The Projects
Being and Imagining
Circus Dialogues

Open Letters
#1 The Need to Redefine
#2 The Myth Called Circus
#3 Who Gets to Build the Future?
Encounter #1
Details and Format
Relay Interviews
Encounter #2
Details and Format
Relay Interviews
Encounter #3
Encounter #4
Negotiating Distance
Is there a way out of here?
Thinking Through Circus
Thoughts & Articles
Always / Beautiful

Event Details

Being and Imagining
Circus Dialogues

Smells Like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium

A three-day symposium for circus artists, theoreticians and a wider audience to engage in exciting conversations about theory, politics and practice in the contemporary circus field.

15-17/01/2020 @ Vooruit & KASK School of Arts (Ghent, BE)

The Circus Dialogues presents … Smells Like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium

The Circus Dialogues invites you to a dynamic, open-minded gathering, located at the junction of artistic circus practice and critical theory. Smells Like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium is a three-day symposium (15-17 January 2020) with two exciting guest speakers and lots of room for polyphonic dialogue. How and what does circus think? In what way is circus (also) a practice of thought? With these questions as a point of departure, let’s get talking! In the days leading up to the symposium, The Circus Dialogues is also organising a research week at KASK School of Arts in which eight circus artists/makers will tackle the same questions through studio practice. On the last day of the symposium, we’ll all come together around their performative proposals.

During Smells Like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium we’re also launching Thinking Through Circus, a brand new collection of writing made by and with circus artists around the notion of circus as a practice of embodied thinking. Thinking Through Circus reveals how feminism, queerness, dramaturgy, love, disobedience, posthumanism and the aesthetico-political imaginary are re-thought in and through contemporary circus practices.

Intrigued? Feel welcome! Bring your sharpest questions, and let’s speculate together about contemporary circus’ vast untapped potential.


DAY 1: How does circus practice think? How does circus think tradition, exhaustion, otherness, violence, work, and love?

DAY 2: About the relation between norm, experiment, and agency (for the self as well as for human and non-human others).

DAY 3: Sharing of / in the experimental thinking practices developed by the participants of the research week @ KASK School of the Arts.

Download the full programme.


Smells Like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium is a free event, but a reservation is required. Write to us at circusdialogue@gmail.com to sign up and with any questions about accessibility. The capacity of the symposium is limited, so don’t wait too long to sign up. Mention your name, organization and the dates on which you’d like to participate. The language of the symposium will be English.

Smells Like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium takes place during Smells Like Circus, a cross-disciplinary festival hosted by Vooruit and Circuscentrum. You can find more info about the festival here. It will be possible to both attend the symposium and to see most of the shows playing at the festival. You can buy your tickets via www.vooruit.be

Where and when

15 & 16 January 2020 - Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23 Gent)
17 January 2020 - KASK School of Arts, Zwarte Zaal (Louis Pasteurlaan 2, 9000 Gent)

The Circus Dialogues

The Circus Dialogues is an artistic research project at KASK School of Arts Ghent. Our work delves into and makes space for encounters between theory and artistic circus practice. The Circus Dialogues aims to shine a light on the circus as a field in which experimental thinking is already happening, and we work to ensure the ongoingness of such thinking in an artistic and institutional ecology that’s long-term sustainable. We do this first and foremost through our diverse artistic practices. In parallel, we organise reading groups and collaborative gatherings for circus artists. We have also published several Open Letters to the Circus. Our activities are conceived with the intention of helping to imagine the circus field as both important and political. Most importantly, we defend circus as an open and undefinable form.


Smells like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium is a co-production of KASK School of Arts and I knew these people VZW. It takes place in the context of The Circus Dialogues (2018-2020), an artistic research project lead by Bauke Lievens, Quintijn Ketels, Sebastian Kann, and Vincent Focquet. The Circus Dialogues is financed by the Arts Research Fund of University College Ghent (BE).

Smells like Dialogue: A Circus Symposium can take place thanks to the support of KASK School of Arts, Circuscentrum, Vooruit, UGent, S:PAM and the Flemish Government.

circusdialogue@gmail.com || Facebook