20 STORIES OF CIRCOSTRADA - CELEBRATING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NETWORK: Adan Dòt Solèy an article written by Marion Marchand

An Article written by
Marion Marchand
24 April 2024

I joined the Circostrada coordinating team in 2015, when I was 25. At the time, our small team consisted of two people within HorsLesMurs, and the network had around sixty members across Europe. It was very exciting. The network was equipping itself with resources and tools, structuring its activities, piecing together its charter of values, and championing its unique traits and characteristics in dialogue with the European bodies: at the time, institutions were unfamiliar with the vibrancy, potential, and inclusiveness that outdoor arts and contemporary circus have to offer. Yet everywhere I looked, from Finland and the Balkans to Portugal and the Czech Republic, and from the beating hearts of our capitals to the far-flung reaches of Europe’s countryside, I watched on as a mosaic of initiatives began reforging bonds with local communities, re-enchanting public spaces, reweaving a sense of human connection in places where it may have been frayed, and ushering art into every nook and cranny — particularly where you might least expect it. I discovered an entire European community of artists, people on a mission to create ties, each something of a trailblazer in their little patch of Europe, all buoyed by a burning desire to build a network. I stayed there for close to six years, and they were six years of fascinating encounters and discussions with passionate professionals and artists. I experienced the FRESH STREET and FRESH CIRCUS events in Paris, Barcelona, Galway, Brussels, and Auch, I embarked on research trips to non-European countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Ethiopia, and took part in countless general meetings, working groups, and steering committees, with each edition hosted by a network member and serving as an opportunity to delve into a different slice of Europe’s artistic scene. My time being part of the network’s coordination team gives rise to a flurry of memories, some of them incredibly striking. I will never forget the South Korean hunger for outdoor arts I witnessed at the Seoul Street Arts Festival, or the intense poetry of a walk we took on Onis Oír, the smallest and wildest of Galway’s Aran Islands at the FRESH STREET#3 event hosted by the Irish outdoor and circus arts network ISACS. While Circostrada was my passport to meeting inspiring people from all over the world, the network also nudged me into the path of a new professional chapter: developing Métis’Gwa, a contemporary circus initiative kick-started in 2008 on a Caribbean island around 7,000 kilometres away from Paris. Circostrada equipped me with a love of working within a network, cooperating, and opening up to other forms of art, different working environments and cultural and socio-political contexts that are sometimes complex, yet always fascinating. In short, it instilled in me an open-mindedness and multi-faceted perspective that I am now committed to embedding in my work with Métis’Gwa. It was here that I learnt, grew, and nurtured a sprawling network of close friends from across Europe and the world, people who are by my side with every twist and turn, both present and future. Thank you Circostrada, and adan dòt solèy, as we say in Guadeloupe: until another sun!

Head of Development and Administration of Métis'Gwa, France