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A research-creation seminar on apparatus, performance vocabulary and meaning

Cancelled for Summer 2020


This interdisciplinary seminar provides an opportunity to learn, explore and refine research and design methods in the performing arts with a focus on contemporary circus and physical theatre. In addition to discussions of form and discipline, DIY culture, artistic hybridity and creative process, the seminar’s focus will very much be on the performance apparatus.

The main principle on which the seminar is constructed is experiential learning and self-reflexivity concerning the creative process.

This year’s theme is Circus & Invention (apparatus, performance vocabulary, meaning) with a day also focused on Circus and Sustainability and Durability.

2020 Collaborators: Concordia’s 4TH SPACE, Montréal Complètement Cirque (International Market of Contemporary Circus), National Circus School (Center for Circus Arts Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer - CRITAC) and Dix2 design.

Following three successful intensive summer seminars coinciding with Montréal Complètement Cirque, professor Louis Patrick Leroux and his team are pleased to reprise the intensive intellectual and artistic “boot camp” experience for its fourth installation.

The 2019 seminar attracted 25 students from 12 countries: one third were performers, one third graduate students, one third teachers/coaches/professors and most of them were an interesting cross-section of all of those categories.

Target audience

This is a graduate seminar that is also open to professional performing arts practitioners wishing to explore the junction of academic and artistic pursuits.

Successful candidates will possess a fascinating variety of experiences, both artistic and intellectual, and for the most part have experience in circus, theatre, music, video art or dance.

Given the diversity of experiences and academic backgrounds, we encourage an environment of respectful debate and discussion. Students are expected to attend all morning and afternoon lectures and many of the evening performances. They are also expected to contribute to their blog and experiential research project.

This seminar is for thinker-doers, for artists and scholars who are open to experiential learning and interested in process.

Up to four international students could be awarded fellowships covering the full tuition.

Learning outcomes

Course objectives

  • Offer a space for sustained discussion on research-creation, practice-as-research and experiential modes of research into the performing arts;
  • Collaboratively explore successful and more challenging examples of such research design, implementation and dissemination bringing artists, engineers, designers and scholars together;
  • Share experiences, expertise and insights into a variety of international and interdisciplinary practices;
  • Encourage research-action and create an environment that fosters embedded research and creation;
  • Offer an opportunity to engage in a group research-creation project involving elements of the conception, design and implementation of an apparatus;
  • Create an environment of intellectual and artistic exchange and possibilities that will run alongside a major festival and hopefully contribute to further projects and exchanges.


Seminar team


  • Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux

    Professor in the Department of English and Départment d'études françaises, Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Associate Researcher at the National Circus School of Montreal. 


  • Caite Clark, Stage and Production Manager

Website and online support

  • Alison Bowie, PhD Candidate, Humanities, Concordia University

Creative Team Leaders and Interlocutors

  • Félix Marzel, industrial designer and artist (DIX2)
  • Joseph Culpepper, scholar and magic specialist (post-doctoral Fellow at Concordia and Cirque du Soleil)
  • Marion Cossin, engineer specializing in circus apparatuses (National Circus School-CRITAC)
  • Fred Gérard, researcher and apparatus designer (National Circus School-CRITAC)

Guest Speakers

  • Alisan Funk, Assistant Professor of Circus, DOCH, Stockholm University of the Arts
  • Kari Zacharias, Assistant Professor, Concordia Centre for Engineering in Society
  • Ann-Louise Davidson, Associate Professor, Education; Concordia University Research Chair, Maker Culture
  • Patrice Aubertin, director of the CRITAC at National Circus School, holder of the Canada Industrial Research Chair in Circus Arts
  • And others to be confirmed.


How to apply

Deadline: TBD

Prospective participants should supply:

  • A cv and cover letter explaining their interest in the seminar, past experiences and how this seminar could be of importance to their academic, creative life or both.

Application packages and queries should be directed to Patrick Leroux.

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