Monthly Archives: May 2021

Three Questions for Rulan Tangen, Part II

By Biborka Beres

CLIMATE VISION

This is the second part of a three-part interview with Rulan Tangen, founder of Dancing Earth. You can read Part I here.

Do you have a climate vision? Is there an overall message you would like to convey with your dances?

I started with a creative, intercultural vision. Now I listen for what wants and needs to be spoken at this time. Right now, we’re understanding this through the lens of the climate crisis. People of color across the globe, most particularly Indigenous Peoples, have already seen the destruction of their way of life and suffered cultural devastation. 1492 is a pretty good starting date for that. Since then, we’ve been doing our best to adapt and be resilient. That includes people of the Pacific archipelago, the archipelago known colonially as the Pacific Islands – my mother’s people and ancestors. 

People who are surrounded by water are incredibly vulnerable. On my father’s side, the lineage goes to Norway and Ireland. One could say that in Europe, oppression – in the form of witch trials that silenced women and crushed their intuition – started  even before 1492. What is now the climate crisis comes from these attacks on all these different ways of knowing and being in relation to the natural world. 

Photo by AMT Productions

So, when you ask about my vision, it’s a huge question. What is the overall message? It is pluralistic, adaptive, resilient, and I can see three principles that have come through since we began working.

These principles will continue to move us, even though Dancing Earth is transforming right now due to COVID and the recent calls for social justice that ask who gets to use the term “Indigenous.” We’re transforming to meet these questions in the most responsible way, while honoring the gifts that we all have to give, including my own. Certain things might fall away, but what I believe will continue is the origins of me laying in a hospital bed, hoping there would be three principles.

One of these principles is that all of life is connected. We’re all part of this life force, this ecosystem. We can see it in the first 10 years of our dances, when we were dancing more often in the form of plants or the four elements than in the form of  human beings. This was to deepen our understanding of the life force that is in all. We often get caught in our human stories and our personal stories, which are important, but I was drawn to how we can embody the wind as a force of change, for example, and how that manifests in a human way. I thought I understood that all forms of art and life are connected when I was 20 – and then a year later, 10 years later, 15 years later, that understanding gets deeper and deeper. What you do and why, who’s involved, how you’re involving them…. Understanding that is a life’s journey.

The second principle for making our work is that beauty should be created out of whatever we have. I went into dancing looking for what I had experienced in my career being a full-time, paid dancer, in a grid studio, touring the world. I wanted these opportunities for everyone. With Dancing Earth, it was more like: okay, we don’t have a dance studio, we’re dancing in the parking lot. Or: we don’t have money for costumes, so I’m going to cut up little t-shirts and we’re going to look at forms and designs that come from the dancers, from pre-colonial, pre-Colombian ancestors, and cut up these little t-shirts and paint them in those forms, reclaiming those designs. 

The idea that what we have is enough is huge. It means thinking, “Oh, if only we could have real costumes”, and then starting to understand this lack as being eco-conscious. It was through the water theme, which was initially given to me by Oddish Navi grandmothers, that I found out about the toxicity of the fashion world. I’d been wearing secondhand clothes all my life. I love beauty. I love lines. I love colors. Yet, I aspired for something better. Then I realized that there was nothing better than not producing waste and not being greedy.

The interesting thing about dance is that it’s the one thing you can always do; I was dancing in the hospital bed with just my fingers. Because it’s with your body, it is the most basic, but also the most collaborative art form. It can involve music and poetry, costuming and architecture in the form of set design and lighting. Our dances can include food offerings and interactivity: people make little balls out of clay filled with wildflower seeds that get thrown. These seeds grow into wildflowers that attract butterflies and bees, which bring pollen the next season to create food.

The third very important principle, which is related to the first two, is that diversity is how we can thrive. Diversity and inclusion. They’re big buzzwords right now, and that’s good. Many creatives working at the grassroots level, who were under-recognized before, have now received some recognition. But for years, we didn’t even have food or funds to pay dancers. We met farmers who gave us food and showed us how plants grow together, and these became choreographies we honored the farmers with. The ways that marginalized artist groups create and adapt might become models. I’m interested in what brings us together, what the rhythm is. Whether it’s the rhythm of the moon or the heartbeat. And I am just as interested in what makes us different. The version that I as a choreographer often enjoy of what’s called unison movement is very different from what it is in my trained dance background, which, at its peak, is people of the same height, with the same body type moving at the same moment in the same gesture. That’s incredible and wonderful to see on a big scale. But I’m also interested in seeing the way grass moves with the wind, where it’s a little different with each blade of grass. Sometimes that might look a little messy to someone who is looking for something very precise. 

In fact, we’ll be shifting how we describe Dancing Earth to call it intercultural. This is to include native, global Indigenous, and mixed cultures that aren’t recognized as Indigenous by any federal institution. It is to acknowledge self-definition of peoples with relationships and creation stories connected to land and waters, whether they’re called Indigenous or not, and people who are disconnected from those stories. 

Photo by Paulo T. Photography

You mentioned life force and that everything is life. Is climate change, in that sense, this life force turning on itself? Since there is so much destruction…

Some of it is overproduction. That’s greed-based. How we counter greed is by understanding that what we have is enough. How do we counter overproduction? That’s at the expense of diversity. We want a certain kind of thing. We get rid of all of these trees because we want that thing only. How can we do that if we respect each form of life? There’s scarcity and suffering from some because others have too much. That is a basic imbalance. 

I think there’s power in telling the truths of what has happened to our communities. I remember hearing about fracking, but then a Canadian dancer came in to say, this is what’s happened in our community because of it. Wealth comes, but suddenly people are sick and we don’t have water from the tap anymore. To hear that  moves us from the intellectual sphere, from knowing that this seems wrong, to the heart and the spirit and the body, towards a visceral response. 

Interestingly, that’s not the part Elders want me to share through dance. They’re like, yeah, if the young people need to tell that. But we know that part. We’re living it, we’re suffering from it. What is needed is hope and remembering the beauty, the balance, the way of diversity and respect, the way of kindness and welcoming. We have so much energy for what we are against. But when it’s time to articulate what we are for, it’s harder. That’s where dance can be very, very powerful. 

Photo by Paulo T. Photography

There are so many different strategies of artistic creation, whether or not we use words. And if we do, what languages are they in? I actually love dance because of what it says in our minds. We work in imagery and feeling and sensation. Abstractions and approximations. The minute you use words, it all becomes very precise. In a way, dance is the transmission of energy in everything that’s missing. When you receive through certain kinds of witnessing of dance, it’s like an energy wave goes through you. You search for words. It’s beautiful. 

Then, there’s the power of visual imagery. It sticks with me. I dream about it. It’s imprinting. And when you need something specific, when a very specific theme has been given to you, then you have to use words to translate it. And if you’re with a primarily English speaking audience, you might choose English. Or, with our Southwest group, there were multiple languages. Those languages were integrated into the soundscape, and our bodies became interpreters. We were literally a large embodied sign language moving those images into specific forms for a more focused message.

That resonates a lot with me, with how I found dance. I’ve been moving a lot from words and theory to embodiment, and it’s an ongoing process for sure. I don’t think it’s about losing either words or body, but about their coexistence and incorporating them into each other.

I seem to always think in binary: “I’m in the head too much”, “I’m only in the body, I don’t do this intellectually”… We can pull all those together. This integration, this weaving together is actually a really potent area for new ways of understanding the world.

Even then I feel like I’m only understanding the theory I learned in the beginning of my studies through embodiment. 

There are times when the overall message you want to convey comes from the vision, intellectual concept, or stories that have been shared. Then, there’s this other entity that is hard to describe because it’s beyond words. It is a way of knowing and understanding that actually comes in through the physical process. Sometimes we don’t know what to do with that. We ask ourselves, “How is this even relevant?” What I keep saying is to trust our intuition and to trust our bodies, and we’ll find ways to bring it forth. It often finds its way into a ritual. And a week later in a dream, or a month later, or 10 years later, we find out what that thing was.

Many people around the world have origin stories that trace back to the stars. In recent years, science has caught up to this way of knowing that has been transmitted through beautiful stories – stories that were easy to remember because they were so compelling. All of life on earth comes from the heart of dying stars. We’re literally made from the carbon of stars. That’s another manifestation of how we are all related – through stardust. So, the stories, right? The stories were actually true; they were not mythology. They’re a way of knowing. Now we can say: here’s the science behind them. The stories do not just have to do with the past, but with allowing our bodies and imaginations to be conduits for intuition. Because they may be a way of conveying knowledge that we can’t get from any other source.

In the third part of this interview, we discuss the relationship between dance and science. 

(Top image: Rulan Tangen, Photo by Joe McNally.)

______________________________

Biborka Beres is a senior student at Bennington College in Vermont, USA, studying dance, drama and philosophy. Her interests and works lie at the intersection of socio-political change and the performing arts. In her interviews for the Artists & Climate Change blog, she is continuing her process of exploring how the arts can create models, practices and imaginary worlds which allow humans to coexist peacefully with nature and with each other.

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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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Conscient Podcast: e33 toscano

It’s artists who not only can craft a good story, but also we can tell the story that’s the hardest to tell and that is the story about the impacts of climate solutions. So it’s really not too hard to talk about the impacts of climate change, and I see people when they speak. They go through the laundry list of all the horrors that are upon us and they don’t realize it, but they’re actually closing people’s minds, closing people down because they’re getting overwhelmed. It’s not that we shouldn’t talk about the impacts, but it’s so helpful to talk about a single impact, maybe how it affects people locally, but then talk about how the world will be different when we enact these changes. And how do you tell a story that gets to that? Because that gets people engaged and excited because you’re then telling this story about what we’re fighting for, not what we’re fighting against. And that is where the energy is in a story.

peterson toscano, conscient podcast, april 13, 2021, south africa

Peterson Toscano describes himself as a quirky queer quaker performance artist and scholar. I know him as an excellent communicator about art and climate change through his https://citizensclimatelobby.org/category/citizens-climate-radio/ podcasts (including the insightful ArtHousesegment – keep an ear out for an episode featuring me during summer of 2021), which I listen to regularly. His work humorously explores a wide range of serious topics including LGBTQ+ issues, sexism, racism, privilege, gender, and climate change. Peterson is also a recognized scholar who has highlighted gender variance in the Bible among others. Interesting, Peterson does not consider himself to be an environmentalist, rather he states that is concerned about climate change as a human rights issue. I think he’s a gifted communicator who has a lot to say. 

As I am doing with all episodes in season 2, I integrated excerpts from e19 reality into this episode as interludes.

I would like to thank Peterson for his deep commitment to intelligent and sensitive art and climate change advocacy, his wicked sense of humour and generosity of spirit.  

For more information on Peterson’s work, see https://petersontoscano.com/ and YouTube videos 

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(traduction)

Ce sont les artistes qui peuvent non seulement élaborer une bonne histoire, mais aussi raconter l’histoire la plus difficile à raconter, à savoir l’histoire des impacts des solutions climatiques. Il n’est donc pas très difficile de parler des impacts du changement climatique, et je vois des gens qui, lorsqu’ils prennent la parole, dressent la liste de toutes les horreurs qui nous attendent, sans s’en rendre compte, mais ils ferment en fait l’esprit des gens, ils les rejettent parce qu’ils sont dépassés. Et ce n’est pas que nous ne devrions pas parler des impacts, mais il est tellement utile de parler d’un seul impact, peut-être de la façon dont il affecte les gens localement, mais ensuite de parler de la façon dont le monde sera différent lorsque nous mettrons en œuvre ces changements. Et comment raconter une histoire qui va dans ce sens ? Parce que cela suscite l’engagement et l’enthousiasme des gens, car vous racontez alors cette histoire sur ce pour quoi nous nous battons, et non sur ce contre quoi nous nous battons. Et c’est là que se trouve l’énergie dans une histoire.

peterson toscano, balado conscient, 13 avril 2021, afrique du sud

Peterson Toscano se décrit comme un artiste de performance et un universitaire quaker excentrique. Je le connais comme un excellent communicateur sur l’art et le changement climatique grace à ses balados sur https://citizensclimatelobby.org/category/citizens-climate-radio/  (dont le segment ArtHouse, très perspicace – restez à l’affût d’un épisode dans lequel je serai présent durant l’été 2021), que j’écoute régulièrement. Son travail explore avec humour un large éventail de sujets sérieux, notamment les questions LGBTQ+, le sexisme, le racisme, les privilèges, le genre et le changement climatique. Peterson est également un érudit reconnu qui a mis en évidence la variance du genre dans la Bible, entre autres. Il est intéressant de noter que Peterson ne se considère pas comme un environnementaliste, mais qu’il se dit plutôt préoccupé par le changement climatique en tant que question de droits de l’homme. Je pense que c’est un communicateur doué qui a beaucoup à dire. 

Comme je le fais pour tous les épisodes de la saison 2, j’ai intégré des extraits de e19 reality dans cet épisode comme interludes.

Je tiens à remercier Peterson pour son engagement profond en faveur d’un art intelligent et sensible et de la défense du changement climatique, pour son sens de l’humour piquant et pour sa générosité d’esprit.  

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Peterson, voir https://petersontoscano.com/ et les vidéos YouTube

The post e33 toscano appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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Three Questions for Rulan Tangen, Part I

By Biborka Beres

RITUAL

Rulan Tangen is the founding artistic director of Dancing Earth, a company that creates contemporary dance and related arts through Indigenous and intra-cultural relationships centered in ecological and cultural diversity. Dancing Earth collaborates with artists, farmers, cultural advisors, and activists. They create eco-dance productions under the guidance of Elders who suggest appropriate themes – such as diversity or sacred land and water – that support the health and wellness of all people and the planet.

This is Part I or a three-part interview.

The word ritual came up a lot when I was discovering your work. Are rituals important to you? How do they relate to the mission of protecting the climate and the Earth?

I want to thank you for the opportunity to bring another texture to the story of myself and Dancing Earth. The origin story does have a lot to do with ritual. Any roots and seeds lead to a particular moment in time.

You can say that the origins of dancing go back to when I was born, or before that. At a fairly young age, I went through a stage 4 battle with cancer. It was quite likely due to living in poor environmental conditions, which are part of the legacy for marginalized people of color. I wasn’t aware of all of that; I was just trying to live. In a sense, Dancing Earth was a vision of a ritual of everyday gratitude for my life.

Who I wanted to have as the first circle of beneficiaries were people who had incredible talent and vision and ways of knowing, but who did not have opportunity or access to the performing arts. These were people I had met in my career dancing and teaching in many places, including in rural reservations. They were Native Americans and global Indigenous people, including mixed people with these heritages. The performing arts can be a conduit for visibility, but I hadn’t stepped forward to do that fully because of so many protections around what can be shared. 

A few years before the cancer journey, a woman from the Lakota Nation who had adopted me – my adopted grandmother – gave me permission to move forward with certain things. We had conversations about what would be relevant to share, so it’s almost like the cancer journey became an incubation period. Then, some of the young kids who had been students were ready to make this their full-time vocation. 

As far as ritual goes, what I was bringing in was the idea of taking responsibility as contemporary, modern-day people, to create rituals relevant to this moment. There have always been ceremonial songs and dances, visual imagery and oratory that would come together to form rituals of transformation – these are the origins of theatre in all cultures. Some of the participants in the group were part of cultures that had retained this direct connection, and others were revitalizing it. But when we come together as an inter-tribal or intercultural group, there are many ceremonies which are not appropriate to share; they are made for a particular group that share a language and a geography or season.

Walking at the Edge of Water, 2012-13. Photo by Paulo T. Photography.

For example, one of the first dancers in the company is also an accomplished violinist. We had to think about evolving a form that didn’t necessarily have a European influence, since that had been so heavily prioritized. I myself was blessed to have a career in ballet and modern dance, but I wanted to consider whether it was these forms that needed to be on stage. Should they be in a circle? With a violin, we were looking at references to ancient string instruments and found that they represent the wind. The violinist first portrayed a whirlwind, which was circular, and it brought out his Capoeira proficiency; his mother comes from a line of Brazilian Indigenous people from the Amazons. Capoeira is part of his cultural and creative heritage. The sound of the violin was considered a representation of this whirlwind, which is a conduit for change. Like this, we went deeper into why and how we were bringing certain things into the creative process.

In every dance I ever made, where artists come together, is what I call sacred space. That space of creation and visioning brings in something that doesn’t exist yet, even if it’s a known art form or a story being retold. It also brings in a plurality of perspectives where everybody is valued and respected. 

I want to be conscious of the fact that there are ceremonies which still exist and have existed for thousands of years – and often what they need is protection. On the other hand, things come up that need a statement. We brought our water dances to various protests. Very different thinkers and performance artists have applied the word ritual to things like brushing your teeth every day. It carries a sense of openness towards the idea of a ritual, but we certainly invest in our rituals with the intention of transformation, including of the people who witness or participate. 

Photo by Paulo T. Photography.

The word ritual is quite open-ended, and could be considered an invitation.

Yes, invitation and openness are very centered in my work. I wanted Dancing Earth to be respectful, cautious, and protective – waiting for permissions or taking gentle steps. I was a successful dancer working in New York and around the world. I was happy being a conduit for other’s visions. If anything, I was too intimidated to create choreography or to be a director. Then, when I went through that life-changing battle, I couldn’t dance. I could barely move. I was no longer able to be a conduit, but I definitely had dreams. When I share those with others, they become choreography and direction. Yet, I am still being a conduit for something greater than myself – there’s definitely something coming through me. It is shaped by me because it’s choosing my body to flow through. When we come in the circle, we always have a sense of what is in the middle and wants to be birthed through our process.

Is this a different source than someone else? Maybe a collective thing, or something non-human?

That’s a great question. We’ve been creating for 17 years, so there are many variations to this.

For me, it was coming through an intangible way of relating to the tangible. It’s about understanding life on Earth. It’s not about some other realm, but about the spirit and force that is in all of life. Variations – particular images or glimpses of that – would come through me and I’d bring them into the circle for other people to respond. 

When we started, we didn’t have a shared movement language. No school told us, here’s how to move. I had received 10,000 hours of training with a particular group to get to that perfect, refined choreographic language. There was a bit of an urgency – I had been given life for who knows how long. 

Seeds Regeneration, 2019. Photo by Paulo T. Photography.

After a few years, there were a surprising and continued number of instances when Native Elders, specifically grandmothers from the Anishinaabe nation,  or a man who had a group from inter-tribal Southwestern nations, would come to us and say, “What you’re doing is important because it’s a way to transmit messages. Here’s a message we have. It is really important. Could you take that and make dances?” In one case, it was about water; in another, about seeds and plants, and how we make food. Each one of those dances has lasted and continues to impact our work. These aren’t projects that are ever done. It feels very different when someone gifts me with a story. They are not always stories that I need to tell, but themes that are given for which I hold respect. Often, they are given because they need to reach far and wide. In other cases I am asked to present them there, in the community, with the youth and Elders, with a particular language group. Afterwards, I can let them go to other places and each of those places and peoples can receive those themes and respond in their own ways. At Dancing Earth, we have a responsibility when we’ve been trusted to carry these stories. 

Seeds Regeneration, 2019. Photo by Paulo T. Photography.

What you’re saying reminds me of movement, not only movement itself as a dance in some form, but also how the form moves, shifts, and changes.

You have just scratched upon a theme that came out of our work, which I call MOMB, like womb: the movement of movement building. Our first workshops when we recognized this notion were in the Bay area. Sometimes you do things for years and then you realize there’s a pattern and you give the pattern a name. We got the movement of movement building from the different practices and processes that we as artists, humans, and humanists come up with: ways to bring our message forward and adapt that message so it is relevant to every place, time, and people. It shifts like water. Our choreographic motifs come from very specific stories or socio-political intentions. There’s a relationship between what we present on stage in full ritual, and the qualities of light and timing and music. Then we take some of that same material and it morphs and changes for an action against pipelines on the steps of the Capitol, for example. They’re all different tactics towards an energy shift.

Thank you, Rulan.

In the second part of this interview, we discuss Rulan’s climate vision.

(Top image: Rulan Tangen, founder of Dancing Earth.)

______________________________

Biborka Beres is a senior student at Bennington College in Vermont, USA, studying dance, drama and philosophy. Her interests and works lie at the intersection of socio-political change and the performing arts. In her interviews for the Artists & Climate Change blog, she is continuing her process of exploring how the arts can create models, practices and imaginary worlds which allow humans to coexist peacefully with nature and with each other.

———-

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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Conscient Podcast: é32 tsou

L’engagement des citoyens est nécessaire pour le changement culturel autour des actions climatiques. C’est vraiment un changement culturel dans n’importe quel milieu. Quand on veut faire des grands changements systémiques, il faut changer la culture, et les arts et la culture sont des bons outils pour changer la culture.

shuni tsou, balado conscient, 24 avril, 2021, Ottawa

Shuni Tsou est une fonctionnaire passionnée, spécialisée dans le domaine de la culture, qui trouve la magie des arts dans la nature et les moments ordinaires de la vie. Élevée à Taïwan, Shuni a commencé son voyage à travers le monde en tant que musicienne itinérante à l’âge de 14 ans, s’est plongée dans l’étude des collaborations artistiques interculturelles au Royaume-Uni et aux États-Unis, et a consacré la dernière décennie à la promotion et à la démocratisation des arts au Canada et ailleurs.

J’ai rencontré Shuni lorsqu’elle travaillait au Conseil des arts du Canada en tant qu’agente des politiques et de la planification et agente de programme au Bureau de l’équité. Elle travaille maintenant comme conseillère en diplomatie culturelle à Affaires mondiales Canada. Shuni a un esprit vif et un cœur tendre. Je suis heureux qu’elle ait accepté mon invitation à partager ses réflexions sur notre intérêt commun pour les arts, l’environnement et la justice sociale.

Le samedi 24 avril 2021, dans le parc Richelieu Vanier à Ottawa, Shuni et moi avons échangé sur l’engagement des citoyens, l’action culturelle, la crise écologique, l’éducation artistique, la justice sociale, les changements systémiques, l’équité, etc. 

Je remercie Shuni pour sa générosité, sa sensibilité et son engagement indéfectible envers la culture et l’environnement. 

Vous trouverez de plus amples informations sur Shuni à https://www.linkedin.com/in/shuni-tsou-1b0a9416a/

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é32 tsou (translation)

Citizen engagement is what is needed for cultural change around climate action. It’s really a cultural shift in any setting. When you want to make big systemic changes, you have to change the culture and arts and culture are good tools to change the culture.

shuni tsou, conscient podcast, april 24, 2021, ottawa

Shuni Tsou is a passionate civil servant specialized in the field of culture who finds the magic of arts in nature and life’s ordinary moments. Brought up in Taiwan, Shuni started her globe hopping journey as a touring musician at age 14, delved into the studies of intercultural arts collaborations in the UK and US, and dedicated the past decade in promoting and democratizing the arts in Canada and beyond. 

I met Shuni while she was at Canada Council for the Arts as Policy and Planning Officer and Program Officer in the Equity Office. She now works as Cultural Diplomacy Advisor at Global Affairs Canada. Shuni has a sharp mind and a kind heart. I was pleased that she accepted my invitation to share her insights about our shared interest for arts, environment, and social justice.

On Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Ottawa’s Richelieu Vanier Park, Shuni and I discussed citizen engagement, cultural action, the ecological crisis, arts education, social justice, systemic change, equity, and more. 

I thank Shuni for her generosity, sensitivity and unwavering commitment to culture and the environment. 

More information about Shuni can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shuni-tsou-1b0a9416a/

The post é32 tsou appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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Centre for Sustainable Curating Launch Event

We would like to invite you to join us on May 27, from 1-5pm EST for the launch of the Centre for Sustainable Curating.

The Centre for Sustainable Curating is located in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University. The CSC encourages research into waste, pollution, and climate crisis, and the development of exhibitions and artworks with low carbon footprints.

Over the next year, the CSC will engage in a year-long visioning exercise to imagine, collaborate, and discuss the ways we can take seriously the goal of the Centre to be sustainable in all ways: that is, sustainable in teaching about best ecological practices for exhibition making, sustainable in how we might engage with the world around us, and sustainable in the outcomes built through our efforts.

At the launch event, we will introduce the Centre, including the work of the two inaugural postdocs. A panel will consider Radical Pedagogy and Curation, focusing on the expansive forms of teaching and learning that can take place in museum and exhibition spaces. And we will conclude with a second launch, that of the Synthetic Collective’s catalogue Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide For Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions.

REGISTER HERE

Schedule
1-1:45pm — Intro to the CSC by Kirsty Robertson and Kelly Wood with presentations by CSC postdocs Zoë Heyn-Jones and Amanda White
1:45-2pm – Break
2-3:45pm — Curating and Radical Pedagogy (Christiana Abraham, Christina Battle, Eugenia Kisin, Gabby Moser, Ryan Rice), hosted by Sarah E.K. Smith
3:45-4pm – Break
4-5pm — Launch of Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide For Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions, Synthetic Collective with artists Christina Battle and Lan Tuazon

Learn more about the CSC here: www.sustainablecurating.ca

Opportunity: Alchemy Film & Arts seeks new trustees

Alchemy Film & Arts are seeking energetic and engaged individuals to join our Board as trustees.

We are looking for up to three trustees, including a new chair, who can bring new perspectives to our organisation. We are particularly (but not exclusively) looking for candidates with experience in:

  • Cultural management
  • Fundraising (especially in the cultural sector)
  • Artistic/filmmaking practice
  • Higher education (especially in applied learning contexts)
  • Accountancy
  • Law

We welcome applications from candidates who have no previous experience at the Board level and recognise that many representatives of our wider community have been excluded from such opportunities in the past. We are hoping to find a new chair amongst applicants, so if you do have experience of chairing in previous organisations and are interested in being considered for the chair position, then please highlight this in your application.

We are actively looking to improve representation within our organisation. Our current Board is overwhelmingly white and cis-gendered and represents a limited range of experience. We want our organisation to reflect the diversity of society at all levels, and for that reason, we would particularly welcome applicants with experience of living with a disability, lived experiences of LGBTQ+ issues, applicants who have experienced racism, individuals from a low-income socio-economic background, and individuals across a variety of age ranges.

What does it mean to be a trustee?

Trustees are responsible for overseeing the management of a charity. Trustees offer expertise, strategic guidance and legal oversight. They support the organisation’s core team, ensure that financial reporting requirements are met, support fundraising and serve as public advocates.

The role of the trustee is voluntary and unpaid, but reasonable expenses can be claimed (to cover travel costs to attend a meeting for example).

Our trustees attend between four and six meetings a year. While we expect at least some of these meetings to take place in person, we are open to recruiting trustees living outside of Scotland and expect to continue offering virtual participation in meetings beyond current COVID-19 restrictions. We also aim to offer additional adaptations (such as live captioning or BSL) if required to enable participation in meetings.

How to apply

Please submit:

  • A CV
  • A brief cover letter (maximum one page A4) or a short video recording (maximum five minutes) outlining the reasons why you are interested and what you would bring to the role.

Please send applications (and/or any questions) to Karen Gateson, chair of Alchemy Film & Arts. For further information please visit Alchemy Film & Arts website.

Application deadline: 30th May 2021

The post Opportunity: Alchemy Film & Arts seeks new trustees appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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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Artists Envisioning a Green New Deal: Energy Transition

At the core of the Green New Deal is a profound transformation of the means by which we power our lives. The vast majority of energy consumption is still powered by fossil fuels, gravely harming human health and intensifying the climate crisis. How can we artists support, reflect, and explore the transition to clean and renewable sources of energy?
 
The fifth installment of our Spring Speaker Series: Artists Envisioning a Green New Deal focuses on the transition to clean and renewable energy. Join us on Wednesday, May 26 for a conversation with Toba Pearlman, Senior Attorney and Renewable Energy Advocate with NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy Program; Alex Nathanson, a multimedia artist, designer, technologist, and educator whose work explores sustainable energy technologies; and Joan Sullivan, a photographer and writer who has documented the construction of some of the largest utility-scale wind and solar projects in North America. The panel will begin with a reading of Javaad Alipoor’s short play “The Deal,” written for Climate Change Theatre Action 2021. The conversation will be moderated by Thomas Peterson, Artistic Associate with The Arctic Cycle.
 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
7:00-8:00 pm ET
Free Zoom Webinar

RSVP FOR THIS EVENT

RSVP to receive the Zoom link and join the webinar. The conversation will also be livestreamed on our YouTube channel.

Alex Nathanson is a multimedia artist, designer, technologist, and educator. His work explores both the creative and traditional applications of sustainable energy technologies. His work has been featured at Issue Project Room, the Museum of the Moving Image, Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Art Prospect Festival. As a solar power designer, he has created interactive and educational projects for The Climate Museum, Solar One, and the NYC Department of Education, among others. Currently, he runs Solar Power for Artists, a design studio and education platform. His book, A History of Solar Power Art and Design, will be released by Routledge on July 16, 2021.

Elizabeth Toba Pearlman leads NRDC’s work on renewable energy expansion in the Midwest, which encompasses wind, solar, storage, transmission, and grid design. Before joining NRDC, Pearlman worked at Tesla and at SolarCity. After graduating from the George Washington University Law School, she was a legal fellow with the United Nations Environment Programme based in Nairobi, Kenya and then a legal fellow and outside counsel with Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. She lives in Chicago.

For more than a decade, the Canadian photographer Joan Sullivan has documented the construction of some of the largest utility-scale wind and solar projects in North America. More recently, Joan has started to shift her attention toward what she likes to call “the human transition”: the talented men and women who are building our post-carbon infrastructure – electricians, mechanics, ironworkers, lineworkers, and heavy machinery operators. Joan is also experimenting with abstract photography as a new language to express her anguish about the climate emergency.

Wild Authors: Diana McCaulay

By Mary Woodbury 

This month we travel to a fictional island in Jamaica – Bajacu – to talk with author Diana McCaulay, whose novel Daylight Come was published in September 2020.

It is 2084. Climate change has made life on the Caribbean island of Bajacu a grueling trial. The sun is so hot that people must sleep in the day and live and work at night. In a world of desperate scarcity, people who reach 40 are expendable. Those who still survive in the cities and towns are ruled over by the brutal, fascistic Domins, and the order has gone out for another evacuation to less sea-threatened parts of the capital.

Sorrel can take no more, and she persuades her mother, Bibi, to flee the city and head for higher ground in the interior. She has heard there are groups known as Tribals, bitter enemies of the Domins, who have found ways of surviving in the hills, but she also knows they will have to evade the packs of ferals, animals with a taste for human flesh. Not least, she knows that the sun will kill them if they can’t find shelter.

Diana McCaulay takes the reader on a tense, threat-filled odyssey as mother and daughter attempt their escape. On the way, Sorrel learns much about the nature of self-sacrifice, maternal love, and the dreadful moral choices that must be made in the cause of self-protection.

CHAT WITH THE AUTHOR

Thanks so much for talking with me! How did you get started in writing?

I’m a Jamaican writer, resident on the island, and I’ve written all my life, but mostly in secret. Reading is what got me writing. I loved books and stories as a child, and I wanted to move people I would never meet with my words, as I had been moved. I’ve always had stories in my head. My father encouraged my writing as a teenager, gave me books, and talked to me seriously about them but when I declared I wanted to be a writer, he told me women could not write literature because the only suitable subject was war – and women did not go to war. I believed him, so until I was past 50, I didn’t send out my work, often didn’t even finish it. Then I had a health scare and realized that if I were to hear I was terminally ill, the only big thing I would regret about my life was not publishing a novel. 

I completed my first, Dog-Heart, sent it out and it was rejected 12 times. Peepal Tree Press, still one of my publishers, said yes, and Dog-Heart came out in 2010. I’ve written five novels in all. My second was Hurcan, also published by Peepal Tree Press; Gone to Drift, published by Papillote Press and Harper Collins US; White Liver Gal, which I self-published as an experiment – not, I would say, a successful experiment. Everyone needs an editor! My most recent novel is Daylight Come, published by Peepal Tree Press in September 2020. I also have a day job as an environmental activist. I’m the founder and director of the Jamaica Environment Trust, which is 30 years old this year. I’ve been an opinion columnist for our main daily newspaper, The Gleaner, and have also written and published many short stories and articles.

What’s going on in Daylight Come?

Daylight Come is set in 2084 on the fictional Caribbean island of Bajacu, where it has become too hot to go outside in the day due to the climate crisis. Everyone works at night and sleeps in the day, but my protagonist, a 14-year-old girl named Sorrel, can’t sleep. She convinces her mother, Bibi, to leave the known difficulties of the capital city of Bana to travel to the mountains, where Sorrel believes that temperatures must be cooler, and it’s rumored that tribes of people live together in old and more satisfying ways. Daylight Come is a fast-paced, threat-filled adventure story, as well as a story about the changing relationship between a mother and a daughter as they face many dangers together and must consider what each of them is willing to sacrifice. As for the audience, I’m convinced that the climate crisis needs stories, because talking about the science has not had sufficient impact. And although I’ve read quite a bit of climate fiction set in large countries, I wanted to write about how this could play out on a small tropical island. So Daylight Come is for Caribbean residents, visitors, and the Caribbean diaspora, adults, and young adults, as well as everyone interested in and concerned about what the climate emergency might do to our societies. It’s not a polemic, though; hopefully it’s a powerful narrative of interest to anyone who likes a good story.

Can you describe the ecological themes in your novel and how you were inspired to write about them?

Three years ago now, when I first started thinking about Daylight Come, I was in the UK and read a story about construction workers in the Middle East falling from scaffolding due to the heat. When I came home, I started noticing how many people worked outside – farmers, security guards, policemen, traffic wardens, people selling in markets and on the streets, construction and road workers – and I thought, huh, suppose all of this wasn’t possible for most of the year? What would life be like in a place like Jamaica? My premise is that human civilization evolved in a stable and nurturing climate, and without that, everything we take for granted is under threat. I’m also interested in the human impulse to acquire materials things – Daylight Come explores that a little bit – and how easily we get used to comfort and plenty and seek more and more and more.

What has been the reaction to your book, and have you been able to do many book fairs or talks during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I’ve done quite a few online events – talks, panel discussions, a launch, book clubs, readings, interviews and so on. Daylight Come was released last September and due to the pandemic, travel and in-person events were impossible. It’s never been easy for someone like me, writing outside a major literary market, to promote my books, but the current situation is really daunting. The most common thing I hear from readers is that they couldn’t put the book down. They like how fast paced it is. A few people have asked me if it was depressing to write and my answer is no, it wasn’t. As Rebecca Solnit says, the future is not yet written, and the outcomes I describe in Daylight Come are not inevitable. We humans can, if we decide to, build different and better societies. I also get asked if the things I describe in my book could really happen, and all of them have already happened – not everywhere, but somewhere. It is very hard to market a book in the pandemic. There are so many online events now that it’s hard to get attention. Distribution is also a challenge: you might market, and then apart from e-books, your book is just not available.

Are you working on anything else right now?

Yes, I’m working on a nonfiction memoir called That Woman, which is about the intersection of my environmental journey and my ancestry. I’m the descendant of a Portuguese Sephardic Jew who came to Jamaica in the late 1700s and had nine children on the island with an enslaved (and therefore raped) West African women. But I have light skin so I’ve been racialized as white. My male ancestor was born a slave but went on to enslave others. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever tried to write.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Diana.

This article is part of our Wild Authors series. It was originally published on Dragonfly.eco.

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Mary Woodbury, a graduate of Purdue University, runs Dragonfly.eco, a site that explores ecology in literature, including works about climate change. She writes fiction under pen name Clara Hume. Her novel Back to the Garden has been discussed in Dissent Magazine, Ethnobiology for the Future: Linking Cultural and Ecological Diversity (University of Arizona Press), and Uncertainty and the Philosophy of Climate Change (Routledge). Mary lives in Nova Scotia and enjoys hiking, writing, and reading.

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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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Opportunity: The Great Scottish Canvas

Help create the Great Scottish Canvas with us.

WWF Scotland has launched an exciting, creative campaign called the Great Scottish Canvas, which aims to engage people all over the country in the climate and nature crises through art, craft, poetry and writing. We’re asking people to show us the future they want to see for Scotland. Selected entries will be displayed in a big, virtual exhibition and a printed book ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

We are really keen to make sure that we include artworks from all over the country, and that we have a good representation of different forms of art featured in our exhibition and book. Find out more about the initiative and how to take part on WWF’s website.

The Great Scottish Canvas will open for submissions on Monday 15th March and we will accept entries up until 5pm on Sunday 30th May 2021.

The post Opportunity: The Great Scottish Canvas appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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

Powered by WPeMatico

Arts + Environmental Justice Symposium

Join us as we discuss and imagine the intersection of environmental justice and participatory public art during a global pandemic.

Date and time
Mon, May 17, 2021, 12:00 PM –
Fri, May 21, 2021, 5:00 PM EDT

Free

REGISTER

About this event

The environmental and climate justice movements are rooted in the understanding that communities of color and low income communities experience all environmental issues first and worst, including climate change. They also recognize the root of the problem is in an extractive economy that exploits the planet and people for profit. As climate change increases the pressures on our ecological, political and social structures, grassroots community-driven movements that utilize participatory public art and transformative cultural practices are even more essential for change. 

The Mural Arts Institute is hosting a virtual and free week-long symposium looking at the transformative work happening at the intersection of community-based cultural practice and environmental justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has further stressed the same communities already grappling with acute climate and environmental crises, both economically and in terms of inequitable health care access and outcomes. The compounding injustices of our social systems and extractive economic model are unsustainable and impossible to ignore any longer. Calls for transformative change are growing louder. In times like these, the essential roles that artists and cultural workers play in communities becomes clear including helping us heal, stay connected, make meaning out of pain, imagine our better future together, and take collective action. 

This annual symposium invites artists, activists, scientists, scholars and governmental officials to discuss how creative people and practices are helping us meet the challenges of this moment, and how we can build on that to make a just transition a reality. These changemakers will be logging in from Tribal, urban, rural, and suburban communities throughout the nation for this virtual symposium during the week of May 17-21, 2021, during 12:00-5:00 PM EST. Mark your calendars and sign up to make sure to get updates and the full agenda.

The Symposium has been strategized and designed in collaboration with Alexis Frasz and Helicon Collaborative. The Mural Arts Institute is supported by The JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Media sponsorship is provided by Next City and Grist. 

Schedule of Events: 

Opening Symposium Remarks

Monday, May 17th

12:30-1:00pm EDT
Jane Golden, Founder and Executive Director of Mural Arts PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia City Councilmember Kendra Brooks

The Cultures of a Just Transition

OPENING KEYNOTE

Monday, May 17th

1:00-2:30pm EDT
Join a conversation with leaders in movements for native sovereignty, disability justice and climate justice to talk about why following the leadership from those most historically marginalized is the key to creating a better future for all of us. They will also talk about how deeply rooted cultural values and creative practices inform and guide their work. Speakers include Judith LeBlanc (Native Organizers Alliance, NDN Collective, The Natural History Museum), Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan (Movement Generation, Climate Justice Alliance), Patty Berne (Sins Invalid). This conversation will be moderated by Alexis Frasz of Helicon Collaborative. 

Land and Liberation: 

Ecological Freedom as Creative Practice 

Tuesday, May 18th

1:00-2:30pm EDT
Pursuing food sovereignty through community agriculture is a way of life. Land based practices can also be liberatory, rooted in resistance and self determination. From Indigenous calls for Land Back, to reparations for ancestors of slaves and the Black freedom farmer movement, to refugees sewing seeds in their clothing to bring to their new communities – agriculture and community sovereignty go hand in hand. Join Indigenous artists and activists Christina Castro co-founder of Three Sisters Collective and Israel Haros co-founder of Alas de Agua Art Collective from Oga Po’ogeh (Santa Fe, New Mexico) in conversation with Carlton Turner, Lead Artist and Director of Sipp Culture as they explore the intersection of farming and creative community-based practices. This conversation will be moderated by Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large, Kendra Brooks. 

Climate and the Carceral State: 

Imagining an Abolitionist Future 

Tuesday, May 18th 

3:00-4:30pm EDT
Join Police Free Penn and Fossil Free Penn for a presentation and creative workshop envisioning environmental and racial justice together. The roads to racial justice and climate justice are one and the same. This event makes the case that neither climate justice nor police and prison abolition can be achieved without the other. We will explore how these movements can work together for a more just and sustainable future. How is the fossil fuel industry tied to institutions of policing and incarceration? What does justice look like for the environment, and all of those who inhabit it? What can art, creativity, and imagination contribute to abolitionism and climate justice? This workshop will be creative and interactive. Please bring a writing utensil, collage materials, or creative medium of your choice with you to this interactive workshop. This workshop will be led by Police Free Penn and Fossil Free Penn and moderated by Katelyn Rivas, poet and Manager of the Public Art & Civic Engagement Capacity Building Initiative at the Mural Arts Institute. 

Clean Air + Equity During a Global Pandemic

Wednesday, May 19th 

1:00-2:30pm EDTThe interconnectedness of our ecological, social, and health crises have never been so clearly visible as they are today. This conversation will center artists and environmental justice leaders who are champions for clean air and equity, as they explore the compounding impacts of COVID-19 on the same communities already harmed by environmental and social injustices, and reflect upon how arts based strategies can disrupt, educate, and support community centered decision-making. Dr. Catherine Garoupa White is the Executive Director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition where she spearheads policy advocacy for clean air in the San Joaquin Valley. Kim Abeles is an artist, Professor Emeritus at California State University Northridge and a Guggenheim Fellow who innovated a method to create images from smog captured from the air. Rosten Woo is a designer, writer, and educator that produces civic-scale works for grassroots and community rooted organizations. This conversation will be moderated by Layel Camargo, Ecological Arts and Culture Manager at The Center for Cultural Power. 

Practicing Environmental Justice for a More Just Future

Interactive “Implosion” Demonstration

Wednesday, May 19th 

3:00-4:30pm EDT
In this session, Mural Art’s Environmental Justice Department will facilitate a LIVE “Implosion,” a creative participatory research tool for building coalitions and exposing the hidden connections that fuel systems of environmental injustices. The implosion activity is a tool for activating networks to discover the complex interconnections and relationships inherent in our life and practices. What does the fossil fuel industry have to do with plastics? How are hidden subsidies driving production and consumption? How do we leverage every day experiences to build more effective movements?In this session, we will work together to uncover the economic and political systems at work within a seemingly simple object. In order to dismantle the corrupt systems and corporations that benefit from concealment, it is essential for us to understand and realize our interconnectedness. This practice is an accessible tool to help us dive deeper, past the camouflage of globalization and capitalism, and understand how EJ movements can be made more powerful through collective knowledge building and recognition of our interrelatedness. 

Water Is Life: 

Reflections from an Environmental and Cultural Emergency

Thursday, May 20th 

1:00-2:30pm EDT
The United States is in a water crisis. Nearly a tenth of the population does not have access to clean drinking water and millions of Americans cannot pay their skyrocketing water and sewage bills. Children and families from Philadelphia to Fresno to Tribal Nations, are exposed to heightened levels of lead, PFAS, and other toxins. But communities are more than the structural violence they face, and the role of community-driven artists and cultural workers are working to help communities heal from structural violence, reclaim their right to clean water, and find pathways forward that protect and celebrate water. From Boston, Massachusetts will be joined by Erin Genia, Sisseton-Wahpetin Oyate / Odawa multidisciplinary artist, educator and community organizer currently an Artist-In-Residence with the City of Boston working with the Department of Emergency Affairs. Emma Robbins is a Diné artist, activist and community organizer who serves as the Executive Director of the Navajo Water Project, part of the human rights nonprofit DigDeep Water. From Flint, Michigan, we will be joined by Joe Schipani, Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project who also serves as a City Historic District Commissioner and Vice President of the Martis/Luna Food Pantry. This conversation will be moderated by South Carolina Lowcountry artist Benny Starr, inaugural One Water Artist-in-Residence at the US Water Alliance, who was named Grist’s 50 Fixers of 2021.

Film Festival

Thursday, May 20th

3:00-5:00pm EDT
Cities who have worked with the Mural Arts Institute’s Arts and Environment Capacity Building Initiative have created short documentaries about environmental justice issues in their communities, and what a more just future would look like. Join us for live screenings of these 8 films from Akron, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Kern County, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and two films from various movements in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chad Eric-Smith, Director of Communications for Mural Arts Philadelphia will moderate a live discussion with film-makers, artists, and experts from each city. Check out @muralarts on Instagram to get a sneak peak of the films. 

Art of Activism: 

Live from East Austin

Thursday, May 20th

5:30-6:30pm EDT
Join us for a conversation about the role of artists as environmental activists. Artist Ginger Rudolph will moderate a conversation with Raasin McInstosh, Founder of Raasin in the Sun, and artists J. Muzacz and Carmen Rangel, co-founders of The Mosaic Workshop at Something Cool Studios. The artists will discuss their role in the Arts and Environment Capacity Building Initiative at the Mural Arts Institute, and share about the ways they have been creating opportunities for other artists during the pandemic, combating gentrification in East Austin, and using the arts and creative practice to disrupt environmental injustices faced by the East Austin community.

Closing Symposium Remarks

Friday, May 21st

12:30-1:00pm EDT
Magda Martinez, Chief Operating Officer of Mural Arts PhiladelphiaNetanel Portier, Director of the Mural Arts Institute 

The Story of a New Economy

CLOSING KEYNOTE

Friday, May 21st

1:00-2:30pm EDT
The idea that “the economy” is a thing, independent of human beings or nature, is one of our most pervasive and harmful cultural myths. Our hyper-capitalist economy is parasitic on humans and incompatible with a living planet, and yet many people still struggle to imagine an alternative. Reinventing the economy will require new laws, policies, and financing tools–but it will also require us to tell ourselves a new story about who we are, what is valuable, and our relationship to each other and the natural world. Hear from the creative thinkers and doers who are weaving together the structural and narrative interventions we need for a more just and sustainable economic future—debt abolishment, cooperatives, and Guaranteed Basic Income. Speakers are Esteban Kelley (US Federation of Worker Cooperatives), Laura Zabel (Springboard for the Arts); and Dan and Hilary Powell (Bank Job). This conversation will be moderated by Oscar Perry Abello, Senior Economic Correspondent at Next City.

REGISTER