Yearly Archives: 2020

Canada Council for the Arts: The Arts and Climate Change

Blog post from Director and CEO, Simon Brault

Every day we witness new and dramatic consequences of the ongoing rise in temperatures. Scientists have been raising the alarm for quite some time—the causes of climate change are well-known and documented. Many people think the fires presently blazing through Australia are but a prelude to other destructive and deadly catastrophes.

Youth from around the world are taking to the streets to call for action. In 2019, Angus Reid revealed that 72% of Canadians approved of worldwide demands by youth for climate action.

The demands go beyond mere awareness—they are an outright call for climate justice.

Mobilization for climate justice

Climate justice includes moral, political, ethical, and cultural considerations. It also involves environmental, technical and physical approaches, and goes far beyond them as well. Climate justice examines social inequality, as well as fundamental and collective rights. It addresses the rights of future generations, as well as historic responsibilities. And climate-related inequalities are real. A compelling example of this can be found in Canada’s northern territories, which I visited in the summer of 2019.

In 2019, the rise in world temperatures since 1948 reached 1.7°C—an absolute record. But in Northern Canada, where Indigenous people make up more than 50% of the population, temperatures have actually risen 2.3°C.[i]Disastrous consequences are already being felt: permafrost deterioration is accelerating, certain plants have become extinct, the water is polluted, and Indigenous peoples’ traditional way of life has been tragically and directly impacted. Though Inuit and First Nations people are severely affected by climate change, they are rarely present at the decision-making tables where climate action is discussed.

The demand for climate justice is mobilizing more and more arts communities—notably Indigenous ones. With good reason: it is rooted in citizenry, and it emphasizes inclusion and equity.

The Canada Council for the Arts and climate change

We are currently developing our strategic plan for 2021–26, and we are looking to take a solid and consistent position on the issue of climate change. And our position will include an authentic Indigenous perspective, and an international and inclusive point of view.

In addition to focusing on environmentally innovative approaches to production and dissemination, the Council will continue to support creation that addresses climate issues in all dimensions artists choose to explore. The Council will also continue to demonstrate exemplary practices in the way it manages and reduces its own ecological footprint. As we continue our reduction, recovery, and greening initiatives, we will examine the ways we conduct our operations. Our employees and the community demand this kind of environmental leadership, and it will guarantee our public credibility so that we can have a voice on the most pressing issue of our time.

In the coming months, we will also be engaging in discussions with artists and organizations in order to define tangible measures that we can implement while proposing a vision of environmental justice that fully integrates the arts and culture.

[i] Bush, E. and Lemmen, D.S., editors (2019): Section 8.4.1 : Changes in northern Canada” Canada’s Changing Climate Report; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON. 444 p.

Opportunity: Island Going 2020 – Outer Hebrides residency

Island Going is an ocean- and island-based creative residency based in the Outer Hebrides

In partnership with Ocean Guides* and building on the success of three previous land- and sea-based residencies for An Lanntair within an established residency programme, this Summer’s ‘Island Going’ residency runs for 11 days – six days at sea and five days on land, for five participants, offering the potential to explore the ocean and island environments of the Outer Hebrides, including the St. Kilda archipelago.

In addition to this our residencies come with an ethos of supporting the communities that they are based in, utilising local knowledge, services and expertise as well as providing a window into the language and culture of the islands.

We aim to benefit those communities and foster links between them and the wider world, building a greater understanding of island living and the challenges that the people and the ecosystems of the Outer Hebrides and other island Nations face in the Anthropocene – such as climate changeeconomic sustainability and cultural and linguistic identity.

Key to our residency programme is an acknowledgment of the rich Gaelic culture of the islands and the role local ‘indigenous’ knowledge plays in the understanding of the past – and how that informs the present. This is embodied in the George Macleod book Muir is Tir/Land and Sea – on which the residency is loosely based.

The vessel for the voyage, Ocean Search will be the accommodation and means of transport for the voyage, offering the opportunity to sail under the expert guidance of the skipper and crew Andrew and Meg Rodger, owners of Ocean Guides as well as the chance to use her scientific kit, which includes a hydrophone for listening to and recording cetaceans, underwater cameras for observing the seabed to 40m, sidescan sonar to search for underwater features such as reefs or wrecks, and a seabed grab sampler.

The first part of the residency will be spent on Ocean Search exploring the coastline and islands of the St. Kilda archipelago and the Sound of Harris. The second part of the residency will be based on land staying at John’s Bunkhouse on the fascinating island of Berneray, located part way between the Isle of Harris and North Uist, where participants will have time to reflect on the ocean-based time, develop ideas from the voyage, and/or undertake further research and creative exploration on the island with the support of An Lanntair’s Project Curator – Jon Macleod.

Costs + what the residency provides

£1400 – this includes:

  • Six days boat charter, skipper and crew, food on board the boat
  • Five days accommodation at John’s Bunkhouse on the island of Berneray
  • Creative support to help facilitate projects and discuss ideas during the residency
  • Curatorial support towards developing residency work further
  • Guidance and support on the land based part of the residency
  • Collection and drop off at airport or ferry terminals
  • Exhibition opportunities at An Lanntair – in discussion with curatorial staff
  • The opportunity to develop ideas further in a Residency Journal format
  • A residency library of selected titles and suggested reading list

In the past the residency has often proved a dynamic research arena for collaborative practice, the nature of the experience proving rewarding for the cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Application details

The residency is open to International and UU-based artists and is multidisciplinary in its approach – places have been offered to writers, dancers, filmmakers etc. in the past.

Please send a 300-word statement outlining your intent for the residency + a 500 summary of your practice. Please provide examples of previous works in jpeg format (8 max) and/or website/blog/vimeo etc. to

Closing date: 14th February 2020

Successful applicants will be informed by 21st February

Find further information on Island Going 2020 or An Lanntair’s residency page.

*Visit the Ocean Guides website

** We can offer letters of support for selected participants applying for grants for the residency.

The post Opportunity: Island Going 2020 – Outer Hebrides residency appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Fire & Ice

By Daniel Ranalli

Growing up along Long Island Sound in Connecticut, I developed a close relationship with the seacoast early in life. By the 1980s, I reconnected with my love for the ocean and managed to spend long stretches of time on the Outer Cape in Massachusetts. Fortunately, the Cape Cod National Seashore has preserved much of that coast and prevented considerable oceanfront development. Until that point, my work as an artist had largely focused on abstraction using photography to make large cameraless (photograms) images. As I began to walk the tidal plain along the bayside in the towns of Wellfleet and Truro, I started to think more deeply about the ecology and natural history of the region – and my relationship to it. I made temporal works in the tidal plain using seaweed and stones and shells that would be erased by the next cycle of tides. I combined photo documentation of these sites with my own texts, building a kind of personal natural history. 

Most importantly, I began to pay attention – to look closely on those daily walks – at the shape of the beach, the erosion on the dunes, and everything that I stepped over and on. In 1995, I began a long series, that continues to this day, using snails (Atlantic periwinkles) to make drawings in the wet sand as the tide receded. I would arrange the snails in geometric patterns and wait as their movement carved drawings on the sand, presenting a pair of images of their start and the subsequent results of their travels.

In addition, for long stretches over the past ten years, I have walked each morning to make a photograph from exactly the same spot, overlooking the bay, at 7:00 am. This past summer, I did this for 115 consecutive mornings. It has sharpened my awareness of the infinite variety of combinations of bay and sky that present themselves. It also serves as a kind of secular prayer or meditation to begin each day. 

The Fire & Ice Series, which I have been working on for several years, incorporates NASA satellite images of major wildfires, glaciers and glacial calving, hurricanes, and floods. For many years, I have been fascinated by satellite images of both astronomical phenomena and our own planet. There is an extraordinary formal beauty to these photographs, but also a powerful inherent tension between that beauty and the reality of the catastrophic or life-threatening weather, fire, or geological events they depict. There is also something about viewing our earth from that perspective that reminds us of our delicate beauty. The 1972 “Blue Marble” image of the Earth from Apollo 17 has sharpened our understanding of how fragile our planet is.

I am now, in my studio practice, deeply motivated by the current global catastrophes of climate change and rising sea level, and the failure to take serious remedial action. Every year, we set new records for heat waves, observe more powerful storms, struggle with massive floods, and watch as thousands of square miles of the planet are scorched by wildfires. As an artist, I feel compelled to respond in some way that is both personal and meaningful. We have all become inured to the continuous stream of images of floods, fires, tornados, hurricane destruction, and famine. With this series, I am hoping to make connections on another level of consciousness. Can art that seeks to generate insight on such a subtle level make a difference? I don’t know the answer to that.

Each piece is the result of pairing two or more high resolution satellite images of fire, ice and/or hurricanes, and then adding a third element utilizing my own photographs. In these works, smoke can become clouds, clouds morph into massive storms, and glaciers become abstractions of dark and light. I hope to reference geological history in some way. There are photographs from my Beach Deaths series – made over many years along the Massachusetts coast – of the remains of birds, fish, and cetaceans that had come to rest on the beach. In Fire/Water/Nests, I also reference birds and their nests, riffing on the formal similarity with hurricanes. Birds, being the direct descendants of dinosaurs (having spanned over 150 million years), are a way of linking the imagery to both species longevity and species extinction. We have also learned that bird populations in North America have dropped by as much as three billion over the past half century.

In Russian Fire/Icelandic Glacier + Big Bang-Yin Yang, I draw from my Found Chalkboardsseries, photographed in empty classrooms when I was teaching at a nearby university. The chalkboards are slightly altered and occasionally combined digitally with hand drawn elements. 

In a number of other pieces, I have included the molted shells, tails, and carapaces of horseshoe crabs. For years, I have collected the shells along the shore. I am fascinated by their beauty, and using them in this series, I am referencing their 450 million years of unchanged existence. I don’t see our species as managing such a longevity record. In Cape Cod bay, where high tides now swamp their egg laying areas, these oddly beautiful animals are losing habitat and falling in numbers. In a few pieces in this series, I have also used physical objects such as fragments of whale bone, an animal we once hunted and now hope to save from extinction. 

Pinned to the wall in front of me as I write this is the Robert Frost poem Fire & Ice:  “Some say the world will end in fire,/ Some say in ice.” It plays often in my subconscious as I worked the ideas through.


Daniel Ranalli’s work is in the permanent collections of over thirty museums including the Museum of Modern Art (NY), Museum of Fine Arts Boston, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and National Gallery of American Art (Smithsonian). He has had over 150 solo and group shows in the U.S. and abroad, and has been the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and multiple fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Situated within the medium of photography, Ranalli’s work can often be characterized as conceptual and/or environmental, and is frequently rooted in the balance between control and chance. Daniel lives in Cambridge and Wellfleet, Massachusetts.


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Lead Editor’s note: We will be publishing excerpts from Q18: dis/sustain/ability, guest edited by Bronwyn Preece, in order to make the content accessible to blind readers with audio screen readers. We’ll also be including audio descriptions of the Quarterly’s original layout designed by Stephanie Plenner, audio described. Please stay tuned for future posts and share widely. In this chapter, Stephanie Heit and Petra Kuppers embody a discussion of creative practice as self-care.

Reading and Audio Description of “Tendings” by Petra Kuppers and Stephanie Heit

Tendings: Creative Practice as Self-Care 

by Stephanie Heit and Petra Kuppers

In this essay, we share our ongoing joint practices of tending, collaborating, and being in place. We initially developed these practices out of the curriculum of Body and Earth by Andrea Olsen, which combines experiential anatomy, eco-specific investigations, somatic exercises, and writing. We began these tending practices in May 2015 while at Playa Artist Residency in Oregon and have continued them in our homebase of Ann Arbor, Michigan and during 2016 in multiple residencies, from Vandaler Forening in Oslo, Norway to The Thicket Artist Residency on a Georgia barrier island. The work connects us to the environments we are in; tunes us into our own bodyminds and their shifting states; tends our individual selves, our relationship and our surroundings; and nurtures our personal creative projects and Olimpias work [1] within a laboratory of open attention. The practices’ sustainability relies on our own flexibility and creativity to meet the day’s needs: shifting a movement exercise from standing to lying down to accommodate pain, narrating prompts to support concentration and reading difficulties, and adapting an exercise that calls for swimming in a lake to a bathtub or pool when it is freezing outside. These ‘tendings’ cultivate ongoing creative self-care and create a framework that extends to stewardship of self, interdependence, community, and the environment.


Stephanie: Our tendings reside within shifting locations as travel, performance engagements, and artist residencies change our locations. I live with bipolar disorder and my stability relies upon routine. Intensive travel and change, though exciting, can often be a challenge and disruptive to my equilibrium. Each new place I work to establish a nest and connect to the ground. I unpack my things (if we are in a place for a stretch) and familiarize myself with the layout of the space. Find where I feel comfortable, where I want to write. The tending practices help me transition from here to there, which may mean a new time zone, slant of light, ecosystem, temperature, as well as exhaustion from long travel days that deplete me and demand recovery time. 

Lying on the ground and feeling grass blades on my ankles and neck as Petra traces my outline with her feet and cane, I tune into the specific breathing of the wind, allow my rhythms to tune into the rhythms of my surroundings. These tendings we create and adapt to hold each other in changeable states and to witness and hold the land in which we are visitors. The invitation to feel the cellular exchange – inside to outside, outside to inside – is permission to be however we are. I can be tired while Petra is charged after a productive morning, and the muskrat swims in sleek V’s across the pond. I’m able to lean into the care offered through connecting with Petra, perhaps in palpating each other’s feet bones giving way to a juicy foot massage, and heightening my awareness through engaging with the oak tree, shoreline, wood mossy floor. This multiple focus that includes and extends beyond, often gives way to shifts – tiredness may lessen after falling into a deep snooze while listening to red-winged blackbirds. There is tending in this creative gesture of interaction and witnessing, in paying attention to both strength and fragility. 

Petra: In many ways, the availability of travel is still a miracle to me: as a disabled woman and wheelchair user, one of my fears (grounded in the reality of living in a non-accessible world) is being stuck, not being able to move, for pain, for wheelchair-inaccessible environments with stairs and thresholds. In ridiculous overcompensation, my life-path has been one of mobility, one that leaves me without a mortgage or permanent home, and one that means that I have a decade-long practice of taking occasional leave from my university to go gallivanting. But travel is not good news for stressed environments, and I know the ecological impacts of flights, and try to be mindful in my choices. 

Disability access still sucks, everywhere. My embedment in the privilege of white and child-free academia allows me funds to overcome barriers. And love, of course. The love of my partner, my friends, my Olimpias artist collective collaborators, all the many people with whom we play and who open up their homes, their trucks, their knowledge of secret lakes to us. I am glad to travel these days mainly with my collaborator and romantic partner – Stephanie is the smallest connective web outside my own bodymindspirit, and we’re weaving our world together, two fragile women, queercrip travellers who help each other through challenges. A few years ago, I said no to the life of the gigging scholar/artist and the multitude of plastic hotel rooms I sat in after the last rehearsal or performance or dinner, lonely and disconnected. I am taking seriously the charge to build my performance career as a sustainable thing, through and with travel, and I can do so by leaning always toward and into connection.

After all the travel, the point of the exercise is to live a rich life everywhere, including at home. So after weeks of adjusting to the particulars of beds, paths, and dietary options, we get to play out our new sensoria in familiar surroundings, at home. Suddenly, it’s February, and we stretch and touch ice crystals on Michigan trees. We trace paths in the sand of a beach on Lake Michigan, careful not to slip on the snow. I remember how easy and free that movement felt when I had just climbed out of a hot tub in the Sierra Nevadas, my bodymind warm and my blood bathing my achy joints. The memory helps my swing in the cold crispness of our riverside park in Ann Arbor. And in turn, the delicacy of ice sculptures makes me see the abandon of the Floridian sea with new appreciation, makes me think about the fish out there, and their journeys, the pathways of so many creatures who circle around the earth.

Mover and Witness

Stephanie: We water dance in the Florida pool with its plunging deep end and Atlantic waves in ear distance pounding the shore. Sunday ‘snowbirds’ lounge in afternoon siesta. Petra and I enter the pool, one couple in the shallow end share the space. We employ a practice from Authentic Movement that has become a staple in our investigations; we witness each other for timed movement sessions, the mover with eyes closed. Petra submerges, her body fluid and grace as she buoys the depths, limbs waft and carve the surrounding water. There is ease and delight as she changes pace and twists her knees in alternating tightropes to the bottom, surfacing with arms reaching to sky, water droplets streaming. I witness aware of my own impulses, certain moves she makes that my body wants to try on, aware of the difference between watching underwater and above water. As witness, my job is also to keep Petra safe, to make sure she isn’t in danger of running into the cement side or into another swimmer (in this case a moot concern as we now have the pool to ourselves). After five minutes we change roles, and I explore water’s range, lean into the sensation of held breath, bubbles out my nose as I go down, and the sweetness of inhale only to go under again. I enjoy the slight disorientation with my eyes closed, the lessened gravity and ability to freely go upside down and flip in ways uncomfortable to me on land. We do a couple more rounds and both comment on how much fun this is and wonder why we didn’t start sooner.

Our water dances are not ‘performed’ with an audience in mind. In this case, we did have some onlookers from the pool: found audience members. But usually it is simply Petra and myself in nature with many non-human participants such as birds, gecko, unfurling fern. At times, we are witnessed by the occasional human, such as the odd straggler who walks by while we are in our local botanical garden dancing with a young sapling on a trail. We are not in rehearsal for a presentation. The focus is on awareness in the moment, not on product. 

Nourishment and Manifestation

Petra: Our tendings provide nourishment for ourselves, for our relationship, for our engagement with our environment. And they also lead us toward manifestation. New audiencing procedures emerge from our tending practice. I am learning more and more about and through somatic writing, writing that accompanies bodily sensation. So after our daily five-minute dances in water, we trek home to the apartment, and take out notebook or computer. Freewrite time. Stephanie writes somatic vignettes which she later mines into poems. I am currently engaged in a fiction apprenticeship: I track my somatic states by pushing them into narrative scenarios. She writes about the raccoons swimming across the tidal channel in a straight line, making us laugh with their little white ears sticking up. In the same freewriting timeslot, I write about a group of women engaged in an aquafitness session in the long tidal zone of the beach — shallow waters with low breakers –marching together and finding each their own challenge and blessing in the sea. Both productions are nourished by the freedom of sensing, listening, smelling, tasting, touching in open form engagement with the elements of site. 

Toward Performance

There are other manifestations of our practices. In December 2016, we sent out an invite for an Olimpias action on the beach at Jupiter, Florida. This was our call, put out on social media: 

We’re going to have an Olimpias sound improvisation score on the beach, honoring the passing of experimental sound artist and queer elder Pauline Oliveros. Since Katy Peterson, Stephanie Heit and Petra Kuppers set this in motion, the tragedy in Oakland happened [2], so we’re also holding space to mourn the electronic musicians, dancers and lovers who died in the Ghost Ship. If you want to join us, with instruments, moving bodies, voices, or just your presence, just message. Action followed by an early dinner together. Free, dinner will be subsidized if you need it, let us know if you need particular access provisions as that will shape where we’ll meet exactly.

This was tending in a larger frame. We listened together, and then performed an open score improvisation in the rhythm of the waves crashing into the sand and rocks of Coral Cove State Park. In our ear was the chatter of a group of young students who visited the site with a warden, the susurration of wind on sand, the roiling of water lapping over itself in the hollows of the sandstone rocks, the (to us) non-audible sounds of conspicuous chiton mollusks who clung to rock niches, moving in non-human time. Out of these moments of deep listening, we created a song we sent outward, to help and honor the path of familiar creative spirits far away, into the hollows, toward the horizon.

Moment Awareness and Sustainability

These are some examples of public manifestations of our private, ongoing, everyday practices of tendings: writings, participatory actions, little calls to attention, shifts in bodyminds, through the sound practices of poetry, through the somatic engagement of performance workshops, through the narrative drives of fiction. 

Our first impetus is the moment itself. Our tendings are moment awareness work that nourishes attention and tends our senses. We hold space for the Open. We also pay attention to our avenues toward manifestation outside our private sphere. Our collaborative practice is sustainable as a partnership through differentiation as much as through collaboration. Each of us creates our own responses to the communally held actions, and, individually and communally, we find our audiences. Being in these flows, open creation and focused manifestation, nourishment and production, are the vital energies of our personal thriving. 

We live well when we swim, roll, dive and float. And we feel better when we find points of connection between our private play in the land and water and the wider world around us, a sociopolitical world that needs to see joy, embedment, disabled people finding their grace, and reaching out toward others to sit on the beach together, listening.


Stephanie Heit is a poet, dancer, and teacher of somatic writing, Contemplative Dance Practice, and Kundalini Yoga. She lives with bipolar disorder and is a member of the Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. The Color She Gave Gravity (The Operating System 2017) is her debut poetry collection, and her work most recently appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Typo, Streetnotes, Nerve Lantern, Queer Disability Anthology, Spoon Knife Anthology, Theatre Topics, and Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. She has been awarded residencies at Vandaler Forening in Oslo, Norway; The Thicket in Darien, Georgia; Tasmania College of the Arts and Parramatta Artists Studio in Australia. 

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and a Professor at the University of Michigan. She also teaches on the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. She leads The Olimpias, a performance research collective ( Her Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape (2011) explores arts-based research methods. Her Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction (2014) is full of practical exercises for classrooms and studios. Her most recent poetry book is PearlStitch (2016).  She has recently been awarded residencies at Vandaler Forening in Oslo, Norway; The Thicket in Darien, Georgia; Surel’s Place in Boise, Idaho; Tasmania College of the Arts and Parramatta Artists Studio in Australia. 

Queer Crip Speculative Fiction (Apprentice) site:


  1. The Olimpias has a long history of community art practice with disabled people in water, on land, in site-specific explorations. For more information about the Olimpias, see Kuppers, 2014, and, more recently, about the Salamander Project of underwater explorations, see Kuppers (2015 and forthcoming) and Karp and Block (forthcoming). See also Kafer about Olimpias minor outdoor actions in nature (2013: 143/44)
  2. A house fire on Dec. 2, 2016 at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland killed 36 people during an underground electronic music show. The resulting discussions highlighted the struggles of many people, including artists, in finding affordable and safe housing in gentrifying cities.


Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.

Karp, P. & Block P. (in press) We Float Together: Immersing OT Students in the Salamander Project. In Occupation Based Social Inclusion. (Eds. Brueggen, H., Kantartzis, S., and Pollard, N. Whiting and Birch, London, UK.

Kuppers, Petra. “‘Swimming with the Salamander: A community eco-performance project’ Performing Ethos, 5, no. 1/2 (2015): 119-135.

Kuppers, Petra. “Writing with the Salamander: An Ecopoetic Community Performance Project.” Field Works: Essays on Ecopoetics. University of Iowa Press, forthcoming.

Kuppers, Petra. Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape. Harmondsworth: Palgrave, 2014.

Olsen, Andrea; Bill McKibben, fwd., Caryn McHose: Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide. Middlebury, 2002.

SMT’s 2020 Residency Programs

The School of Making Thinking hosts Spring & Summer Intensives for qualified artists and thinkers to work alongside each other for one to three week sessions. We continually experiment with structure, approaches to programming, and alternative pedagogies. Our residents have included sound and performance artists, poets, philosophers, sculptors, painters, botanists, dancers, playwrights, filmmakers, video artists, documentarians, and historians, among other diverse practices.

The application deadline for our 2020 Residencies is February 7th @ 11:59pm.


April 22 – April 27, 2020
Krumville, NY
Tuition $300 | tuition and travel subsidies available

The iteration lab is an interdisciplinary session aimed at exploring what happens when a performative structure repeats and evolves with repetition.  Much like a scientist in a laboratory repeating an experiment but with slightly modified conditions, so too will our session function as residents will get the opportunity to repeat a structure of their choosing, supplementing, subtracting and modifying the structure as the session advances.  The iteration lab is a short, intensive session lasting only 4 days, each of which will be spent performing our given structure and being participants in the structures of the other residents.

What is a structure?  For this session a structure is anything that exists in space and time and can be repeatable.  It can be a performance, a conversation, a dance piece, a film scene, a movement practice, an immersive experience, an installation, a sculpture, or anything else.  It should be somewhat designed or planned, but the amount of design can be minimal at first. It must potentially involve all 8-9 participants of the session, but our roles can vary wildly.  It must last for only 30 minutes, and be able to repeat 4 times.

How will it work?  Each attendee will be responsible for coming to the session with a 30 minute structure already designed (or at least the first iteration).  We will arrive on Wednesday evening and briefly share our ideas and introduce one another. On our first day (Thursday), each resident will enact their structure and also participate in each other resident’s structure.  At the end of the day, residents will then deliberate about what elements within their structure they want to revise and adapt. For example: should the location change? Or perhaps the roles each participant has? Or perhaps the sequence?  The challenge is to adapt some aspects so the structure can bend and sway, but not too much such that the structure changes entirely. The events of day one will then repeat on Friday and Saturday. And then Sunday will be a final day of iteration.

Who should apply?  ​Ideally anyone whose practice involves other persons in its devising, design and creation.  This is a great opportunity to test out an idea for a performance or scene. Alternatively it could function as an opportunity to hold a conversation, debate or structured dialogue.  Or perhaps there is a relational, social or somatic practice that you want to tinker with. People from all backgrounds are welcome to apply including musicians, curators, academics, directors, dancers, film makers, playwrights, performers, social practice artists, writers, activists, cultural mediators, and educators.

The facilities: The Iteration Lab will take place in a small family farm near Kingston, NY.  Indoor spaces mostly include living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens – one of which is large enough to host somatic exercises or small performances.  Each resident will share a bedroom with 1-2 other residents. There are also ample woods, a large field, a creek, and an old church all of which can be used for this session. 


IMMERSION 4.0: VR Creation Lab

May 5 – May 28, 2020
Cucalorus, Wilmington, NC
Tuition $1250 *includes food, lodging and technical support for VR production | tuition and travel subsidies available 

Over the last three years, The School of Making Thinking has led the IMMERSION Lab in partnership with Cucalorus Film Festival and ARVR Consultants. The 360° video pieces that have emerged from the residency have been tremendous: work born of intensive collective experience, cutting edge technical support, focused idea incubation, and challenging conversations in community. 

This summer, The School of Making Thinking will run IMMERSION 4.0, our fourth iteration of our 360° video creation lab. The IMMERSION Lab is an opportunity to become acquainted with the emerging media of virtual reality (VR), build deep relationships in community, and develop methods of organizing creative projects in connection with social justice and peaceful futures.

Building on the belief that meaningful work is born out of a deep sensitivity for the context from which it emerges, we will immerse ourselves on every level. We will build group rapport through collective experiences, embodied workshops, intimate collaboration and co-mentorship of creative processes. We will engage the history of our surroundings through curated film screenings and readings, and encouraged micro research projects into Wilmington’s present and past. The tools of virtual reality have created a new space of exploration for the vanguard of immersive media and performance. Through our immersion, we engage the questions: What layers of historical, cultural, colonial, oppressive, personal and social fabrics map onto our movements in a space? How might we engage these realities actually, and virtually? As technologies evolve, how do artists adapt? 

The first week of the session will be focused on group and site introductions, as well as developing technical familiarity with the cameras and gear. In the second week, we will create 360° videos in chosen locations throughout the city. The third week will be devoted to post production of the video pieces created, culminating in a work-in-progress sharing of videos and any live projects. 

We are seeking participants who have capacity to engage in an intensive production schedule, interest in developing skills and familiarity with the emerging media of 360 video andVR, and a desire to work within local communities and contexts. Prior experience with 360° cameras and technology will not be required. Session participants will have access to 360° video capture cameras as well as technical support during the shooting and editing process. Please note that IMMERSION 4.0 has access to limited computer workstations, and participants should be prepared to work from their own machine if they have access to one. 

Pieces created at the residency will have the opportunity to exhibit at the VR Salon at the Cucalorus Film Festival in November 2020. Residents will be encouraged to return to Wilmington for the festival to participate as exhibiting artists.


BODIES, FIELDS, AND WAVES OF ATTUNEMENT: an experiment in collective tuning

May 18 – May 31, 2020
Rochester Folk Arts Guild, Middlesex, NY
Tuition $600 *includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available 

Beyond its musical connotations, tuning implicates an awareness, resonance and receptivity. Tones, waves, sounds, affects, bodies, perceptions, and being itself can be in tune or fall out of tune, can attune, retune, or detune. The concept of attunement features within a diversity of fields: sound and performance theory, somatics, environmental movements, existentialist philosophy, neuroscience, and contemporary healing practices. Throughout the session, attunement workshops and embodied practices will be offered to support residents to detune/retune/attune their work to personal, collective, and terrestrial ecologies. These themes will be explored alongside the unique glacial topographies of the Finger Lakes region, which will serve as the vibrant backdrop for both individual and collective artistic practice.  

Some of the questions this session will explore include: What is attunement? How do we choose what to attune to? What kind of focus is attunement? If tuning is more than musical, then what are its somatic, aesthetic, and relational modes? What are the limits of listening? Can we extend attunement strategies to non-human subjects and environments? How do art works re-attune to their changing contexts? How can micro-attunements be scaled to the macro? If our lives are patterned in accordance with prevailing ideologies, then what liberatory structures can we employ to loosen our habitual tunings?

Our session will begin with collaborative, interdisciplinary workshops which will serve as a mechanism of collective de/re/at-tunement. These workshops will intermix writing, moving, sounding and conversing, receiving inspiration from clowning, psychodrama, movement improvisation, and performance art. As the session continues, both residents and staff will continue this work of playing with collaborative means of de/re/at-tunement, integrating these processes into our own individual artistic production. While it is difficult to gauge precisely how this will look prior to our being together, we have created a brief poetic-imaginary document (HERE) that visions some of these processes.  

Our session is open to artists and thinkers of all mediums, but especially to individuals who find resonance with the aforementioned themes and methodologies. Residents should come into the session with a tentative, non-binding idea of a creative project they will work on, or a creative process they are interested in exploring. Our session will take place at The Rochester Folk Arts Guild in Middlesex, NY near the Finger Lakes region, named for a series of 11 long glacial lakes that resemble human hands. On the property itself, participants will have ample space to explore outside, as well as work in two indoor workshop spaces (movement friendly) and various smaller indoor spaces. There is access to wifi throughout the property, a pond to swim in, and an outdoor sauna.



August 1 – August 9, 2020
Community Forge and Christian Church-Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, PA
Tuition $400* 
*includes food and lodging | tuition and travel subsidies available | scholarships available for Pittsburgh-based applicants 

The demand for “more knowledge” is by now commonplace. It is not just our information-obsessed times. It is also a political and ethical conviction—articulated, and critiqued, by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick—that injustice comes from ignorance. And if that’s the case, what could be a more urgent task than to produce knowledge? 

And yet, do we really know what knowledge is? Can we actually “produce” knowledge? What does that even mean? Can this produced knowledge be stored? Shared? Transmitted? Replicated? Sold? Also, what exactly does this knowledge do? What, and who, is it good for?  

By this point, it’s clear to most of us that knowledge cannot be equated with information, and that learning and studying cannot be seen as merely a mental mapping of info-bits. When we deny the possibility of embodied, affective, artistic and spiritual knowledges, we deny these modes of being, these relations to the world. But what does it mean to pursue such activities as knowledge-acts? What techniques, stances, dramaturgies, styles, materials, bodies, and rhythms can we activate to produce knowledge-acts? And what kinds of knowledges would we want to produce exactly? 

The workshop will take the malleable, hybrid format of the lecture performance as its point of departure. Sharing materials, techniques, fears and aspirations, we will work together to develop a variety of tools for epistemic-aesthetic expression. No specific experience with either performance or lecturing is expected, and in fact we hope to see applications from a broad range of backgrounds: knowledge-acts are everywhere The work is interdisciplinary, expressing our urge to understand how performance techniques, a performative frame, and an active audience can shift and reinvigorate the way that knowledge is transmitted—how we can access the social, joyful, full-self side of knowing. 

This session extends the techniques and ideas developed over two years by the facilitators through a festival by the same name, produced in 2018 and 2019 at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City as an initiative by the students of the PhD Program in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Participants in the SMT summer session will have the opportunity to continue to develop their work at the Segal in the fall and perform their knowledge as part of the 2020 iteration of the festival. Festival participants receive dramaturgical support, rehearsal space, and a small project budget. More details and documentation here: Performing Knowledge 2018 and Performing Knowledge 2019.


Ecotopian Art amidst Climate Crisis: An Interview with Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Nikki Lindt

By Jena Pincott

An Ecotopian Lexicon is a book that introduces readers to 30 environmental loanwords “that should exist in English, but don’t.” These terms, intended to “help us imagine how to adapt and even flourish in the face of the socio-ecological adversity that characterizes the present moment and the future that awaits,” come from speculative fiction, activist subcultures, and other languages. The book contains artwork created in response to these loanwords, by fourteen artists from eleven countries. I spoke to co-editor Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and painter Nikki Lindt about the book, and the role of language and art in this time of climate crisis.

We live in an age of anxiety. Matthew, in the introduction you and Brent Ryan Bellamy write, “As the scale and fallout of climate change, ocean acidification, mass extinction and other processes become increasingly undeniable and unavoidable, we will need to change our cognitive maps of the world.” How can language – including and especially the words introduced in this lexicon – help ease some of our anxiety?

Matthew: Novel terms and concepts can help us acknowledge, understand, and respond to the changes that are happening around us. But I don’t know if they can – or should – ease people’s eco-anxieties. Most of these anxieties are generated by deep-seated structural problems – extractivism, capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, etc. We need to channel those anxieties into action. We hope that this book might help people find or develop the vocabulary to describe what’s happening and to move towards collective action to address these structural problems.

There’s another passage from the introduction that struck me: “‘Another world is possible’” is a worthy maxim, but without elaboration, it’s shrouded in mist.” We need to move from “knowing” another world is possible to “imagining” that world and how to create it; a shift from passive to active mode.  How can art help us make the leap?

Matthew: Art can help us see the world anew, which is what we need to be doing right now. It can also develop or crystallize feelings or desires. And art can remain with us for a long period of time – a lifetime, even. I remember seeing Nikki’s painting “Solastalgia” for the first time, and was deeply moved by the figure bowing down in a green field, her arms seemingly rooted to the ground. “World-opening” is the phrase that comes to mind. Art has that potential.

Nikki: I agree, art does have that potential and it can be very useful as the existential threat of the climate crisis is so overwhelming and scary. It is tempting to look away rather than face this reality. Many artists are good at getting at and digesting these kinds of uncomfortable nooks between human emotion and larger issues. It is really going to be the collective force of these kinds of projects that will help propel our thinking forward.

Some people see a connection between the loss of biological diversity and the loss of linguistic and cultural diversity. In nature, more species = greater resilience. In culture, the same seems to apply: We need every tool in our conceptual toolkit to cope with change and adversity. Fortunately, we have An Ecotopian Lexicon!  Ideally, how might some of the loanwords in the book start to propagate in Western culture?

Matthew: Some of the terms already have, such as “solastalgia,” which was coined by ecopsychologist Glenn Albrecht in the early 2000s and is now being used widely. We hope that these terms stimulate critical thought, creativity, and action, and of course it would be fun if some of them went on to become widely used. Language can be a playful way for people to think and talk about climate change and culture change. Ultimately the terms and ideas that resonate with people are the ones that will take root.

Sehnsucht, in the Midst by Nikki Lindt 

Nikki’s painting was inspired by the word “sehnsucht,” meaning (loosely) the experience of pining for something lost mixed with a hopeful anticipation of something better; somewhere between dystopia and utopia.  (The text by Andrew Hageman beautifully describes it, “like vision human beings get at dusk when the photoreceptors of their retinas toggle uncertainly. We may feel as if we can’t see what we expect to see clearly, yet new colors and contours come into view.”) You portray a figure at that “pivot point” between the void and the great green yonder. She seems to be blending with the void but her head is in the clear, and she appears to be looking up and outward. Is this you? Can you tell us what she’s feeling?  

Nikki: Yes, it is me! After I made the piece I realized the same as you; in the painting my head is in the clear while the rest of me is being pulled to the darkness. There is simultaneously a sense of balance between the two opposing forces but also definitely a struggle. 

Working on An Ecotopian Lexicon and collaborating with Matthew led to a change in my thinking, which in turn led to this piece. When I first joined this project I assumed my imagery would accompany “solastalgia,” a term (also in this book) that had been the subject of my work for years. Solastalgia describes the feeling of loss caused directly by environmental change. 

As I was reviewing the words that would be included in this book, I realized that many terms were completely up-ending my thinking and presenting me with a much wider and more nuanced view of the climate crisis, and I felt more hopeful.

I ultimately chose the term “sehnsucht,” because it mixed anticipation and hope with a deep sense of loss. The word itself transported me forward; for the first time it hit me that I could dare to tie hope to my view of the future of climate change. At that moment, I realized how valuable a tool the Ecotopian Lexicon really is. 

Can you tell us of an occasion in your fieldwork or research when you’ve felt sehnsucht?

Nikki: I have been traveling annually to northern Alaska to document the dramatically changing landscape due to thawing permafrost. The landscape is amazing, so vast and completely untamed. At the same time, in this very remote spot, the fingerprints of climate change are so extreme they take on a surreal quality. Last spring, I was returning to a site with a very large Thermokarst Failure (a sinkhole of the north) caused by melting ice and thawing permafrost. The site had already been monstrously large the year prior but had since doubled in size. Adult trees were dangling upside down into the craterlike hole and some of the fallen trees I had seen the year prior were now buried under hills of collapsing dirt. A large cavern directly in the permafrost had also been created by the thawing. I spent a long time standing in that cavern. I could see but also smell and hear the thawing of the layers of permafrost. The way wet permafrost shone in the light looked like slowly smelting metal. All of my senses were keenly aware of the horror I was witnessing but also its transcendent beauty. Around me, I heard bird songs; there was an undeniable insistence in the lush growth surrounding me. I was transfixed by the duality of such a deep sense of loss coupled with such a strong force of life – sehnsucht. 

What do you see as the upside to this feeling?

Nikki: I associate this feeling with the creative process. Contradictory feelings are especially interesting as they make you think about and continue to process a situation long after you have experienced it. 

Ideally, what do you hope a viewer might take away from your work, Sehnsucht, In the Midst?

Nikki: I would like a takeaway to be that it is okay to have conflicting feelings about a changing world. And since the changes are so extreme and fast, the feelings that go along can be very intense. But the opposing creative forces of life are also very intense. We will need to get more comfortable with these feelings in order to confront our situation in a proactive (productive) way. 

Dàtóng by Rirkrit Tiravanija 

The term “sehnsucht” is a great upgrade from, say, a clunky phrase like “melancholic optimism.” Because words shape our values and perceptions, some environmentalists have argued for replacing terms like “reserve” or “National Park” with language that is more inspirational or in keeping with environmental values (e.g. “National Sanctuary”). Is there a common environmental term (e.g. environmentalist, eco-activist, climate change) you’d like to replace with another from the lexicon or elsewhere?  

Matthew: Too many to list! I’ll say that I found Karen O’Brien and Ann Kristin Schorre’s entry on “ildsjel,” a Norwegian word that translates as “fire soul,” to be especially compelling. The terms that we use for activism and politics are so clinical – “activist,” “political actor,” even “change-maker.” If we want to tell a story of engagement, mobilization, and transition that is as inspiring and gratifying as any love story – that is its own kind of love story – we need more poetry. I like the idea of describing the people that make things happen as “ildsjel,” whose burning energy can spread and ignite a social and political conflagration. Change is nonlinear, and it’s helpful to have a word that acknowledges that fact.

Nikki: I found the entry on “apocalypso” in place of apocalypse to be very strong. I love the idea of replacing a word that relays a cataclysmic scenario leading to despair with “apocalypso,” a word which references the joys that working together in the face of a trying situation can bring.  

I also recently discovered the German word umwelt,” which describes the individual experience of the world from one human or animals’ point of view. Though I would want to expand the meaning to include all living things such as plants and trees. Our collective umwelt is really the puzzle of how we co-exist: A grand interlinked network of our shared experience with all living things on this planet.

The linguist has a role in tackling climate change and so does the artist. Nikki, what do you see as the role of the artist? What have you observed in your field?

Nikki: Art takes so many forms that it is hard to generalize, but I would say that artists can bind ideas and emotion together in order to engage people. Also, art is not tied to rules or conventions. There is a tremendous amount of freedom that is useful for reaching towards an unseen future.

The immensity of the problem paralyzes many of us or even makes us apathetic. How should we all keep ourselves awake and active?

Nikki: This problem really can feel paralyzing and this is a completely normal feeling to have. I would say it is important to find our own way of being part of a positive push forward. There are endless ways to get involved and we may even be surprised by how much better we feel once we do.

Matthew: The interconnected socio-environmental crises we face can be overwhelming, for sure. But there’s also a sense of possibility and opportunity, if we’re open to it. There’s literally an ongoing struggle for the future of the planet and humanity, and we have the opportunity to write and be part of a new script, to join with hundreds of millions of people around the world to do all we can to maintain a livable planet and create a better and more just future. It might not have been the life people expected, but there can be a deep sense of purpose, connection, and joy in choosing to be part of this movement in whatever way we can.


Jena Pincott is a science writer with a background in biology, and the author of eight books, including Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies: The Surprising Science of Pregnancyand Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes: The Science of Love, Sex & Attraction. She writes about science and psychology topics that fly under the radar, from microbes in breast milk to the mysteries of working memory; from the biology of attraction, in humans and other species, to the psychology of the inner critic; from cutting-edge developments in medical technology to the scientist-activists who are transforming women’s health and medicine. 


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Green Arts Annual Feedback Form

If you are a member of the Green Arts Initiative, then it’s time to complete the annual feedback form.

This lets us know what you think about our work, what you’ve been doing, and what you think our collective plans for the future should be. It only takes 15 minutes to complete, is vital for our work, and you could win prizes contributed by environmental artists.

You can complete the survey on Survey Monkey.

The post Green Arts Annual Feedback Form appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Hosted by Emory University, Theater Emory, and The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory, Atlanta, Georgia

First Place Award: Cash prize and professional production

Second Place Award: Cash prize and possible workshop production or concert reading

Honorable Mentions: Public reading

Deadline for submission: August 31st, 2020. (See below for EMOS Guidelines, and instructions.)

The Earth Matters on Stage (EMOS) Ecodrama Playwrights Festival was founded in 2004 by Theresa May and Larry Fried in order to call forth and foster new dramatic works that respond to the ecological crisis, and, as part of that response, to explore new possibilities of being in relationship with the more-than-human world. EMOS calls for new plays that not only focus on current and historic environmental issues, but also looks for plays that enliven and transform our experience of the world around us, that inspire us to listen better, and instill a deeper or more complex sense of our ecological communities. If your play does any of these things, send it to us!

The EMOS Festival includes workshop performance(s) of the winning script(s), play readings, talkbacks and discussions of the scripts that are finalists in the Ecodrama Playwrights’ Contest. The concurrent symposium will include speakers, panels, practice-based workshops, and discussions that advance scholarship in the area of arts, ecology and climate change, and help foster development of new works. EMOS has been hosted by producing institutions across the U.S. including Humboldt State/Del Arte Theatre (2004); Univ. of Oregon (2009); Carnegie Mellon University (2012); Univ. of Nevada-Reno (2015); Univ. of Alaska-Anchorage (2018).

Guidelines[1] for Playwrights

Scripts must be original works which have not been published and have not had an Equity or full professional premiere production. (Readings or informal workshop productions are okay.)

 In general, we are looking for plays that do one or more of the following:

  • Engage the personal, local, regional and/or global implications of man-made climate change.
  • Put an ecological issue or environmental event/crisis at the center of the dramatic action or theme of the play.
  • Critique or satirize patterns of exploitation, consumption, or other ingrained values that are ecologically unsustainable.
  • Expose and illuminate issues of environmental justice.
  • Explore the relationship between sustainability, community, and cultural diversity.
  • Interpret community to include our ecological community; give voice or character to the land, or elements of the land; theatrically examine the reciprocal relationship between human, animal and plant communities; and/or the connection between people and place, human and non-human, culture and nature.
  • Grow out of the playwright’s personal relationship to the land and the ecology of a specific place.
  • Celebrate the joy of the ecological world in which humans participate.
  • Offer an imagined world view that illuminates our ecological condition or reflects on the ecological crisis from a unique cultural or philosophical perspective.
  • Are written specifically to be performed in an unorthodox venue such as a natural or environmental setting, and for which that setting is a not merely a backdrop, but an integral part of the intention of the play.

EMOS 2021 hosted by Emory University specifically encourages submissions which also:

  • Engage with cultural and social impacts of man-made climate change.
  • Offer or complicate ideas of urban resilience.
  • Expose and/or grapple with environmental in/justice.
  • Expose and/or grapple with ecological violence and/or “slow violence.”
  • Examine ecological/climate/environmental justice issues specific to the Southeast United States.

Submission Process

We are looking for full-length plays that are written primarily (though not necessarily exclusively) in English. Submitted plays should address the thematic guidelines as listed above. Deadline: August 31st, 2020.

Please note: we will NOT consider:

  • ten-minute plays
  • one-act plays (unless they are longer than 30 minutes in length)
  • musicals (though we love them, we cannot financially accommodate their production for this festival!)

We are only accepting electronic submissions in PDF format. Please do not submit paper manuscripts, as they will not be considered.

Submission Instructions: 

  1. Submissions are online. Go to
  2. If you are a first-time user of Judgify, create a profile by clicking the link underneath the “submit an entry” button.
  3. Upload a PDF copy of your script with NO IDENTIFYING MARKS (beyond the play’s title).

Submissions due by August 31, 2020.

Evaluation Process

A Reading Committee composed of theatre professionals and Emory University students will read and evaluate each script in relation to the guidelines above, as well as theatricality, and overall quality. Each play will receive evaluation from a minimum of 2 readers. Highly-scored plays from the first round will be read again by the Reading Committee until a short list of 5 finalists are determined.

Those five plays will be read in a blind process by a panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada and the artistic director of Theatre Emory, who will choose the winning plays from five final scripts. Our 2021 judges will be announced soon. 

Past EMOS judges have included: Robert Schenkkan, playwright; Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL; José Cruz González, playwright; Ellen McLaughlin, playwright; Timothy Bond, Director, Head of PATP, University of Washington; Olga Sanchez, former Artistic Director, Teatro Milagro, Portland, OR; Diane Glancy, playwright; Marie Clements, playwright, British Columbia; Rob Koon, Chicago Dramatist Guild; Wendy Arons, dramaturg Carnegie Mellon Univ; Alison Carey, Director, American Revolutions, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Chantal Bilodeau, Arctic Cycle; Randy Reinholz, Artistic Director, Native Voices at the Autry; Jonathon Taylor, EMOS 2015 Chair; Larry Fried, EMOS co-founder; Theresa May, EMOS Artistic Director; Brian Cook, EMOS Managing Director.

Past EMOS Winners

2017 – Rain and Zoe Save the World by Crystal Skillman

In Rain and Zoe Save the World, two Seattle teenagers embark on an impulsive motorcycle journey to join a group of oil protesters on the east coast. But as they follow a major pipeline across the country, what began as two young activists’ longing to belong to something greater than themselves gives way to Rain and Zoe discovering that the true danger in this world might just be growing up.

Produced by Brian Cook, University of Alaska, EMOS 2017

2015 – Thirst by MEH Lewis & Anita Chandwaney 

In an “untouchable” Indian village crippled by drought, an intrepid young reporter investigates the corrupt water delivery system. But when her sister suddenly disappears, the investigation becomes personal.

Produced by Jonathon Taylor at University of Nevada Reno, EMOS 2015.

2012 – Sila, the first play of The Arctic Cycle, by Chantal Bilodeau

A climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard Officers, an Inuit Elder, and a polar bear—see their values challenged as their lives become intricately intertwined. Sila received its premiere in a joint production of the Underground Railway Theatre and Center Square Theatre, Boston, in 2015, and was recently published by Talon Books.

Produced by Wendy Arons at Carnegie Mellon University, EMOS 2012.

2009 – Song of Extinction, by EM Lewis

A musically talented teen and his father whose mother/wife is dying come to understand the deeper meanings of extinction from a Cambodian science teacher. Song of Extinction premiered at the Moving Arts Theatre in Los Angeles and was recently published by Samuel French.

Produced by Theresa May at University of Oregon, EMOS 2009.

2004 – Odin’s Horse, by Chicago playwright Rob Koon

A writer learns something about integrity from a tree sitter and a lumber company executive, went on to premier in Chicago in 2006.

Produced by Theresa May and Larry Fried at Humboldt State University, EMOS 2004.


For inquiries about script submissions contact Chantal Bilodeau at

For inquiries about EMOS 2021 contact Lydia Fort, EMOS 2021 Chair, at

General questions, or interested in future hosting, contact EMOS Artistic Director, Theresa May, and/or EMOS Managing Director, Brian Cook

Theresa May, MFA/PhD
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for Theatre Arts
University of Oregon

[1] Guidelines copyright Theresa May 2004, 2019, EMOS position paper, 2004.  Reprint or excerption only with permission and citation.