Slow Thinking

A woman stands in a room. "Slow Thinking: An invitation from Vicki Amedume, Artistic Director, Upswing" is readable on top.We are inviting Circus artists to a series of open, held spaces for discussion – driven by topics that you feel preoccupied with at this time.

Upswing’s Slow Thinking is a series of collective, online conversations that respond to, and are driven by, the needs of the circus sector. These conversations are free to attend and serve as an open space for individuals working in the circus sector – freelance artists, educators, producers, directors and technicians – as well as circus organisations.


Keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages for updates on the next Slow Thinking Session


Session 6: Creating Circus In Extraordinary Times
Wednesday 4th November 2020, 11:00AM (GMT)

A screen-shot of a zoom meeting. "Slow Thinking Session 6, Creating Circus In Extraordinary Times, Wednesday 4th November 2020, Upswing" is readable on top.

Since the last Slow Thinking session in July, the sector has been finding ways to create, to present work, and to engage audiences both online and in person. In Session 6, we discussed creation in these extraordinary times, with some food for thought provided by circus artists and organisations in the form of newly created work. These creative insights – shared as audio-visual content – served as a springboard for an open collective discussion.

Read the meeting summary (PDF)

Read the meeting summary (WORD DOC)

multi-coloured corporate symbols. "Slow Thinking session 5, Circus Snapshot, Wednesday 29th July 2020, Upswing" is readable on top.

Session 5: Circus Snapshot
Wednesday 29th July 2020, 11:00AM BST (GMT+1)

We were delighted to host Circus Snapshot for this edition of Slow Thinking.

Circus Snapshot is a qualitative research project which was completed prior to lockdown in February 2020.  Commissioned by Crying Out Loud, funded by Arts Council England and led by Daisy Drury, its aim is to draw together the professional, subsidised circus sector and to begin to create new pathways for its development.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Slow Thinking | Circus Snapshot meeting on 29 July. It was wonderful to see so many people come together to offer their expertise and contribute to the discussions.

Crying Out Loud are now inviting people to register to stay connected with Circus Snapshot and find out more about the 8 refreshed Missions and 2 Sector Support Groups that emerged following the meeting. Our next collective steps are to shape the conversations from Slow Thinking into deeper discussions and to find actions we can take forward to strengthen the circus sector across its many facets. 


Read the open invitation from COL

Read the meeting summary

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Session 4: Horizon Scanning
Wednesday 17th June 2020, 11:30AM BST (GMT+1)

Slow Thinking 4 continued to deepen the discussion around the processes of creating work. The session was split into two groups, with participants deciding which group they wanted to attend.

Circus Artist Angeliki Meli drew on personal experience to host a group in considering the strategies of creating work at a distance or online, focusing on process rather than product. Participants were encouraged to bring and discuss works-in-progress. Kate Webb facilitated a conversation on the ways we can equip artists for an uncertain future in a relevant and responsive way, asking ‘We don’t know how long our sector will take to recover so what skills are important? How do we articulate what we do and what we know to the wider sector?’.

The session welcomed training providers, as well as emerging artists, graduates and students.

Watch Session 4 (A) – Creating Online

Watch Session 4 (B) – Training Artists of the Future

View the one-pager summary of Session 4 (A)

View the one-pager summary of Session 4 (B) 

Wednesday 27th May 2020, 11:30AM BST (GMT+1)

Session 3 focused on The Future – big topic! We shifted the structure of the conversation slightly and plan to host ‘breakout rooms’. These breakouts encompassed the various strands we’ve touched upon so far: audiences & engagement, creation & digital, learning & development and what the future may look like for shows in venues.

Watch Session 3 (A) – Creation in the Digital Space

Watch Session 3 (B) – Training Artists for the Future

Watch Session 3 (C) – Digital R&D

Wednesday 6th May 2020, 11:30AM BST (GMT+1)

Session 2 asked “What are the qualities and needs of work online or on the screen?”. We explored this in terms of work for the screen, and in terms of curation or creating in the digital space:
Circus and Film : What does quality mean and what does it look like? What features become significant – choreography and circus skills? Production and framing? Concept and story?  
Circus and Digital : What are the creative possibilities of Circus in the digital space?

This session included contributions and provocations from: Donna Close, creative director and cultural strategist; Joumana Mourad, IJAD Dance; Raphael Herault & Summer Hubbard, Double Take Cinematic Circus; and Mark Morreau, cinematographer & digital artist.

Watch Session 2

View the One-Pager Summary of Session 2

Tuesday 21st April 2020, 11:00AM BST (GMT+1)

In our first session, we explored circus at a distance. The current situation has forced us to think about what happens when we are unable to share live collective experiences. What are the alternatives that satisfy the needs we have for community, for watching circus, learning and for developing new ideas? 

This session included contributions and provocations from: Kate Hartoch, Circus City Festival; Amelia Cavallo, Quiplash; Charlie Wheeller, NetFLIPS; Mark Morreau, Cinematographer and Digital Artist; Rapael Herault and Summer Hubbard; and Joe Fearn, CircusMASH. 

Watch Session 1

View the One-Pager Summary of Session 1