Open call for artists: Feminist Voices in Circus Arts

We offer residencies for 5 circus and physical theater artists from Creative Europe Countries1
outside Germany with queer-feminist practices to conduct a joined research residency
between October 6th – November 17th, 2024

Submission Deadline: May 19th 24:00 CET


Feminist voices in circus arts
Modern Circus is commonly read as an artistic practice of freedom of self-expression and equal opportunities, undermining the fact that underlying patriarchal power dynamics and discriminatory hierarchies are shaping the practice. To highlight and address alternative modes of creation in circus arts, queer-feminist theory and methods are providing a collective ground for the residency theme “feminist voices in circus arts” to investigate and conduct research as a work in process in a safe(r) creative space.

This residency aims to conduct research and to further investigate feminist voices in circus arts in the context of queer-feminist art practices. Circus artists and physical theater professionals are invited to engage with their practice in a collective and individual creative process.

As a communal practice, based on joint research, the residency theme “feminist voices in circus arts” will be accompanied by mentors and shared throughout the residency. The outlook is to establish concepts and modes of creating artistic and cultural work from a queer-feminist perspective. The residency offers modes of on-site research, practice sharing, creation and performance.
A public presentation is planned for Nov 15th.

The residency is open for all circus and physical theater professionals and practices. For individual access needs and tech requirements, please read the space specifications and contact us for details.
The residency is aiming to provide an inclusive space which fosters cultural dialogue and social change within circus arts and supports visibility of feminist voices as part of the German and European cultural ecosystems. The residency aims to empower marginalized circus artists and physical theater professionals.

What is covered by the residency?
Mentors from the team offering support in the position as outside eyes, partaking in critical companionship, both in individual and group sessions. Main mentors are Anja Gessenhardt and Jana Korb.
Access to residency spaces and studios at CircusMühle Kelbra, featuring a high training space and multiple medium-sized spaces, a theater and circus library, and wifi.
Accommodation on site (in shared apartment, double rooms).
Travel allowance (up to 350€ per Person / 700€ for overseas countries and territories and outermost regions).
Daily allowance of 25€ per day for 44 days.

Who can apply?
Circus artists and physical theater professionals can apply as individuals or as a group of up to 5 people.
Applicants must be legally registered and based in one of the Creative Europe countries1 outside of Germany.
Applicants must be present in the residency location at the same time, for the same duration, and without interruption.

Submit your application!
Submit your application to:, subject “feminist voices”.

The submission should include:
1. Your motivation to join the artist residency: What is your urge to take part in the residency? What do you want to work on? How do you want to cooperate with other residency artists? (max. 3.000 characters or max. 5min.)
2. Your personal positioning to queer-feminism and circus arts (max. 3.000 characters or max. 5min.)
3. Self-description / personal profile (max. 1.000 characters)
4. Artistic Vita (max. 1 page)

All files must be pdf file attachments. Audio/video files per download-link.
Deadline for submissions: May, 19th 2024 24:00 CET
Applicants will receive a response by end of May 2024.

Selection process and criteria
The 3-person committee appointed by KunstRaumKelbra e.V. will review and invite 5 selected grantees.

As this is a call for a queer-feminist project focusing on feminist voices in circus arts, submissions from women, trans, non-binary, and BIPOC artists will be considered first, when faced with equivalent qualifications.
We value diversity and want our artists in residence to reflect European society. We therefore welcome all applications – regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic and social background, religion/belief, disability, age, sexual orientation and identity. Severely disabled applicants and those with equivalent status have the same opportunities as non-disabled applicants.

By submitting your application, you consent to the processing and storage of your data until the application process has been completed.

About the residency host
The association KunstRaumKelbra e.V. is a newly funded artist-led organization that hosts cultural events and circus creations in close collaboration with CircusMühle Kelbra.

CircusMühle Kelbra is situated in the town of Kelbra in the rural region of Südharz, in central Germany. Since 2022, the site is under development to become a training and creation center for contemporary circus and performing arts in public spaces, co-created by the artistic team, living and working on site. The building complex is a former industrial mill from 1890, with a huge outside area and several buildings under construction, already offering a big residency space and living quarters for artists and cultural professionals.

Specifications and accessibility of the residency space and accommodation
The main residency space is located in a former mill equipped with aerial rigging points (at 6 meter) and ground anchors for aerial arts apparatus and other uses. Furthermore, there is smooth dance floor, crash mats and a variety of equipment for rigging and circus apparatus available on site. Besides the main studio space there are also other spaces under development to create and research in different settings, including wall dance, tree climbing, and outdoor arts.

Artists in residence will be staying in shared rooms at the vacation apartment, which offers 3 rooms, (each a 2-bed room), a bathroom with bathtub and kitchen, and wifi.
Bikes for grocery shopping can be provided. The next train station is within 20 min. walking distance.

Accessibility information:
The main residency space and the apartment is only accessible via stairs. The apartment and main building do not offer barrier free toilets nor guiding stripes. Please reach out to discuss individual support with us to provide for the residency.

We speak German, English, Russian and Czech (fluently), as well as French (intermediate), and some basic Spanish, Brasilian Portuguese, and Bahasa Indonesia. We do not offer audio description or translation in sign language.

Kunst Raum Kelbra e.V.
Triftstr. 36, 06537 Kelbra,
Instagram: @circusmuehle

As hosts, we embed this residency within activism in feminist artistic networks, such as The Magdalena Project (international project of women in theater) and the Initiative Feministischer Circus (German initiative for feminist circus) as well as within professional alliances such as BUZZ (the Federal Association of Contemporary Circus in Germany) and BUTIÖR (German Association for Theater in Public Spaces).

This residency project is supported by Culture Moves Europe, a project funded by the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.