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Clowning around: humour as a tool for intercultural communication
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project is a cooperation between 6 partners from 5 different countries: Circusplaneet vzw from Ghent (BE), Circus Stjerneskud from Bornholm (DK), Circus Central from Newcastle (UK), Pocket Circus from Glasgow (UK), Associazione Giocolieri e Dintorni from Civitavecchia (IT) and GrenzKultur gGmbH from Berlin (DE). The partners got together through a common expertise and interests and because each partner will be able to provide a valuable input in the project. Each partner has experience in working with young people through circus and is involved in projects that reach out to children and young people with fewer opportunities. The different partner organizations took part in a feasibility visit organized by Circusplaneet in Gent on 6 and 7 Sept 2014 and started working together to enhance expertise in the field of community circus. Realizing this project is the first concrete action that has resulted from this meeting. Humour is the central topic of the project and more specifically the different ways in which it is used in cultural performances with an emphasis on stage performances and circus arts. During a 9 day exchange, we will explore disciplines like: clowning, slapstick, stand-up comedy, commedia dell'arte and bouffon both theoretically and practically in several workshops. This knowledge will enable us to see the possibilities of using humour in our work with children and in working in different cultural contexts. The practical skills will enable the participants to create a performance in which the knowledge is applied. This project aims to: increase expertise and knowledge by learning more about humour in an intercultural context, build a network, empower young teachers, share skills, stimulate participants to cooperate towards creating a performance, build self-confidence when performing and transfer learning processes. Each partner will send 2 representatives to an Advance Planning Visit in January-February. In July we will organize an exchange in Gent with 5 participants + 1 leader (for the 2 UK partners) and 8 participants + 1 group leader (for the other countries). This amounts to 48 participants including group leaders. Participants to this project are young circus artists and circus teachers, between 18-30 years old, who are willing to share their knowledge and work together to achieve a common goal. Ideally, the participants will have different levels of experience in clowning and other humour-related disciplines. A basic knowledge of other circus skills (juggling, acrobatics, ..) is welcomed. The exchange will take place in Ghent from July 11th - July 20 and will consist of 9 working days and 1 day of free time outside of the program in the middle of the exchange. The participants are expexted to arrive on July 10th. The location of Circusplaneet will be used as the central place for the exchange. During the exchange we want to: ? Explore different forms of humour through workshops: clowning, bouffon, slapstick, commedia dell'arte, etcetera. The general focus would be of course on the more physical and circus related forms of comedy and humour. ? Make an exchange show with the participants through a collaborative process. We will perform with this show in the pediatric department of a hospital in Gent and on the circus festival of the ?Gentse Feesten?. ? Invite speakers to learn more and discuss about intercultural differences in humour, "clowns without borders" and humour vs gender. ? Reflect with the participants on their learning experience in the process of being together, exploring different forms of comedy and making a group performance. We also want to reflect with them on how to use what they have learned in their pedagogic and artistic work in their local communities. Various non-formal learning methods will be used during the exchange. Ice-breakers, energizers and group building activities to create a sense of community during the exchange. Participative workshops, presentations, talks, watching video fragments and discussions to get more knowledge on the central topic of the exchange. Through brainstorming, discussions, learning to overcome cultural differences, peer teaching, self-reflection and giving positive feedback, the participants will be able to create a performance. Evaluation exercises, debriefings and discussions will be used to monitor the expectations and needs of the participants. This project will have an impact on the participants, the participating partner organizations and even beyond that. An international exchange is a powerful experience that has an empowering impact on everyone involved. The friendships and networks that are formed will have a longer lasting result and can lead to further international cooperation.
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5 Partners Participants