Circus News

COSMIC, Circus Pedagogy Goes Digital  

COSMIC is the ongoing project of FEDEC[1], in collaboration with the FFEC[2], and it is quite ambitious and innovative. It aims to introduce professional circus schools to the use of digital technology applied to their pedagogy.

January 14, 2021. North of France in CRAC de Lomme circus school. COSMIC’s first laboratory is in full swing. It brings together more than 30 participants, from our 11 international partners. Altogether, we are working to develop new digital pedagogical methods for circus schools. And this project has never been more useful than in these times troubled by the pandemic. Indeed, students and teachers are often kept at a distance to respect security measures and schools always risk being closed.

Let’s start with an example, a trapeze student studying in Israel at Move to Circus could be corrected by a pedagogue teaching at ACAPA in the Netherlands. And it’s exactly the school that the student seeks to integrate into next year. The kind of wonders of the project.

This exchange is made possible thanks to Memorekall, an open-source web application that allows users to integrate different types of content (texts, images, music, sketches, etc.) into a video. It’s possible to annotate and communicate super easily from these files. It is also really easy to annotate and comment on shared files. In addition to that, the entire workflow is accessible.

An Overview of the Software Interface

A blue graphic, with text:

The Circus Educators, Stars of the Project

During this first lab, we were able to Co-create and Share digital Methodologies In Circus Education. That’s what COSMIC stands for.

Sarah Weber, who is FEDEC EU project manager, explains the basics “The project will be an exchange of good practices that will allow professional circus schools to dev elop new pedagogical methodologies but based on existing material.”

Thanks to a partnership with Clarisse Bardiot, Historian of contemporary theater, and specialist in digital humanities and digital performances and speaker at the University of Valenciennes, we were able to…. She is the designated person to develop this tool which will improve with the collaboration of the people concerned.

Sarah Weber continues: “This existing material – identified during interviews with each partner- is the ‘student artistic notebook’ that is used in most of the partner-schools. It will be experimented [with] and developed in various ways. Project partners will also provide feedback to the software developers, helping to adapt it to the needs of the circus education sector.”

Great Feedback
COSMIC program participants pose for a group photo, wearing masks
The participants of the COSMIC program

Organizing a project like this is quite a challenge these days. Some participants were present on-site and others by videoconference. Anyway, it confirmed the essence of COSMIC and the need: create connections and a remote collaboration.

For those who were present, we were able to work with the students under the school’s big tops. The people who attended the training filmed the students, recorded interviews, etc. Then they put that material online and created discussions around their performance and profile.

Louise Haulotte, a student from CRAC de Lomme who followed the lab, already has some ideas, “I’m going to use Memorekall to present my creations and get feedback from professionals. Once I graduate, I’m still going to be able to work with friends even if we move away from each other because, here, in my school, we have students from all over the world.”

Thomas Hoff, a teacher from a school in Germany is amazed by the possibilities: “It’s so easy to use. Besides, I’m quite a geek so I always search to develop new ways to interact and communicate. We must seize the digital not  suffer the digital.”

The COSMIC project is only at its beginning, but the collaboration is already underway and Sarah Weber hopes, at the same time, “to better prepare the students for their entry into the professional world.”

Next Steps

    • COSMIC started in September 2020 and will end in December 2022 (28 months in total).
    • Project partners will have the chance to be trained on MemoRekall. We just had the initial training and they will also enjoy 2 international training labs during which they will present their work, share and exchange feedback about the development of pedagogical methodologies connected to the digital artistic notebook.
    • In between the international training labs, partners will experiment with the software in their schools. Along with those experimentation phases, partners will be able to exchange on their challenges and results thanks to a dedicated digital platform.
[1] Fédération européenne des écoles de cirque professionnelle // European Federation of Professionnal Circus Schools

[2] Fédération Française des Ecoles de Cirque /// French Federation of Circus Schools

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All photos provided courtesy of FEDEC. In this picture, we can see Clarisse, teachers and students watching their performances on Memorekall.

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Camille Crucifix
Camille Crucifix is the community manager of FEDEC since October 2020. A new professional activity that she completes with freelance assignments as journalist and artist (audiovisual and performing arts). She has worked in Brussels, her city since she was born.

Camille Crucifix prend en charge la communication de la FEDEC depuis octobre 2020. Une nouvelle activité professionnelle qu’elle complète avec des missions freelance comme journaliste et artiste (audiovisuel et arts de la scène). Elle travaille à Bruxelles, sa ville depuis qu’elle est née.

Camille Crucifix

Camille Crucifix is the community manager of FEDEC since October 2020. A new professional activity that she completes with freelance assignments as journalist and artist (audiovisual and performing arts). She has worked in Brussels, her city since she was born. Camille Crucifix prend en charge la communication de la FEDEC depuis octobre 2020. Une nouvelle activité professionnelle qu’elle complète avec des missions freelance comme journaliste et artiste (audiovisuel et arts de la scène). Elle travaille à Bruxelles, sa ville depuis qu’elle est née.