Daily Operational Administration

Short intro by Steven Desanghere

A huge thanks to all participants: Adriana, Anja, Annelies, Bianca, Charlene, Fede, Gaill, Gloria, Iris, Karen, Khan, Lynn, Marjolein, Nancy, Niina, Taruelma and organizers Katja and Wolfgang. And especially to Khan and Lynn who made our great stay possible. So many nice memories….

See you around!
Steven Desanghere globalisehope@gmail.com www.globalisehope.org


This is the masterclass program outline


On Monday we made plenty of time for introductions, getting to know each other, the objectives of the Masterclass, the expectations, needs, and expertise that was brought along by the participants. We had some nice discussions using the ‘spectogram’, where people took physical positions in the discussion between two axes (agree-disagree). Katja led us into a theatre game and theatrical impressions of our experiences with circus school administration, and let us create our ‘magic plants’. We also formed buddy pairs, that came together every day to reflect on our learning processes.


Tuesday was our longest day. We went to the room without windows and tackled a lot of topics.

First there was Wolfgang, with his stories on systemic thinking. After the morning break, Steven came after the break with his interactive lecture on ‘rank, status and privilege’, followed by Katja with her four hats exercises, based on Enneagram and Edward De Bono.

In the afternoon Fede introduced us into the wonderful world of Social Media, and after that, Steven made us brainstorm on our key elements for effective meetings, as well on some basic principles for effective teamwork.

In the evening we had our looooong session of individual presentations of our circus collectives or projects.










On Wednesday we had half a day for our ‘formal agenda’, and the rest of the day for our ‘social agenda’, meaning a canoe trip for most of us.
In the morning Marjolein and Taruelma organised a talk and open Space Technology session on Emotional and Physical Safety, as well as on Rigging.

After that session, there were some more working groups tackling topics like insurances, software/databases, social media for internal communication and getting things back (retrieving admin papers from circus colleagues).

In the end of the morning Lynn and Katja introduced some interesting strategic planning models to the group.

After that, people mainly had fun for the rest of the sunny day. The evening even had a Welsh musical surprise for us in store….

The formal sessions on Thursday started in the afternoon, as there was quite some walking, sight seeing and shopping to do in the morning.

In the afternoon Marjolein and Khan led us through the wonderful world of European Circus Networks and the PEYC Resource Center, and after that we had some open Space Sessions on networking and partnerships, followed by some solo-time where each one of us tried to do some future planning for our work in our own circus project.

In the evening, Steven guided us into some deep
thinking around the official Key Elements for Life Long Learning (Non-Formal Education),
and around the Hand of Bolton.


Friday went by way too quickly…

First Lynn introduced us into Circademics and Physical Literacy.
More info at http://www.physicalliteracy.ca/resources/4
Circademics on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/circademics/

We organised some country groups on funding possibilities.

And after that, we played some games, filled in some evaluation papers, set together with our buddies for the very last time, and had our final round, and…. That was that!

The methods we used were:

In the seminars we tried out methods that can be helpful in general for teambuilding and in our case to find out the principles of „How to run a circus school“

a) Working together
>open space method
>Working groups
>Individual presentations
>Coloured hats
>Theatrical group presentations
>Language groups
>Buddy time
>Using circus equipment

b) Collecting results
> Constructing a book list
> Papers on wall
> Post its
> Games list or web infolist on the wall
> Pictures ( Diashow)

c) Presentations
> Mindmaps
> Power point and other projections
> Booklists
>Facebook groups

d) Literature on masterclass methodologies
> Facilitating
> Energizers
> Intervision
> Management
> Communication
> Human recources

These are the masterclass topics:

A. GENERAL AIMS: Mission and vision of the circus schools in Europe
> The Hand of Bolton
> Social circus projects
> Pedagogical versus artistical goals

> Circademics
> Physical literacy – read: Physical Literacy – The_Impact_Circus_Arts_Instruction-2
Circus as part of cultural education


1.Systemic thinking (www.systemicthinking.com)
Systemic thinking is a simple technique for making sense of challenging situations and developing simple interventions for transforming them.
We had a look at 13 possible interventions and found them easy to practiCe in working with it in challenging situations, like conflicts in the team. Look at it, if you have a conflict in the team and don’t know how to get out of it. It will help everybody who wants to give people help. Also, read Asking the right questions

2. Holacracy
Holacracy is a self management practice for organizations (www.holacracy.org).
We found out that this system empowers people to make meaningful decisions in pursuit of your own circus schools purpose. With it you can discover a way of working that follows the principles of good circus teaching practice (see the Hand of Bolton). It is about:
– Agile organizational structure
– Efficient meetings and formats
– More autonomiy to teams and individuals
– Decision making process

If you follow the link you can improve your daily practice. It is also possible to attend seminars held in different European countries in English, German, French and Dutch.

3. Knowledge of status and role
This is all about nonverbal communication. Everybody, who is leading a team has to be aware of his or her status and role. But how can you improve? We found a good method in improvisation theatre. If you are interested to go deeper, just visit an Improvisation Theatre course or read Keith Johnstone’s: Improvisation and the theatre (1981). It is available in different translations. Also there is a free download of the full text in the internet.
Divided into four sections “Status”, “Spontaneity”, “Narrative Skills” and “Mask and trance” the book sets out the specific techniques and exercises, which Johnstone has found useful and most stimulating. The result is both an ideas book and a fascinating exploration of the nature of spontaneous creativity.

4. Life long learning in Europe
During all three masterclasses we focused on the eight key competences for life long learning and the competence profile for trainers in the European youth work, which are:

  1. Communication in mother tongue
  2. Communication in foreign languages
  3. Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology
  4. Digital competence
  5. Learning to learn
  6. Social and civic competence
  7. Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
  8. Cultural awareness and expression

And their emphasis on:
> Critical Thinking
> Creativity
> Initiative taking and problem solving
> Risk management
> Decision taking
> Managing feelings in a constructive way

The outcome was, that through youth work in circus we are able serve all these key competences. Youth work in the circus field traditionally is international and fosters the competence in foreign languages by the way. Students learn a lot while exchanging youtube videos and being active in the social media. Even the mathematical and the competences in science and technology are an outcome of circus, because there is a stage to manage and it has a lot to to with a big variety of technical equipment. The emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, initiative, risk assessment, decision taking and management of feelings is part of every little circus project elsewhere in Europe. But we discovered an important key competence missing: The physical literacy. ( see the chapter “Physical literacy”)

For more information read the study The eight key competencies for life long learning (Hendrik Otten, Yael Ohana, salto-youth.net).
> Change and resistance in a team
> Strategic planning
> Motivation
>Non violent communication

> Admin software
> Networks in Europe
> Partnership
> Social media and its use
> Funding
> Tents and buildings