Circus and Social Change: Social Circus in Action

Jon Burtt, Katie Lavers*, Emmanuel Bochud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Circus for Social Change: Social Circus in Action (Routledge, forthcoming 2023) – explores the practices and cultural contexts and implications of Social Circus practitioners working in over 20 projects across six continents in Afghanistan; Argentina; Australia; Bangladesh; Cambodia; in Subarctic and Artic Canada, and in Montreal, Canada; in England; France; Ireland; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Senegal; Spain; South Africa; Sweden; Syria; Turkey; and in Chicago and St Louis in the USA.
The project looks at the ways circus is used as an agent for social change by promoting resilience, self-confidence, self-efficacy, conflict resolution and the ability to work well in a team. Although over 500 Social Circus projects are currently in operation around the world with many running for over twenty years, Social Circus and its impact on participants and local communities remains largely undocumented. This project aims to begin to address this gap in the body of knowledge.

Circus for Social Change: Social Circus in Action (Routledge 2023) contains theme-based chapters with each chapter examining a different key issue in relation to Social Circus including approaches to pedagogy; approaches to working with urban marginalised youth; with young people in conflict zones; with refugees; with young people affected by intergenerational trauma; and with young people with adaptive bodies. The book will also investigate Social Circus companies actively working to promote peaceful co-existence in South Africa, in North America, and in Israel and Palestine. The projects have been chosen to reflect the diversity of Social Circus projects in terms of scale, social and cultural context, and in structure and sustainability models across six continents.
The research is interdisciplinary in nature in that it crosses several research areas - Circus Studies, Resilience Studies, Gender Studies, Race Studies, and Disability Studies. The research involves working collaboratively with Social Circus and Circus Studies industry partners - with research partnerships with Caravan, Brussels, Belgium and CRITAC, Montreal, Canada.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Publication statusIn preparation - 2023


  • social circus
  • circus pedagogy
  • social advocacy


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