Making Circus City Together (in Leuven)
Over the last twenty years, the circus in Flanders has experienced strong growth and development. This is true at the Flemish level, but especially so for Leuven, which has played a driving role in this development. Because of this strong development of the sector, the Flemish Community developed a new Circus Decree, which, based on an integrated approach, should give the sector the opportunity to further develop and professionalise. In these strong developments of the Flemish circus landscape, it is clear that local, Leuven-based actors have also played a driving role. In particular, Cirkus in Beweging, the first circus studio in Flanders in 1993 and today one of the largest studio operations in Europe, plays an exemplary role at home and abroad. Also in the area of presentation, Leuven was one of the first cities to take advantage of the possibilities offered by the previous Circus Decree. Already in 2009 and 2010, Leuven seized the opportunity to use the decree for city circus festivals. In recent years, Leuven has experienced strong dynamics in the field of cultural policy and the broader urban policy, with the introduction of new urban policy frameworks and a number of prestigious and cross-sectoral projects. There are also dynamic developments in the Leuven 'cultural space' (arts, creative sectors, etc.) from below. What opportunities are there for the Leuven circus field? How can the city of Leuven help seizing the opportunities?
In short, circus in Flanders is at a turning point. And also in Leuven, city and sector are facing the choice of what role Leuven sees for itself in the future. The multi-year subsidy round for the new Circus Decree offers opportunities, but there is also a lot of movement in Leuven's cultural space. Building on the impulses of the past years, the Culture Directorate of the City of Leuven wants to seize this opportunity and remain a pioneer in the field of circus policy. It wants to do this in a supported way, in line with the ambitions of the Leuven circus field itself and within realistic frameworks. In order to delineate the possibilities for and the concrete interpretation of 'Leuven Circus City' more clearly, Oetang Learning Designers and IDEA Consult set up a stakeholder process involving some 20 people who are active in various capacities in the field of circus in Leuven. In several stages, a trajectory was set out, in which, based on a mapping and shared ambitions, possible future paths for circus in Leuven were built, both in the long and short term.
Copyright picture: Cirkus in beweging Leuven