To examine how Circus broadly approaches equity and inclusion in North America, a survey was generated and distributed online. Respondents answered questions across categories of comfort, diversity, bias, professional experience and expertise, and demographics to gauge whether significant differences in subjective personal experience existed between artists. The data was then collated, analyzed, visualized, and displayed. Respondents indicated significant differences in experiences when it came to categories of bias, diversity, and grants/scholarships but little difference in professional and comfort categories. Open ended questions indicated a desire for more inclusive policies in circus spaces, inclusion of “sliding-scale” and other alternative payment options, a larger number of people of color in executive positions, elimination of hiring biases, and higher levels of racial equity training for circus staff and students.
staff and students. Introduction Circus has been a staple of American Entertainment since its founding. Indeed, digital databases like Circus in America: 1793-1940 catalogue the wide array of circus acts through American history and how they are influenced by the zeitgeist of the world in which they are performed. Through these primary sources, it is clear that circus is a “microcosm of society,” complete with the complexities of the settings in which it is performed. From the side show to the use of animals, the circus has evolved with people’s tastes and tolerances. It has reflected society’s attitudes toward entertainment, comedy, race, class, ethnicity, and the unknown. In light of increased national focus on racial justice and the public lens on institutional racism, it is a...
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