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CircOndata U25

Award category
Mobilisation of culture, arts and communities
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS : concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
CircOndata U25
Full concept/idea title
Under-25 people reshaping spaces and communities through artistic direction’s activities
 A network of under-25 people, supported by recognized contemporary circus festivals, which will dwell in peer-to-peer activities aimed at fostering practices, education, and artistic direction tools in this performing arts’ field, aiming at establishing a network for the artistic directors of tomorrow. Performing arts’ festivals will be able to work better with their communities of reference, re-imagining both their audiences and the places they take back and re-shape together.
Where is your concept/idea being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU?
Emilia Romagna
Parco del Popolo
Reggio Emilia
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea
Starting from the common interests in the contemporary circus arts, our idea is to create a synergy between already established circus realities and young under-25 people which aim to become the artistic directors of tomorrow. The first could provide support (economical, in terms of education and expertise, etc.) to the young groups, which in turn could provide the acknowledged institutions with a fresh view and new ideas. The benefits for the communities in which the circus festivals are set are that this set of activities will provide them with new tools to speak and better relate with their audiences and communities. Cultural institutions are often too entrenched in their ideas, and the artistic direction process is frequently where everything starts: by directly impacting the quality of the festivals, they impact how communities perceive them. Moreover, the cultural sector, even before the pandemic, has always suffered of severe difficulties when facing generational turnover: new artists and cultural professionals struggle even nowadays to access the cultural market. We base ourselves on already successful Italian experimental projects in the theatre field, such as the Risonanze Network, which throughout the years managed to achieve the results we are aiming at. Being our group based in Reggio Emilia, we want to start collaborating with Dinamico Festival, one of the most renown contemporary circus festivals in Italy, which already showed open support to the project, by including us in the artistic direction process for the festival’s next edition. Through its network, the idea is to quickly connect with other Italian festivals so that we can quickly learn about and compare different festivals’ artistic direction techniques, to become a growing, scaling network recognized at the international level as well.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of sustainability and how these would be met
We want to have an impact on communities, and future professionals. We think that culture is an essential driver to build more inclusive, democratic and sustainable communities. So, it is important that young cultural professionals learn from the past and established experiences (and their mistakes), and that the already existing cultural institutions gain a more open, accessible and inclusive shape, starting from their organization side, and how they relate with their communities. We aim at providing new ways for assessed cultural institutions to collaborate with emerging professionals, so that the former will not perceive the latter as a threat, and the young professionals can perceive established realities as useful mentors and resources to collaborate with. We want to work with people our age, not necessarily engaging them with straightforward artistic direction activities: we might want to catch the interest of those interested in the contemporary circus arts by providing them with a space where to train, meet, and talk about shows (with the support of Dinamico Festival). We would like to imagine performing arts as a node, a topic around which young generations can come together, practice, and exercise critical thinking: a tool to foster healthy ways for young generations to stay together, to enforce an offline social network which can help individual and group development. By enforcing the skills of future and present field’s professionals, we can help them to achieve financial sustainability faster; financial sustainability for an institution means that it can focus faster on environmental sustainability; a better managed festival, with an artistic direction which represents its communities of reference, can better achieve social sustainability.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met
We are planning to work with the future artistic directors of tomorrow, so we’re all about aesthetics! How can we manage to improve contemporary circus festivals’ quality? With the support of already established festivals, such as Dinamico, we aim at: -        Organizing a set of meetings with the under-25 group to speak and learn about contemporary circus’ history, techniques, artistic direction best practices and tools, and the contemporary scene; -        Travel together towards other Italian festivals to meet their artistic directors and compare their tools and practices, learn from them and compare them with what we know; -        Actively participate in the artistic direction process of festivals that would like to welcome us in their selection processes (for example, establishing each year a show chosen by our under-25 group); -        Fostering the development of similar groups in other relevant Italian cities, towns and contexts, so that we can rapidly build a national network which in turn will be easily recognized at an international level too.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion and how these would be been met
We take it for granted that festivals help communities thrive: they improve the Quality Of Life and Subjective Well Being of individuals, they foster social inclusion by gathering in one place different social classes and identities, helping the community in the process of re-imagination and re-appropriation of a common space. Apart from the positive economic externalities (for example tourists coming from out of town to attend the festival), people from out of the city can help local communities to broaden their horizons, fostering once again social inclusion. We think that a beautiful, high-quality, well-managed festival, is also easier to support from a stakeholders’ (public and private) perspective.  We like to think the access to our group as open as possible: starting from people interested in the theories and practices of the circus arts, we’d like to extend the process to all people interested in becoming an active part of a festival’s life, up to the people interested in new ways of staying together. We do not want to set a threshold for access: no previous experience in the arts is required, just an interest towards our activities; this way festivals too can be sure to speak with a truly representative and represented part of their own communities. We want to welcome contamination with different types of arts: if people from theater and other performing arts, digital and visual arts would like to join our group to foster a multi-disciplinary approach to creativity, we would very much welcome that. It is a grassroots movement sprouting from young people’s urgency to take an active role in the definition of the cultural activities and professions of tomorrow, favoring their presence in the cultural world in a direct and straightforward way.  
Please explain the innovative character of your concept/ idea
At the moment in Italy there are no young people groups dedicated to the activities of education, critique and artistic direction in the contemporary circus field. Other fields (such as theater in the Risonanze Network case mentioned before) have successfully achieved important results in terms of inclusivity and new generations participation in the performing arts, thus improving the overall quality level of their activities, and fostering the human and professional development of their participants as well. We want to learn from those experiences and try to apply their best practices to the contemporary circus world: we do believe that, it being a relatively young, developing and growing field, it can implement those practices in an even faster and successful way. After the COVID pandemic, we think it would be a great experience to show how culture CAN be a driver for young generations to foster their social and professional lives and skills, as well as the ones of their communities of reference.  From an academic perspective, researches on how festivals can contribute to a community and to individuals’ well being are intensifying, and not many researches have the chance to follow a grassroots movement of young people which foster a festival’s quality. From a managerial perspective, audience development in the cultural field have become a strong and well-studied topic, as projects such as Adeste+ demonstrate. We think our experience could become a flagship project both for the academic and the cultural professional world.  
Please detail the plans you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea, with a particular attention to the initiatives to be taken before May 2022
We have already imagined some key activities and goals for the development of the project (some of them already happening!): - Summer ’21 – September ’21: collaborating with Dinamico festival in their call for the selection of new shows; communicating our experience via social media stories and activities; presentation of our group and our objectives during the 2021 festival’s edition (September) before the selected shows, to attract more people. - September ’21 - May ’21: contacting other contemporary circus festival’s artistic directors; visiting their festivals, seeing their shows, meeting them; meeting Dinamico Festival’s staff in a series of(monthly?) meetings to talk and learn about the shows we have seen, and the festival’s selection processes and practices; finding a shared cultural space where interested people can come and meet us, share their ideas about contemporary circus shows and practices, and train! Sharing our stories on social medias, on trade magazines (such as Juggling Magazine) and through the channels of festivals who support the project to attract attention at a national level. - Summer ’22: implementing what we have learned in the artistic direction process for the 2022 edition of Dinamico Festival, welcoming the new people we will have gathered. - September ’22: presenting our group and our first year of activities at the circus festival in Reggio Emilia, and in other relevant cultural places, inviting new people to join. After this first year of testing, we would like to imagine how we could gather resources to make our activities REALLY inclusive (for ex. to help people with less economic resources to participate in our trips and activities): for now, we have imagined to participate in public cultural funds grant calls, at a regional level (Regione Emilia-Romagna), at a national level (Ministry of Culture calls for the development of younger generations) and at a European level (such as Solidarity and Volunteering Projects).
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars Awards more than once in the same category.


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