The first ‘Encounters with Circus and Its Others’ (CAIO) conference took place in Montreal in 2016 alongside the Montréal Complètement Cirque Festival. In 2016, three organizers and 31 participants queried how circus wrangles with issues of gender, globalization, race, queer experiences, and the way animal bodies are read on stage. Followed by a flurry of conversation, research, and the 2018 (free, downloadable) online publication of a special double issue of Performance Matters (a peer-reviewed journal) entirely devoted to circus arts inquiry, a second conference seemed both necessary and inevitable.
The organizers agreed that the conference should be aligned with a circus festival, both for the benefit of the participants – who are able to see and discuss circus performance – but also to encourage the inclusion of circus performers, directors, creators and producers who might not otherwise travel to an ostensibly academic gathering. This time, the conference was held in Prague during the 15th annual Letní Letná international festival of contemporary circus and theatre. With five co-organizers and 48 presenters over three days, the conference was an intensive immersion into the ideas, questions and thoughts occupying today’s circus thinkers. In addition to the presenters, many circus artists, creators, teachers and researchers travelled to attend the conference, offeri...
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