Advocating Inclusion

Following my experimentation with play in Manchester, I researched the few official UK circus school venues, of which none are in the North of England. Combined with research into the history of the circus and the circus parade, I developed a strategy to establish a temporary circus which would represent circus in the North. This temporary circus could be negotiated through the familiar format of a bus route map, encouraging a much broader spectrum of people to engage with the circus and drumming up revenue in the process. However, this was more of an academic tangent to the real needs of the Circus Diaspora, so in order to more closely respond to their specific desires; I visited a site which Owen was considering for a more permanent base. Unfortunately the building was not suitable to the circus' needs, so a new circus had to be found. A new warehouse in Ardwick was suggested, so I built a 1:100 scale interactive model which I then took to several of Owen's current students as a stimulus for them expressing their ideas about their perfect circus, so that I could design an appropriate solution, beyond their immediate requirements. As part of our collective engagement with the community, MSA_p occupied an empty shop unit in the Trafford Centre for three days in January 2011. I used this as an opportunity to understand how the public perceive the circus and what they particularly respond to, so the Circus Diaspora's building could reflect this.


5th Year
Aged 23
My Review of the Year

This year's project was established following and introduction to Owen Gaynor, a circus skills instructor who runs a mobile community circus skills company, in need of a more permanent home. Through experimentation with play in the city and research into the situation of UK circus troupes, I proposed that the circus could exist both permanently and as a portable typology around the city. In order to encourage the students of the Circus Diaspora to spatially outline their perfect circus, I built a 1:100 scale model and took it to several of Owen's classes. Using their contributions, I drafted proposals for the ultimate Manchester circus, yet through several phases of re-drawing it became apparent that there is could be no single solution. Instead an adaptable, demountable, structure within an existing building would allow them to efficiently change their space according to their needs. I therefore proposed to install demountable scaffolding-based structures within the confines of a rented warehouse on an industrial estate in Ardwick. The scaffolding allows inexpensive modifications to space which provide a stimulating, inspiring and dramatic space for teaching and performing. Following my most recent meeting with and the members of the Circus House, the troupe have decided to use my proposals to secure an Arts Council interview, in order that the Circus House may receive the financial support they require to occupy a permanent home.

Item 1 of 20
Circus in the City