The project

A European contemporary circus exploration in public space to collectively question the notion of social ecology

The ecological and environmental mutations all over Europe request from us to think about our carbon footprint and more deeply to rethink our ways of living, our choices of development. They force us to (re)connect ourselves in a different and urgent way to spaces which we inhabit and to people who live there. As a body of ideas, social ecology, used as a synonym for human ecology, envisions for instance, a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom. For such an ecological transformation, we need collectively, to create the operative conditions for a possible social and sustainable transformation.

Facing these ecological issues, the contemporary circus sector, as well as the cultural sector in general, needs to redefine its practices. It raises the question whether to concretely translate the implementation of more sustainable and ethical means into collaboration and how to contribute to a change in behaviour. This approach thus implies the development of a new set of capacities to train artists in new artistic, scientific and collaborative approaches, when initial circus training often prioritises technical skills.

The hypothesis chosen for Hand to hand, is to create new cooperation and new modes of understanding through social ecology where art - more specifically contemporary circus - in public space can contribute to the transition of our sector, transforming its artistic and methodological practices.

The project brings together 4 European partners, cultural circus and performing art operators : Le Palc, a national circus centre in France, ROOM 100 in Croatia, Bússola in Portugal and Helsingør Theatre in Denmark. It aims to explore the issue of sustainability through learning and experimental spaces of innovation and research for circus artists, especially emerging artists in their artistic practice in public space, and give them new capacities of initiating such a transition.

Through a journey of four exploration times and immersion residencies, Hand to hand offers experimentation spaces through a cross-sectoral collaboration, including cultural and creative industries, researchers in ecology and art, as well as private firms : Joseph Perrier, champagne house; Fila Arches, paper mill of art in France ; Solana, salt marshes in Croatia ; a maritime workshop for the renovation of wooden boats and a professional fishermanin Denmark ; Codfish Harbor of Ílhavo, distant water fishing in Portugal.