NICE meeting Finland 2022

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This month, I have been sent by the Slovenian circus umbrella organisation, CIRKOKROG, to the latest NICE (Network of international circus exchange) meeting, in Lapeeranta, Finland. During some of the sessions, there was a discussion amongst the participants about the fact that circus teachers should strive to abolish their tendancy to put people into boxes. And that got me thinking… Lucky my flight back home was cancelled because that gave me a lot of time (16h on a bench at Helsinki airport to be precise 😅) to reflect upon what happened during this wonderful last week in Finland. I though long and hard and I came to some conclusion for myself and also a lot of questions. The following text is only a few of my reflection that I hope can fuel the already florishing conversation about our practices…

I personally don’t think that the abolition of categorisation is necessary or even possible. On the contrary. Everyone is different in some way so I feel that we need to categorise ourselves (if not to be categorised by other). We need to fit in boxes or rather place ourselves on a scale of characteristics that define who we are, our identity. The confident, happy people I know tend to be the one with a strong sence of self.
But our identity is not static. It fluctuate relatively to our social context, the period of life we are in and the people that surrounds us. Our identity is also both defined by inner self-perception and outside(r)perception. For example, I may think that I’m young but maybe people see me as old. So in that case, who am I? What and who defines my identify? Is my actual identity the alignment of my inner self-perception and outsiders’ perception of me? Is my identity defined solely by my own perception of my-self?
I feel that the problem with discrimination is not the construction of boxes, categories or spectrum because humans need this to create identity and therefore certainty, self confidence…
The biggest problem I see with discrimination are the assumptions that come together with the perceived identity of such and such individual or group of people (for ex: white people are smart…) in combination with the culture of hierarchal organisation of categories and the perceived superiority of one set of category over another in a specific context (for ex: white people deserves more because they know better).
For youth workers, the difficulty of inclusion is to avoid the tendancy to impose a certain vision and apply solutions that are only relevant to a certain category/group of people, to everyone.
In practice, this means that the role of an inclusion facilitator should be to discover the needs of discriminated people and what it means for them to be included.
I tend to think that identity is shaped by the relationship between the inner and outer perception of a person. So in practice, should the process of reducing discrimination and fostering inclusion mean to work on according inner and outer identity disparity? For example, isn’t the (sometimes difficult and scary) act of coming out for a young LGBTQ a confrontation of inner self-perception against outsiders perception? If the outcome of declaring your non-conforming sexual orientation or gender is acceptance, then you feel included. If not them, you feel excluded…
I keep wondering what could be the indicators to take into account in order to measure inclusion? Should inner perception trump unequivocally the reality and outsiders perception when it comes to the defining of one’s identity? Or is it the opposite? To what extend excluded/discriminated people should compromise (as in ‘make compromises’) on their needs and what define them, in order to make themselves included? And vice versa, to what extend, privileged groups should do that?
In addition, for me, the concept of ‘inclusion’ refers to the process of bringing people closer, in order to move forward together towards a more humanistic society. But what if a person or a group of people do not seek integration into a larger group? Does being inclusive means integrating people into a larger cultural context or does inclusion means also accepting someone’s wish to differentiate themselves from others?
As circus educators, it is interesting to ask ourselves those questions because, once we answer them, we have at our disposition an endless array of tools and practices to accompany young and achieve our objectives. These answers can guide our practices and help us to adapt, transform and modernise our lessons/activities, and therefore develop the reach and impact of youth and social circus.
Diversity is being invited to the party but inclusion is being asked to dance… Or in our case, invited to play 😁🥳

Do you want to learn about circus pedagogy with us in Poland?

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Have you ever heard of a place called Lądek-Zdrój?

If you haven’t, we are not surprised… It is a small municipality in the southern mountains of Poland, a stone throw away from the Czech Republic. It might be small but it is well worth a visit!

This is the place where Cirkus la Bulle is organising a training course on the theme of circus pedagogy in collaboration with ArteWeda. The training will be from the 27 of May to the 4th of June.

So if you are from (or reside in) Croatia, North Macedonia, Portugal or Slovenia and you are interested to learn more about the power of circus pedagogy and learn how to create and lead simple circus workshops, apply HERE before the 06 of May.

Here is the best part: all expenses and travel cost are covered by the program Erasmus + so you can come and learn for free!

For more information about the training course, check out the info pack HERE

Hope to see you in Poland!

Erasmus + Circus pedagogy for inclusion in the Balkan

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“Circus pedagogy for inclusion in Balkan” was a 7-day training course implemented in Brežice, Slovenia in january 2022. Twenty-seven (27) participants and three (3) team members from twelve (12) countries (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, and Albania) attended the course.

During the 7-day training course, participants learned how to use circus pedagogy as a method of youth work through the basics of various circus skills such as partner and group acrobatics, juggling, diabolo, balloon modelling. Appealing and fun for everybody, making it ideal as a tool for educational work with youngsters

The project “Circus pedagogy for inclusion in the Balkan”, whose essential goal was positive, healthy activities that encourage and strengthen confidence while developing coordination and persistence, ended with this training, but only for this month.

We are looking forward to new activities and new participants.

We are thankful for such a great group of youth workers, and we believe that they will improve learned skills in the best way

Erasmus + Training course “Keep calm: tools for youth mental wellbeing”

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The last couple of years were hard on everybody’s mental health. We didn’t get to do much circus but we managed to attend the training course called “Keep calm: tools for youth mental well-being.

We learned about many ways to maintain our mental wellbeing and manage our negative emotions.

The training course took place in Urdos, France, and included 26 participants and 4 team members from 13 countries (France, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, Spain, Lithuania, Greece).

The 8-days training course was created to to promote mental hygiene and mental wellbeing in everyday life and to secure smooth inclusion of young people with emotional distress/mental issue/ mental disorders into society. Through this training we aimed to equip youth workers with innovative methods to help youngsters regularly maintain psychological balance using mix of:

– artistic activities

– physical activities

– personal care activities.

The training course was using elements from methods appied: experiential learning,

circus pedagogy, conscious travel, art therapy, meditation, yoga, forest therapy and others.

Erasmus + training course ” The Power of Play”

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At Cirkus la Bulle. we like to play so we decided to create a training course about that:

In recent years, the importance and the role of playing in everyday life are being redefined. Play at work is related with less fatigue, boredom, stress and burnout. Play is also positively associated with job satisfaction, sense of competence and creativity.

Social games have proven to be an effective tool to stimulate learning and create moments of deep reflection and understanding at a personal level.

A well-designed and well-facilitated game can leave an everlasting mark and change attitudes and behaviours.

With this in mind, the Power of Play project aimed at equipping youth workers with tools, framework and space to create and implement educational games which address social issues and can be applied in the particular environment of social action and youth work.

The training course “ The power of play ” was organized in Urdos, France, during the period of 28.06 – 05.07.2021, and included 20 participants and 3 team members from 10 countries (France, Slovenia, Italy, Bulgaria, Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Greece, Romania, Spain).

During the 8-days training course, we discovered how the various use of social games as a method of youth work. Our main idea was that social games are appealing and fun for everybody, making it ideal as a tool for educational work with youngsters.

Erasmus + Training Course ” Theatre: breaking the wall of extremism”

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Cirkus La Bulle participated in the training course ” Theatre: Breaking the Wall of Extremism “, which was organized in Urdos, France, during the period of 15.07 – 24.07.2021, and included 24 participants and 4 team members from 10 countries (France, Slovenia, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Netherland, Greece, Romania, Spain).

The 10-days training course was created to raise their awareness on the youth Extremism and Radicalisation in Europe, and help them to prevent these issues, through the use of the most democratic, complete, flexible and interactive tool available in non-formal education, namely Theatre.

Theatrical approaches used during the training course included Forum theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed, Image theatre, Shadow theatre, Puppetry, Storytelling, Body and Voice work.

Erasmus + training course “Game Zone”

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Not all classrooms have four walls. Real excitement is when you are learning in a non-formal way and you don’t even realise how much it is polishing your skills. Simulation & role-play games are appealing and fun for everybody, making it ideal as a tool for educational work with youngsters.

In 2021, Cirkus la Bulle travelled to the beach of Vieux-Boucau, on the Atlantic coast in France for the project called “Game Zone”.

The training course including 24 participants and 5 team members from 11 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, Poland, portugal and Slovenia) was organised By association la Villa (FR), Shokkin Group (EST) and BE international (CZ)

During the 8 day training coursem we discovered how to use educational games as a method of youth work. Our main idea is that simulation and roleplay games are appealing and fun for everybody, making it ideal as a tool of education with youngsters.

The aim of the project was to equip youth workers and youth leaders with tools, frameworks and space to create and implement educational games that address social issues and can be applied in their environments.   

Cirkus La Bulle back in Berlin!

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East side galery Berlin

Our circus story started in Berlin already 13 years ago when we discovered the magic of acrobatic and juggling as a tool of youth work there…

Since then we have accomplished many things and tirelessly worked for the recognition of circus pedagogy.

Finally last week, we returned to Berlin after so many years to attend the training course »step into strategic partnership« organised by the German national agency.

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Erasmus + Training course Game Zone in France

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text on shelf

Cirkus la Bulle is going to be a partners in the training course about game Based Learning & Educational Simulation/Roleplay Games called “Game Zone“.

The training course is organised by Association La Villa (FR) Shokkin Group (EST) and BE international (CZ) in Bidart, France, during the period of 16.4-23.4.2020, including 24 participants and 5 team members from 11 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Malta, Poland Portugal and Slovenia).

During the 8-day training course, we will discover how to use educational games as a method of youth work. We use various forms of games as a form of pedagogy in teaching and in non-formal education. Our main idea is that simulation & roleplay games is appealing and fun for everybody, making it ideal as a tool for educational work with youngsters.

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MOVIT Training “Youth Work with Refugees and Migrants in E + Programs: Presentation of the Circus Pedagogy Method, Ljubljana

11 of April, the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum hosted an event “Youth Work with Refugees and Migrants in Erasmus +: Youth in Action and European Solidarity corps presentation of the Circus Pedagogy Method. At the event, we tried out some simple acrobatic elements that can be used by everyone safely, while achieving many positive effects on group dynamic, networking and self-confidence.

The introduction included representatives of Terra Vera, APIS Institute, Slovenian Philanthropy, Humanitas Society, the Loytra Society and the Gmajna Cultural Society. They presented successful projects already completed that included migrants and refugees.

In the final part of the event, participants developed and build their own ideas for future projects using the Proaction Cafe method of mutual support.