Keynote speakers:

Ylva Hofvander Trulsson

Ylva Hofvander Trulsson (MMus, MEd, PhD) works as Professor in Aesthetic Didactics and Head of the Department of Dance Pedagogy at Stockholm University of the Arts.  Previously Ylva worked at the Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts at Lund University, as vice dean for research and associate professor in music education focus migration. She has studied music (silver flute) at Malmö Academy of Music (94-98) and creative writing at Skurups Folkhögskola and Luleå University of Technology. Her research focuses on perspectives on class formation in relation to arts learning, parents’ choices, social mobility and class remobility among minority and indigenous groups.  Ongoing research project; History through visual arts – Collaboration with Malmö Art museum, City of Malmo and Malmo gymnasiums. Financed by Jacob Wallenberg 2021-2024. Previous research projects: “ARTs agency and social mobility: Intergenerational transmission of Sami culture in family, educational and community settings” Financed by Swedish Research Council 2014-2019. Musical Learning and Disciplining – discourses on social mobility of immigrant parents and their children. Financed by Swedish Research Council 2012-2014 as international postdoc at University of Cambridge

Emmanuelle Lyon

Emmanuelle Lyon is Dance teacher, program coordinator and teacher trainer in Functional Analysis of the Body in Danced Movement -AFCMD in national institutions in France. She has been teaching at L’Ecole nationale des Arts du Cirque à Rosny-sous-bois -ENACR for 23 years. Prior to her teaching career, she has performed internationally as a dancer. Her main preoccupations in teaching are about developping mindful movement using somatic education and empowering performing artists and educators with body knowledge so that they learn to take better care of themselves and their students while working on increasing their technical and expressive potential.


Alisan Funk

Alisan Funk is an Assistant Professor of Circus and Head of the Bachelor Programme in Circus at the Stockholm University of the Arts. She has been involved in circus arts for more than 20 years including work as a practitioner, creator, performer, teacher, teacher trainer and researcher. Her research and publications use the lenses of curriculum theory, creativity studies and gender studies to elucidate approaches to circus education.

Tiina Kujala

Tiina Kujala, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Physical Education at Tampere University and has served for over 30 years in various positions in teacher education. Her main research focus is curriculum studies, and her most prominent paper is Analyzing Curricula Documents: A Model for Understanding and Cultivating School Subjects, and One’s Subjectivity (Information Age Publishing, 2017). She is also one of the editors of two books published by Tampere University Press: Curriculum Studies – Some Discussions of School and Teacher Education (2017) and Transitions and Signs of Time in Education. Perspectives on Curriculum Studies (2019). Currently she works as the head of the Unit of Education at Tampere University.

Tim Roberts

Tim Roberts is the general manager for the Ecole de Cirque de Québec. He previously served 16 years as director of higher education for the National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA) in London and among his many engagements with international circus education continues to serve on the Managing Board of the European Federation of Circus Schools (FEDEC).

Dagmar Heiland Travnikova

Dasha Heiland Travnikova works as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Sports Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.  She runs courses, workshops, seminars and lectures on non-traditional physical activities, such as psychomotricity,  juggling, partner acrobatics or team building activities and games. Together with her colleague she founded the KUFR theatre company in 2003. She is experienced in the application of physical activities on various target groups of people with special needs (seniors with Parkinson´s disease, students with hearing and visual impairment, wheel-chair users, etc.).

Ian Walsh

Ian Walsh is Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. He has worked as a freelance director of both theatre and opera. He has published widely on Irish theatre in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections, most recently co-editing with Siobhán O’Gorman and Elaine Sisson ‘Staging Europe at the Gate’, special issue of Review of Irish Studies in Europe, 4.1 (2021). His books include Experimental Irish Theatre: After W.B Yeats (Palgrave, 2012); The Theatre of Enda Walsh (Carysfort 2015/Peter Lang, 2019) co-edited with Mary Caulfield; Cultural Convergence: The Dublin Gate Theatre, 1928-1960 (Palgrave, 2020) co-edited with Ondrej Pilny and Ruud van den Beuken; Contemporary Irish Theatre: Histories and Theories co-written with Charlotte McIvor ( Palgrave, 2022).

Roundtables and workshops

Lari Aaltonen

Lari Aaltonen works as a producer at Sorin Sirkus. He is mainly responsible for strategic development and international projects as well as social circus activities. Lari holds an MA from the University of Tampere where he also pursued his PhD from music research before joining the circus. He is the author or co-author of several peer-reviewed research articles and has been writing a lot to professional journals, magazines, newspapers and web media everything from critics to essays and interviews. He also has 20 years of administrative experience in the culture and arts sector as a co-founder of Culture Cooperative Uulu and more hands-on experience of performance arts as a versatile musician.

Ilaria Bessone

Ilaria Bessone holds a PhD in Sociology and Methodology of Social Research at the Graduate School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan. Her project explores the contemporary circus movement in Turin in relation to the current changing configurations of art, work and the body. She holds an MSc in International Migration and Social Cohesion (University of Amsterdam, Deusto and University College Dublin), and a Master’s in Development Studies (University of Turin). She is also a circus teacher and performer and collaborates with different organisations and networks in Italy and
abroad. She is the research coordinator of AltroCirco – project for the development of social circus in Italy.

Katérina Flora

Katérina Flora is in charge of the vocational training in Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde, in Bagneux, France. She has studied History and Performing Arts, has published articles for the National Scientific Center for Research, has worked as an artist in circus, dance and theater and has taught aerial and dance movement for several years to different audiences. She is now specialising in Functional Analysis of the body in dance movement (AFCMD).

Jenna Hall

In late November 2018, following an extended break flying trapeze, practicing circus and trekking across The Americas, Jenna Hall joined Belfast Community Circus School, Premiere Circus and Festival of Fools as Chief Executive. In late November 2021Belfast Community Circus School changed its name to Circusful.

Before moving to Northern Ireland for this role, Jenna has worked for over 20 years to help improve outcomes for children, families and communities. With an MA in education and community learning, a coaching accreditation and being a champion of partnership working, Jenna has led teams across the UK to increase children and young people’s access to arts and culture, improve families health outcomes and life chances.

She joined the board of Caravan in 2019 and became Vice President in January 2022. Jenna is also on the boards of Cathedral Quarter Trust, the Strand Arts Centre and a Director of The Gymnastics and Trampoline Network. Jenna is also the co-Chair of Belfast Festivals Forum and an active member of the Arts Collaboration Network.

Ulla Hokkanen

Ulla Hokkanen is the Executive Creative Director of Galway Community Circus – Ireland’s flagship organisation for youth and social circus – and a board member of the International Youth and Social Circus Network Caravan. Ulla is passionate about creating wellbeing, inclusion, and social change through arts participation.

Davi Hora

Davi Hora is a Juggler and Circus teacher at Galway community circus.

Adam Jarchovský

Adam Jarchovský is a professional circus artist and tutor at the CIRQUEON in Prague, where he works as head of education. He is currently focusing on the development of methodology and advocacy of the social and youth circus in Czech republic. He studied social work at Charles University in Prague and has collaborated on many social and young circus projects in the Czech Republic and abroad in the last ten years. As part of the C ++ project, he was part of curriculum team.

Joonas Kalari

Joonas Kalari , EdD, MSS, university teacher at Tampere University. Specialized in motor development from childhood to adulthood, motor skill learning and didactics in physical education. Teaches physical education for class-teacher and early childhood teacher students.

Oskar Löfkvist

Oskar Löfkvist came to the circus from the world of theater, fifteen years ago. His love of working with circus teaching comes from the strong experiences of success. They feed the self confidence of participants and give them access to arts and culture as well as their own bodies and abilities. Working at Cirkus Cirkör since 2011 he has been tasked with developing methods for teaching participants with special needs, building trustful relationships in businesses, teaching mathematics and physics with circus arts and creating motivational augmentations of space to give physically underperforming children inspiration and improved well-being.

Michal Molcho

Michal Molcho (PhD) is Professor and the founder and Head of Children’s Studies in the School of Education in NUI Galway. The Department of Children’s Studies offer interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the area of children and adolescents. These degrees trains (among others) future and current teachers, therapists and paediatric doctors, provide them with holistic understanding of childhood and adolescence in society. The undergraduate degrees have a strong focus on practice education and on creativity as a tool for encouraging children’s voices. Michal has an international reputation in the areas adolescent health and inequality in adolescent health with focus on marginalized adolescent groups.

Minna Mäkihonko

Dr. Minna Mäkihonko (D.Ed.) is the head of degree studies, senior university lecturer in special needs and inclusive education and responsible head of special/inclusive education in early childhood and class teacher education at Tampere University. She has extensive experience of working as teacher educator and as expert in university based child and student centered teacher education, teachers’ professional development and assessment of teachers’ competences in different local context, all over the world. She is well experienced in pre- and in-service special and inclusive education, early childhood education, subject and class teacher education, as well as curricula and assessment development for teacher education. She has international and multicultural experience of education policy, strategy and system development.

Samuli Nordberg

Samuli Nordberg works as university lecturer (movement and dance) at the ITC faculty, Tampere University, Finland. He has extensive experience of dance and theater on professional field and on education.  He is experienced with embodied experiences as part of artistic creation processes decision making. He has also been researching pedagogical structures and practices of reflection in artistic processes and on personal boundaries. He has been affiliated over 20 years with Dancethetre Tsuumi.

Mohamad Rabah

Mohamad Rabah is the Executive Director for the Palestinian Circus School , and Co-Founder of the Palestinian role-playing organization Bait Byout. He is a Youth Work Specialist with a Master degree in Community and Youth Work from Durham University, United Kingdom. Mohamad’s professional expertise cover community and youth policy and practice, professional and personal development of young people, management in community settings, research in professional practice, and using non-formal learning tools such as circus and role-playing games to support the development of communities and young people.

Anna Karin Ståhle

Anna Karin Ståhle is a senior administrative officer at Uniarts, working as a personal assistant to the Head of Departments of Circus and Acting. In this capacity she has, among other things, been working together with the teachers in developing independent courses at the Department of circus. Before working full time as an administrator, she had a career as a freelancing dance teacher and dancer. She taught at the University College of Dance in Spanish dance and Historical dances and was assistant professor in Historical dances. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance pedagogy and a Master of arts in pedagogy.

Maria Tate

Maria Tate graduated from Wichita State University in 2006 with a BFA in Dance. Since graduation Maria has performed and/or taught with Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Ballet, Joel Hall Dancers (Chicago), Spark! Circus in Thailand and many others. Maria was set to tour with Circus Vargas in the United States beginning April 2020 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic she did not get to chase that particular dream. Maria relocated to Battambang, Cambodia in June 2021 to take up a position as Arts Education Specialist at Phare Ponlue Selpak , a world class circus organization and arts integration school with a 27 year history of improving lives through the power of the arts.

Maria currently serves as the representative of Phare Ponleu Selpak on the board of Caravan Circus. In 2022 Maria became coordinator for Circus Overseas, a project of Caravan Circus. Maria is also the Co-Project Manager for Tini Tinou International Circus Festival at Phare.


Laura Tikka

Laura Tikka is Circusteacher and circus performer in Sorin Sirkus. Laura has been performing in several circuses, cabarets and productions around Europe for the past 25 years. Alongside her career as a circus performer, she started teaching circus and studying pedagogy as she wanted to share her knowledge and passion about circus.  At the moment she is teaching in several circus schools and giving workshops internationally.


Taina Kopra

the founder and artistic director of Sorin Sirkus, has supervised and been responsible of the pedagogic work for 36 years at Sorin Sirkus. She has been not only a circus teacher and artistic director but a visionary, who has developed and made path for Finnish youth and social circus education. She has received several awards and acknowledgements from youth work, artistic work and performances and significant work for circus in Tampere and whole Finland.

With Sorin Sirkus as one of the co-founders of Caravan back in 2008, she played since then a crucial role with network and its Board. Taina is a new president of Caravan (2022-2024).

Will Borrell

is Communications and Projects assistant at the Caravan Youth and Social Circus Network, with a business degree from the University of Edinburgh. Having worked the previous 8 years as a freelance circus artist and educator in Scotland and Northern England, with a particular passion and interest in juggling & social projects. Now living in Mons, Belgium, working part time as a Circus trainer for young people and people with disabilities, and part time as an Administrator at Caravan.

Simona de Lisi

Simona De Lisi is the new Development Manager at Caravan Circus Network. She has a PhD on International Sociology from the University of Florence. She has over two decades of working experience at international level working with both social/development sector and international events. She has worked extensively in the social sector in the areas of children rights, education, women empowerment, fight against poverty and social inclusion. She has handled different portfolios in leading non profits organizations including the European Children’s Network and the International Association of Voluntary Sector. She collaborated on several studies related to the gender discrimination and domestic violence at both European and national levels. She is passionate about performing arts  and she strongly believes  on their importance for social inclusion and as an educational tool.