Human Relations

Day to Day Program Human Relations

This is the masterclass program outline


This first quick handout features a compilation of most things that were put on posters during the Masterclass, along with some photos of participants and exercises, and some extra information.


The Spectogram…. with some deep discussions on fun, learning, artistic focus, need for funding, talent, diversity, professionality and horizontal participation…



Based on everything we wanted to learn, and could share, we created an emergent design’, an agenda that aiming to be inclusive, interesting and practical….



Day 2 started with an expressive exercise: “Complete the Image”!



We formed 4 different groups which listed some of their biggest challenges regarding Human Resources in their different teams.

Every group was asked to make a small theatrical performance based on possible solutions.

These were the most important themes, and of those, we made new, self-chosen groups using open Space Technology.

Wolfgang guided us through the Wonderful World of Systemic Thinking, with some of its key principles…. And of course, there were the famous Colored Hats from Katja!


We held different working groups on some important topics concerning
Human Resources
in the circus school:
work overload,
working structure, …



In the afternoon we had a small talk on Non Violent Communication.

More on Feelings:
More on Needs:
Main NVC Concepts:


After that, Marjolein Wagter gave us
a really interesting explanation
about the different European youth circus networks.
Later in the afternoon, we had another OST session, tackling Partnerships,
Local and international Exchange, and Social Circus.


On Wednesday morning we evaluated the Gandini Juggling Performance
we saw the evening before.
We worked on defining some parameters that are interesting when you want to become a circus art critic, bearing in mind the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Eva and Anton talked about Circusplaneet and their attempt to structure it like a Holacracy:
After that, Steven introduced some models on “Rank and Power” and on “Mainstream and Margins”. More info on this in the annexes.

In the afternoon, Helen introduced us into Circademics,
and let us do some exercises around it.
Circademics on Facebook:



We also tackled the official Key Competences for Life Long Learning;


more info:
>> 1881/Trainer_%20Competence_study_final.pdf

Program day 4
Program day 5

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:

  1. General aims: Mission and vision of the circus schools in Europe
  1. The Hand of Bolton

  2. Social circus projects

  3. Pedagogical versus artistical goals

  1. Benefits of circus education
  1. Circademics

  2. Physical literacy – read: Physical Literacy – The_Impact_Circus_Arts_Instruction-2
  3. Circus as part of cultural education

  1. What can help you professionalizing running a circus school
  1. Systemic thinking


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 practise 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.
Read Asking the right questions

  1. Holacracy


Holacracy is a self management practice for organizations.

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 practise. ( 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 practise. It is also possible to attend seminars held in different European countries in English, German, French and Dutch.

  1. 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 the “Improvisation theatre”

Who is interested go deeper in, just visit an Improvisation theatre course or read the text of Keith Johnstone , 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.

  1. 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.

Those 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” by Hendrik Otten and Yael Ohana, at:

  1. Change and resistance in a team

  2. Strategic planning

  3. Leadership

  4. Motivation

  5. Non violent communication

  1. Practicals
  1. Admin software

  2. Networks in Europe

  3. Partnership

  4. Social media and its use

  5. Funding

  6. Tents and buildings