A project conceived and led by Belgium's Circuscentrum, Unpack the Arts is a European residency programme that will give critics, journalists and editors a short sharp shock of circus, inviting them to one of twelve four-day residencies set within the frame of major festivals.
Built on a similar model to the two Arts Writers & Circus Arts seminars instigated by Circostrada in 2009 and 2010 (which were documented with two dossiers), the residencies aim to introduce cultural journalists to the aesthetics and vocabulary of circus while providing them with an opportunity to deepen their practice and exchange knowledge/expertise/experience. Ultimately, the project intends to raise the awareness of contemporary circus among cultural journalists in order to connect it, in a cascade effect, with new audiences.
Participants in each of the residencies will contribute to twelve digital publications – with each article in English and original language – that will be available to download as PDFs, free of charge. Unpack the Arts will also research and publish a dossier collecting information on mobility schemes and funding available for cultural journalists in the EU.
Unpack the Arts has been awarded a maximum grant of 131,271.25€ by the European Commission's EACEA (which in the way of EU grants has to be matched by equal funding from national sources) and will run 2012-2014, across eight countries with nine partner organisations. These are: CIRCA in France; Crying Out Loud in the UK; Humorologie, Festival of Emotions and Les Halles in Belgium; Københavns Internationale Teater in Denmark; Mala performerska scena in Croatia; Sirkuksen tiedotuskeskus (Finnish Circus Information Centre) in Finland; Circusstad in the Netherlands; and Subtopia / Upplev Botkyrka in Sweden.