In December, the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies (PoLIS) welcomed Director of Il Tappeto di Iqbal, Giovanni Savino, and his clowns to Bath to share their journey with the students.

Il Tappeto di Iqbal is a circus and social cooperative group who offers hope and an alternative to young people who may otherwise fall prey to criminal gangs in the districts of Barra and Ponticelli, Naples.

While at Bath, the group performed a variety of comical sketches, captivated staff and students with some authentic Neapolitan singing and shared their stories. They spoke about how a circus has become a viable alternative to criminal activity and shone a light on the voluntary associations who work to counter the power of local crime gangs and to teach the value of legality, transparency, democracy and freedom.

The event was praised by staff and students alike who enjoyed a very entertaining show while reflecting on the difficult situations that the new generation of teenagers in some districts around Naples have to endure every day.

Enrico Cecconi, Admissions Tutor for Language Programmes within PoLIS, said:

The work of Giovanni Savino and his social cooperative is fighting this widespread criminal presence. His commitment to taking the kids off the streets and involving them in performing activities is a noble principle. We all left the show enriched and enthused by the entertaining nature of this art form, with a strong conviction that these kids have received a new life opportunity from their circus experience.

Second year Italian and French student Harriet Woodman reviewed the performance as "an incredible opportunity for us as students of Italian both as a way to improve our language skills and as an insight into a lesser-known aspect of Italian society".

This unique event was made possible by Dr Felia Allum, Senior Lecturer in PoLis and author of the award winning book The Invisible Camorra.