COVID-19: Reopening the National Circus School in Montreal – A Case-Study - CircusTalk

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COVID-19: Reopening the National Circus School in Montreal – A Case-Study

For the National Circus School (ENC), as well as all circus schools around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an exceptional challenge, one for which there are no preconfigured guidelines that can dictate appropriate responses. As Dr. Caroline Quach, a researcher from Quebec, said: ‘’Fighting COVID-19 is like building the plane while you’re flying it’’. This statement certainly applies to circus schools all around the world. At ENC, the decision to reopen the school and the question as to how to reopen the school was guided by a risk-based approach to maximize the education, well-being and health benefits for our students, teachers, staff, and thus, the wider circus community.
The Circus Health and Safety Committee It all began with the establishment of an internal committee on April 29 at ENC. Marie-Pier Rousseau, Human Resources Advisor, and Christine Thibaudeau, Director of Technical Services and Production, managed the new Circus Health and Safety Committee throughout the crisis. Said committee was divided into three subcommittees: development committee, equipment committee, and support partners. Each subcommittee being composed of representatives from the School’s various departments (technical, teachers, communication and administrative). My role within this group as a researcher from the Center for Circus Arts Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer (CRITAC) was, and is still today, to provide an evidence-based decision-making process built on a fast-evolving scientific literature about COVID-19. The goal of this committee was and remains to advise,...
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Marion Cossin

Marion Cossin is an engineer of research at the Center for Research, Innovation and Transfer in Circus Arts/SSHRC Industrial Research Chair in circus arts in Montréal. She also is a PhD student in biomedical engineering at the Université de Montréal and at École Polytechnique de Montréal and with the partnership of the national circus School. She has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from École Polytechnique. Her works focus on the human-structure interaction between circus equipment and acrobats, improvement of safety practices, equipment design and performance improvement. Website: -- Marion Cossin est ingénieure de recherche au Centre de recherche, d'innovation et de transfert en arts du cirque (CRITAC). Elle est également candidate au doctorat en génie biomédical à l'Université de Montréal et Polytechnique Montréal, en partenariat avec l'École nationale de cirque. Elle a une maîtrise en génie mécanique de Polytechnique Montréal. Ses travaux sont consacrés à l'interaction entre acrobate et équipement de cirque, dans une perspective d'amélioration des pratiques de sécurité et de performance, ainsi que de la conception des équipements de cirque. Son site web: