This conference is FREE and open to all who want to attend.

Wires Crossed - Head, Heart, Balance’ is a Creative Europe funded co-operation project between Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles, Galway Community Circus, The Serious Road Trip Romania, Université libre de Bruxelles and the European Funambulism Network that supports artistic and participatory excellence in funambulism.

Join us for a conference all about funambulism, the art of walking on a wire with a balancing pole. The conference will feature presentations and roundtable discussions about wirewalking, a live stream canal crossing from Brussels, the premiere of Galway Community Circus’ short film ‘Step Off’, performances and more.

The conference will feature five sessions, 60-90 minutes each, on various aspects of funambulism practice highlighting professional artistic practice, public participation and health and wellbeing benefits of practicing funambulism. There will also be a discussion around the impact and legacy of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture project and a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the European Centre of Funambulism.

The programme is listed below or you can download the full programme here.


Research Launch: Neurological Impact of Funambulism Participation

10-11am IRL
11am-12pm CET

Funambulism has many benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing. In this session, hear from professors at Université Libre de Bruxelles about their scientific research into the neurological effects of funambulism practice on the brain.

Professor Axelle Leroy, Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE)
Professor Guy Cheron, Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE)

Moderator: Will Borrell, Caravan Network (BE)

Wires Crossed: Legacy of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

3-4:30pm IRL
4-5:30pm CET

Wires Crossed is a European-wide community participation project revolving around funambulism. As one of the first big circus projects for a European Capital of Culture, Wires Crossed has accomplished a great deal with legacy plans in tow. In this session, hear everything about the project from conception to impact to legacy, the partnerships, the capacity building that occurred and more. This session will conclude with the premiere of ‘Step Off’, a short film by young Galway Community Circus members commissioned by Galway 2020.

Ulla Hokkanen, Galway Community Circus (IE)
Vincent Wauters, École de Cirque de Bruxelles (BE)
Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture (IE)
Sergi Ots, Director Ponten Pie Productions, ‘Bassalto’ (ES)


My Life on the Wire

10-11:30am IRL
11am-12:30pm CET

Join professional highwire walkers for an exciting conversation about life as an artist of great heights. In this rare opportunity to hear from some of the top highwire artists around Europe, viewers will witness a deep conversation about the practical and philosophical aspects of funambulism and what it means to have a career where facing fears and taking risks is standard to everyday life.

Oliver Zimmermann, Funambule (DE)
Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga, Funambule (FR)
Jan Naets, Artistic Co-director and Technical Manager Cie Basinga (FR/BE)
Andrea Loreni, Funambule (IT)

Moderator: Ellis Grover, Funambule (UK)

Learning the Ropes: The Journey from Training to Tutoring

12:30-2pm IRL
1:30-3pm CET

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. In the Wires Crossed project, the amateur practice of funambulism is just as important as the professional practice – but how do you teach funambulism to beginners? In this session, hear from participants and circus trainers about their personal journey through the Wires Crossed project, how they trained to teach this art form, and their experience in helping people find joy and confidence on a wire.

Featuring a special performance by Hanna Moisala (FI).

Raluca Ilas, Școala de Circ (RO)
Oskar Löfkvist, Cirkus Cirkor (SE)
Ronja Breuk, Circus Amersfoort (NL)
Mairead Dewar, Galway Community Circus (IE)

Moderator: Dr Stephen Cadwell, Educational Consultant (IE)

Highwire Crossing of Brussels Canal - 10th Anniversary of Centre Européen de Funambulisme

3-4pm IRL
4-5pm CET

In this exciting closing session, join us for a live stream highwire canal crossing in Brussels and interviews from trainers and artists from European Funambulism Network partners École de Cirque de Bruxelles as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the European Centre of Funambulism.

Vincent Wauters, Centre Européen de Funambulisme (BE)
Bruno Frenette, Centre Européen de Funambulisme (FR/BE)