Public policies and support schemes

There is no cultural policy for circus and street arts in Sweden, nor are there any official statistics available on government or regional expenditures for circus and street arts, or on estimated audiences. All support and statistics for these art forms go under the headings of theatre and dance, as do all applications for funding. However, Manegen, the Swedish federation for circus, variety and street performance, is currently mapping the sector and collecting statistics, and they have generously made some numbers available for this text.

General Objectives

The objectives for Swedish cultural policy were renewed in 2009 by the Ministry of Culture:

“Culture shall be a dynamic, challenging and independent force built on freedom of speech. Everybody shall have the possibility to participate in cultural life. The development of Swedish society shall be characterized by creativity, diversity and artistic quality.”

To reach these objectives, cultural policy aims to:
- facilitate access to cultural experience and develop creative abilities
- promote quality cooperation and exchange in artistic innovation
- give special attention to children and young people’s right to culture.

Circus and Street Arts

Despite the lack of public policies for circus and street arts, it is clear that the number of projects, artists and organisations receiving public funding has increased in recent years, mainly in circus. This is linked to an increased awareness within the sector. It also has to do with the fact that since 2005 there has been a higher state education within circus, and the fact that, also in 2005, Cirkus Cirkör was given regional institution status, meaning it would receive permanent funding from The Swedish Arts Council, Stockholm City Council, Stockholm Region, and Botkyrka City Council. In 2009 the Swedish Arts Council supported the development of Manegen, a national federation.

According to statistics from Manegen, in 2014 a total of 2.6 million Euro of public funding from the state, the regions and the cities was allocated to circus and street arts. 1.3 million Euro was state funding, 300,000 Euro was allocated at the regional level, and 1 million Euro at the city level. Of this, 1.5 million Euro was allocated to the regional institution Cirkus Cirkör’s activities, 515,000 Euro was awarded to festivals; 310,000 Euro was allocated to independent artists and companies; 59,000 was received by Manegen; 64,000 was spent on the Stockholm region circus consultant; 57,000 was allocated to Karavan in Malmö; and the remaining 90,000 Euro was received by development projects (Autopistes and Circus Glass Royal).

Linda Beijer

— Chairman, Manegen —

What do you see as your most important task in circus/street arts in your country?
"Infrastructure. I mean solid systems and structures that make it possible to study and work professionally. Places to train and create; education in all professions, supporting creation, producing, selling, marketing and touring of shows. Many venues wish to present circus but hesitate due to lack of experience and knowledge. More knowledge of our art forms, especially of street arts, among decision-makers, arts support systems and professionals in other art forms. We have a large engaged audience that wants more."