A New European Circus History Conference Coming in 2025 - CircusTalk

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A New European Circus History Conference Coming in 2025

The European Circus History Conference, set for its inaugural session in 2025, aims to ignite a series of gatherings across Europe, fostering a vibrant community among circus history enthusiasts and academics. This volunteer-organized, not-for-profit event promises an engaging mix of educational and cultural experiences, tailored to deepen the understanding and appreciation of circus arts’ historical evolution.

Scheduled to run from February 28 to March 2, 2025, the conference will commence with a captivating Friday filled with activities, including a walking tour of Astley’s and the Royal Circus, an early circus exhibition at Lambeth Archives, and potentially a visit to the Westminster Archives. The day will conclude with a tour of the National Centre for Circus Arts followed by a discussion and drinks reception. Over the weekend, the Cinema Museum in London, SE11, will host a series of conference talks, providing a scholarly platform paired with historical allure, right in the heart of where the circus form originated.

The conference is supported by several prestigious organizations, including the Circus Friends Association of Great Britain, National Centre for Circus Arts, National Fairground and Circus Archive, and Lambeth and Westminster Archives. The committee, composed of circus scholars and professionals like Charlie Holland, Erik Åberg, Pauliina Räsänen, Harm van der Laan, and Raffaele de Ritis, underscores the event’s credibility and scholarly foundation.

Highlighting the conference’s academic bent, a call for papers has been issued, inviting proposals for talks on “The Early Evolution of European Circus and its Disciplines” from the 1760s to the 1860s. This period is critical as it marks the burgeoning phase of circus arts, characterized by significant innovations in performance, apparatus, and the incorporation of music and humor within the ring. The conference seeks both in-depth presentations and shorter, PechaKucha-style talks that can introduce singular performers or innovations.

For those wishing to contribute beyond presentations, the conference will feature a small on-site exhibition and a book and ephemera sales stall, inviting attendees to display and discuss physical items of historical significance.

Ticket sales are set to begin in September, priced at £50/€60, including refreshments, ensuring the event remains accessible. Proposals for talks should be submitted by August 31, 2024, and selected speakers will be notified the following week. In a bid to support participation, the conference will offer five travel bursaries of up to £150, ensuring a diverse range of voices and insights.

The European Circus History Conference not only aims to chart a detailed map of the circus’s rich history but also to support its future through discussions that spark further research and interest. By hosting the conference bi-annually in various European locations, the organizers hope to cultivate a dynamic and ongoing dialogue that will enrich the understanding of circus arts across borders.

To learn more about the event, and the details for their call for submission, visit their website.

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Andrea Honis

Andrea, Founder of CircusTalk, is a fifth-generation member of the Hungarian Eötvös-Picard circus family. Prior to CircusTalk, she worked in advertising and performing arts management. Before starting the CircusTalk project she was Assistant Producer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’s family series “Reel to Real” in New York City. Andrea holds a BA in Business Administration and an MFA in Performing Arts Management.