University of Turin, Italy; University of Milan, Italy; AltroCirco, Italy
Bio: Ilaria Bessone, circus educator and researcher, earned a PhD in Sociology and Methodology of Social Research from the University of Milan and the University of Turin in 2017. Her project explored contemporary circus movement in Turin in relation to currently changing configurations of art, work and the body. She is responsible for the international relations and research section of AltroCirco, a project dedicated to social circus development in Italy.
Title: Engaging with Gender and Sexuality in Social Circus Trainings for Trainers
Abstract: Throughout the 2017–2018 period training for trainers offered by AltroCirco – a project for the development of social circus in Italy – focused on gender, sexuality and cultural encounters. These issues represent a primary concern against a national backdrop of increasing homophobia, racism and fear of ‘the other’.
The first training module entitled Circus and Gender Perspective provided content and tools designed to counter stereotypes of gender and sexuality and highlighted the importance of diversity as a resource. The goal was to foster reflexivity on the strategies employed by circus educators to manage bodies and emotions during workshops and projects and to spread awareness within social circus contexts and through social circus work in line with a growing international debate.
The presentation counts on the support and participation of a trainer and educator from AltroCirco whose experience provides a basis for exploring the tools and outcomes designed for and produced by this training. The goal is to develop the analysis of gender and sexuality in social circus contexts, sharing AltroCirco’s work with other researchers, practitioners and the academic community, nurturing the connection between the academic world and everyday circus life, and improving social circus practices as effective tools for social change.