For over a decade we’ve been exploring and developing innovative pedagogical approaches to youth and social circus. Our research takes place in the field, along with strong academic methodology. 

Circus Transformation Advanced

The final report is HERE!

To read the final report, with all of the findings from the CTF Advanced project, click the photo below!

What is CTF Advanced?

CTF Advanced is a 2.5 year project led by Sorin Sirkus with the objectives to:

  • form a network (both local and European) of youth circuses, social circus trainers, social work organisations and institutions as well as youth work organisations
  • evaluate CTF 4 to 6 from the data collected and by interviewing trainers and organisers
  • update the CTF Guidebook according to the evaluation
  • plan a follow-up strategy and peer network for social circus trainers who have gone through CTF (total 120 persons after CTF 6). 

The whole project extends from March 2022 to June 2024 (28 months)


There will be two transnational meetings in Finland, and four learning & teaching activities . Four results/intellectual outputs will be developed by the end of the project.

  • Sept 2022 – Kick off Meeting
  • Nov 2022 – Workshop 1 – Prague
  • Feb 2023 – Workshop 2 – Stockholm
  • March 2023 – BIG Meeting – Galway
  • Oct 2023 – Workshop 3 – Italy
  • Feb 2024 – Conclusion Meeting
Workshop 1 - CIRQUEON (22 & 23 Nov 2022)
All partner Organisations were present to discuss the preliminary findings from the researchers and other key elements for improving the CTF in action program. Discussions took place in the form of focus groups, lead by Ilaria Bessone from Altro Circo, looking at; how to develop the associate network of affiliate organisations; ensuring quality in terms of preparation and continuity between CTF modules; desired participant profiles; clearly defining goals and objectives for the training; developing new tools and evaluation strategies; working with specific target groups; developing the language used in the guidebook to be more gender neutral and inclusive; and paying close attention the mental wellbeing and safety. 
Workshop 2 - Cirkus Cirkör (16 & 17 Feb 2023)


BIG Meeting - Galway Community Circus (27 - 31 March 2023)

Following the initial coordination, the BIG Meeting in Galway from 27th to 31st March brought together an interdisciplinary ensemble comprising researchers, CTF trainers, participants, and project coordinators. This gathering was dedicated to robust data collection through a combination of focus groups and embodied research methods. By engaging in diverse methodologies, participants contributed valuable insights, enriching the project’s empirical foundation.

Workshop 3 - Altro Circo (26 & 27 October 2023)

Lastly, the Siena Meeting held on 26th to 27th October provided a reflective space for analysing the wealth of data collected throughout the project. Attendees critically evaluated the gathered information, refining the communication strategy and synthesizing findings. This crucial stage in the project lifecycle facilitated the preparation of final outputs, ensuring that the CTF Advanced project’s outcomes were both comprehensive and impactful.

Conclusion Meeting - Sorin Sirkus (12 & 13 March 2024)

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Project Partners: Sorin Sirkus (LEAD), Galway Community Circus,  Altro CircoCirqueon, & Cirkus Cirkör.

Cofunded by the Finnish National Agency of Erasmus+

Circus as Intercultural Encounter

Circus as Intercultural Encounter

The Guidebook has arrived!

After 3 years of work, we are so proud to finally present you with the finalised guidebook. Please feel free to download the doucment, and print it at home. It is a working document, designed to be written in with your own reflections of the topics presented, and used as inspiration for your own work in intercultural settings. Enjoy!

Zaltimbanq (applicant) – Luxembourg
Caravan – Belgium 
University College Dublin – Ireland
Altro Circo – Italy
Sirkus Magenta – Finland 
Circus Planeet – Belgium
Skala – Slovenia
Palestinian Circus School – Palestine

The proposed project seeks to promote intercultural dialogue and strengthen knowledge and acceptance of diversity in society by advancing the capacity of social circus trainers.

This project also aims to developand disseminateof a training programme of innovative skills and practices of intercultural dialogue necessary for effective anti-racism and social inclusion interventions, particularly relating to the circumstance of communities of refugees, asylum seekers and new migrant youth. 

The above will take placethrough the following actions:

•   a needs analysis of circus organisations regarding their current intercultural capacities, in order to identify gaps and create opportunities for further innovations in circus practice

•   the design of a new training programme for trainers in circus organisations working with refugee and newly arrived migrant youth, to deepen their skills and competencies of teaching and pedagogy, creativity and leadership in their practice and in their organisations. This will be included within the framework of existing training programmes, in particular Caravan’s Circus Trans-Formation (CTF) in Action

•   publication and dissemination of a Training Guidebook on the social circus methodology for youth workers operating in intercultural settings


The following participant groups are involved in this project:

a) The Research Coordination Team, ca. 4 participants, consisting of one researcher from UCD, one researcher and one coordinator from Caravan and one researcher from Altro Circo-Giocolieri e Dintorni.

b) The project coordinatorsfrom each partner organisation, ca. 8 participants. They work as coordinators within their organisation and during the project.

c) The field researchers from each circus school, ca. 6 participants. They willresearch the practices of the organization in question while possibly investigating the actions of their own colleagues. Each partner organisation will try as much as possible to involve field researchers with various ethnic background. As far as possible, the field researchers are themselvesrefugees or migrants, which can provide them with lenses to observe and analyse power structures and discrimination in a different perspective.

d) The social circus trainers, ca. 14 participants, consisting of social circus trainers who are the ones teaching circus to migrant and refugee youth within the partner organizations. They will attend the pilot training in Luxembourg, where they will take part in the various training activities designed after the research. During this process, they will share their feedback, express their learning and highlight expectations they had that were not covered in the training programme.

This project is funded by the Erasmus + programme



Circus+ took place between 2014 and 2016, hoping to identity the professional profiles that exist within youth and social circus organisations, to identify existing training programmes and where necessary create the foundations for the future training programmes.

Findings and conclusion:

  1. Mapping of the existing training programmes in the partner countries
    During the two years of work, Circus pedagogues, academics and Caravan mapped the existing training programmes in the partner countries. From the mapping it was clearly apparent that the
    educational offers were oriented more towards the competences and the artistic field than the use of circus arts as a learning or a teaching tool for young people.
  2. Needs analysis within the youth and social circus sector
    The results showed that presently, the majority of people are working within the field of « performing arts », this is closely followed by the field of « circus trainer/teacher » (especially in Finland).
    The most needed competences are technical competences but also and more specifically, pedagogical competences. Many professionals working in the youth and social circus sector have a
    basic education in pedagogy (most of them have a level 4 or 5 education). It would therefore appear that there is a need for training programme for « circus trainers/teachers » at level 6.
  3. Development of the job profile of the youth and social circus teacher for levels 4 & 6 cf table next page
  4. Framework of competences
    The two job profiles were the basis of the two related framework of competences. The frameworks were created in relation with certain competences described in the Circus Transformation project.
  5. Perspectives
    The framework of competences will guide the creation of the curriculum and the evaluation of the students attending the future training programme. Caravan is now planning to implement a three-year in which the partners will reflect upon the establishment of university curriculum integrationg these competences.

Read the full report here.

A New Spirit for Europe

A New Spirit for Europe

This European project took place from 2009 to 2011 under the Lifelong Learning programme of the European Commission. This research in the field of social circus developed a proper bottom-up methodology based on field analyses, which enabled to bring up the specific competences a social circus trainer needs to acquire. It resulted to the creation of the framework of competences for social circus trainers and the definition of social circus.

The result of this research can be dowloaded here:Framework of competences

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