guyez)
Invisibility of women on stage, even if we are a lot of women and know a lot of women on
Actions proposed to increase visibility of women in circus:
- Work for all of us, men, women in all positions
- Begins with teaching. How can we start with the work in school?
- Working with pedagogy? How can we employ best practices that are already in place in other places?
- One of the issues was to place into question visibility and representation
- And to develop critical analysis and education on all levels
- Create networks to improve visibility; safer to do this from an institutional point of view than individual?
- What are we perpetuating when we work or perform
- Language sensitivity: improve visibility through language e.g. always point to female company when male companies are just companies?
- Marketing and communication: how do we communicate information on show, flyers etc.
- How can publishing about women and Wikipedia project on biographic project on women in circus?
- Promote invisibility and invite those who are visible to experiment on invisibility
- Recognising our labour; make people aware of what they are making especially those who have the power
- Increase diverse curators?
Inclusivity (led by Dr. Karen Fricker)
Started out discussion on terminology. To say non-white is to reinscribe whiteness. Where are
we on acronyms etc. and — while important to have these conversations we also want to move
How do those of us in position of privilege share privilege and move out of the way to enable
for others? Concrete strategies for inclusivity of others?
Ethnicity. Non-whiteness. Etc.
Discussed across international borders. Being aware of our intersections as we move forwards.
Women/feminists feeling oppression but also being white: what platform does that give us to
move forwards? Whilst not ignoring intersections applying to us
Share circus spaces, education etc. with hospitality, with generosity… Big in Canada: listening as
an active occupation.
Being receptive and adapting.
Working in tandem with others.
Inclusion requires representation. Having a conversation about inclusion we were already being
exclusive by organising from the top down. What other members of our potential communities
can be brought in to assist? Paradoxical position.
Norm-creativity (led by Marie-Andrée Robitaille):
Motivations behind norm creativity? Seems all agreed all need to raise awareness that there
are norms and not to replace norms or rules by other rules or norms.
Be aware of the codes to traditional practice of circus and how contemporary circus is also
generating its own set of normative systems. Calling for awareness of that. Important to
support diversity and discuss ethical questions that norms impose.
What is norm creativity? How can this be shaped? Use norms to transform realities; in any kind
of setting where restriction or oppression is occurring it’s important to speak up; not
necessarily negatively but working and talking through and on it to transform in real time.
Children. Circus settings to teach other disciplines e.g. mathematics. Constructing new class
rooms so that circus can be an agent for breaking norms in the classroom.
Embracing complexity? Instead of shaming, embrace, discuss.
Need to develop discursive ability in students at universities. Teach critical thinking to
spectators. Contemplating a letter to the audience, to the manager, to the programmers, so
that we can keep them on their toes… to the schools etc.
Land acknowledgement: in Canada. When presenting work do a land acknowledgement. Could
we transfer this practice to the circus and the scenic space and what would this be?
How can these issues intersect with our practices?