From July 21 to July 24, 2022 the first laboratory (LABORATORY #1) of our international project “Circus for Climate” was held in Gārsene Castle, Jēkabpils region, with the themes: Visual art, environment and activism.


In the first laboratory 11 youngsters aged between 13 and 16 from the Latvian regions of Jēkabpils, Ludza and Bauska gathered in Gārsene Castle to learn and work together with the leaders of the laboratory.

The content for the first laboratory was created in a new collaboration format between comic book artists Ingrīda Pičukāne, Vivianna Maria Stanislavska and the dance artist and climate activist Amund Bentsen from “Acting for Climate” (Norway).

They jointly created tasks on environmental and climate change issues in Latvia and in the world, which were explored both through physical activities in nature  as well as through different visual art techniques.

The days were filled with lectures, games, activities and training, the youngsters had discussions together with the leaders, they also learned new skills, created posters, collages and comics on the topics of climate issues and activism.

Throughout the laboratory, artists also shared their personal experiences concerning climate change activism, inspiring young people to think about solutions to implement in their everyday lives to reduce pollution and actively participate in creating their surroundings for a sustainable future.

The content was enriched with a joint lecture by Alise Ruža and Amund Bentsen in which they shared their knowledge and experience of how the processes of change happen in society.

Alise is a volunteer and youth activist of the World Wildlife Fund and Alice’s experience, ideas and solutions have been formed directly while working in Latvia, which convincingly showed and inspired the youngsters that age is not a limitation to stand up for your ideas and opinions be it in your home, school or city.

The laboratory’s activities could be followed every day on the project’s Circus for Climate Instagram account, where young people and other interested parties will be able to get acquainted with the project’s activities, findings, photos, recommendations on climate topics and solutions from artists and environmental experts also in the future.

Photos by Lauris Vīksne


LABORATORY #1 is only the very beginning and the project “Circus for Climate” as a whole was developed with the aim of creating a platform where young people, artists and environmental experts can meet to talk about the topic of climate change through visual, dance and circus arts.

The performance will be led by contemporary circus artists from “Acting for Climate” together with contemporary dance and circus artists Alise Bokaldere, Aleksej Smolov and Maija Sukute joined by the composer Kaspars Kurdeko from Latvia.

The purpose of the performance is to creatively promote greener, more sustainable thinking among youngsters in Latvia and its regions, as well as to appeal to young people to become more active in social processes in general.

In the meantime, the comic book artists will also follow the rest of the planned laboratories of the project, in order to create a zine (a form of self-published magazine) for youngsters in the style of a comic book, as informative material and a supplement to the performance.


Overall planned activities of the “Circus for Climate” project:

  • In the time period of 2022-2023 a set of 5 laboratories for youngsters aged 14 to 18 are planned in the regions of Latvia
  • The end of the project will be marked in May 2023 in Riga with 1 large-scale performance and a zine supplementing the performance in a comic book format.

Video by Uvis Leskavnieks

Some reflections about the project and laboratory#1

The creative director of Riga Circus, Mārtiņš Ķibers, is pleased with this cooperation:

“Riga Circus is increasingly involved in international projects, and this cooperation is also extremely important. In recent times, humanity has experienced various cataclysms – starting with the pandemic and ending with the war in Ukraine, and under the influence of all this, civilization is taking big steps backwards in the field of nature protection.

It is the right time to raise the issue of climate change and to do it in an audience of young people, because they are the generation that will be able to change the human relationship with our planet through their actions. This project is an invaluable opportunity to learn their thoughts and emphasize the importance of social activism.”

The participants of the laboratory admitted that although climate change tends to cause fear in them when thinking about the future, the laboratory inspired them to take action and realize that solutions do exist. Youngsters also emphasized that it is much more interesting and positive to talk about difficult topics through humor and formats such as comics and visual arts.

The implementation for the “Circus for climate” project, which began on March 1 of 2022, has received significant support from EEA grants and national funding in the total sum of 231,636 euros, which has enabled the possibility for this cooperation between Riga Circus and “Acting for Climate”. As a result it has been possible not only to bring together experts from various knowledge backgrounds, but also this partnership will allow us to jointly create a new performance for youngsters, which will be completed at the end of the project.

The show will be based on the thoughts, concerns and expressed opinions of the participants on climate issues both from the first as well as all the other planned laboratories.

The project has been created with the support of the European Economic Area (EEA) Grants Financial Mechanism funding period 2014. – 2021. program “Local Development, Poverty Reduction, and Cultural Cooperation” open call “Support for the Creation of Professional Art and Cultural Products for Children and Youth”.

The project’s total eligible costs are  231 636 euros. The project Nr.EEZ/2021/1/16 “Circus for Climate” created by SLLC “Rīgas cirks” in collaboration with “Acting for Climate” benefits from a financing of 196 890.65 euros from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway EEA Grants and 34 745.42 euros from national co-financing. The project’s realisation period is from 1 March 2022 until 31 July 2023.

More information about the EEA Grants Financial Mechanism can be found HERE.

More information about the project HERE.