Join the circus - circus arts as tools for social inclusion 

Usposabljanje za mentorje, artemisszio, Budimpešta (Madžarska), 15. - 22. november 2014

Shall we visit Budapest? This was the question my friend Laura posed to me one day. I have always been keen traveller, so I immediately accepted her offer not knowing what to expect there. Soon afterwards she explained that we were going to gather some new experiences in the field of working with socially disadvantaged children, also including circus. I have been working as a birthday party animator and was, of course, delighted as every experience was the most valuable thing you could offer. Without a trace of expectations, on 15 November 2014, we set out on an exciting adventure. Undergone train delay in Zagreb on the first day made us experienced a real adventurous journey to relatively close distant neighbouring capital. Transferring from train to bus, having no knowledge about exact time of arrival and expecting possible frustration of people in the host country due to our delay... It was like being first grade pupil when he experiences the first day of school, not knowing what will happen there. We spent an incredible educational and cultural colourful week. We got acquainted with people coming from Spain, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Hungary, and Czech Republic. Besides having well structured schedule, we got familiar with various cultures of other countries, the language, philosophy and absorbed their educational background and experiences they brought with them. Our schedule was comprised of circus skills as well as social games which were intended to correlate, encourage trust within the group and teach us something new. We got acquainted with the boys from Roma families, who were encouraged by the Artemisszio group to live a better life by spending time and working with them plus giving them hope for the better morning. The group inspired them to attend school, educate themselves and discover their secret talents. The main idea of the training was based on social circus, especially how to use circus skills in order to work with young people. Training provided essential knowledge about what we could profit from art circus, how we can put it into practice while working with young people from socially disadvantaged families and society and how this extraordinary kind of art encouraged all these people to take part in activities. Project was based on practical work, but including field work in cooperation with Hungarian circus social project as well. Demonstrated methods represented social circus techniques, for example juggling, performing clown’s foolishness, playing in the theatre and doing acrobatics. We worked and cooperated with young Roma people from Hungary. We built trust on the basis of playing miscellaneous games. At the end we prepared final presentation for all visitors jointly with young Roma in order to demonstrate the established volume of our weekly work. The whole presentation was managed by experienced mentors. In a very special way, we acquired new experiences in performing in front of a large group of unknown people. This was indeed a valuable experience which brought us new knowledge, acquaintances and unforgettable memories.

We have kept in touch with the participants of the training and we have been promised visits from abroad. We have set to take a trip around the world and again meet these big-hearted people with lots of energy.

Nina Špiler and Laura Stopar