The second stop: Cirkus Cirkör

Marita Sanzarevska

writing from Cirkus Cirkör

In the midst of pandemic, being able to travel to Sweden and experience my first week in Cirkus Cirkör has been like a breath of fresh air. It seems that I had not realized how deeply Covid-exhaustion had affected my overall enjoyment of life and those small details around me. But when you walk into the building of Cirkör you get this vibrant vibe of circus that the building has although it is not the same as it would be in “normal times” with lots of people in it.

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Posters of performances created throughout 25 years of Cirkör’s existence, photos from practices of gymnasium students and pupils in summer camps, the design of the building where training space is surrounded by many small offices with glass walls so there is no separation from one another and even the red color of the stairs creates within you an instant mix of joy, excitement and a bit craziness as well. I remember that I experienced a similar feeling once before when I walked into Rigas Cirks. There is something magical about circus spaces that you just want to stay there…

The life of Cirkör started at the same time when I began my life on this planet – 25 years ago in 1995. From a group of artists with an urging need to make their dreams come true to the point where Cirkus Cirkör is a driving force to expand contemporary circus in Sweden consisting from several departments including Arts/production department, Pedagogy department and Upper secondary school – they have walked many miles to be there and I imagine it has been a hell of a ride.

Every person goes through various cycles through the life and the same is true for every organization. As it happens, I am visiting Cirkör in the times of change because for the past 2 years or so there has been an ongoing work done in collaboration with Tuff programme (tough leadership training) to understand how to work more effectively, make the work process clear and improve management. This process has led to the staff turnover as well.  With all the struggles that Covid has brought Cirkör has also started to do the challenging task to create a new strategy for the upcoming years.

How do you plan for the unknown?

The idea of strategical thinking brings me back to my own organization - Rigas cirks - in which we also have begun the strategical work for the next 5 years. This is the first time I am a part of the planning team and it seems this task brings out the leadership skills essential to any leader– being able to envision the future. Of course, the future is always changing depending on what steps you take, but to be able to come up with the vision is the first stepping stone. The challenging part of the work lies in the fact that there are many parties involved if you truly want to ensure that the model of the organization remains flat-structured.

Inevitably, a sea of questions/topics arises:

  • How to reevaluate our past to learn from it? The future holds many mistakes but every mistake can teach a lesson as well and it would be a shame to treat those mistakes like they never happened. At the same time this is a hard process to go through. How to address mistakes without emotion and judgment?

  • What is our purpose and direction? We may think that we share one vision but in the process of discussion it can turn out that there are 100 and 1 versions.

  • Who are the stakeholders and how to include them in the decision-making process? The goal is to share responsibility and raise co-ownership in the way that stakeholders truly feel partial control.

I’d like to think that it is extremely necessary to look for answers to these questions but at the same time to never stop asking the same questions over and over again because as the time goes on it is important to keep the focus and to not drift away into different directions.

Published on 13.06.2021

NHLP has been made possible with the support of Nordisk Kulturfond and Nordic culture Point, Nordic Council of Ministers, and Lund Municipality