Doctoral student, McGill University, Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Bio: Alisan Funk is a Montreal circus coach, performer and creator currently pursuing a PhD in education at McGill University. She holds an MA in circus education from Concordia University and works as a research assistant on multiple projects which examine the technical and creative aspects of circus, theatre and physical literacy.
Title: Hidden and Null Curriculum in Circus Education: Avoidance of Otherness in Pursuit of Fine Arts Status
Abstract: Contemporary circus arts programs, graduating students into the professional industry for over 30 years, exhibit several distinct trends. Researchers have brought up critiques of race, low rates of female matriculation and the hegemony of specific body-types. For instance, some schools are notorious for preferring a certain female aesthetic, or encouraging students to focus on specific disciplines based on their likeness to other performers of the same technique. This study investigates the ongoing discourse about circus education in relation to important social and cultural issues, asking who attends circus schools and how they came to be involved in a given program, what content is being learned and what is not part of the curriculum or school culture; finally, the study focuses on tracing gaps in dialogue, representation and expression