conscient podcast blog, September 2021

This post is also available in: French

Season 3 of the conscient podcast starts on October 1, 2021. 

It has taken me a while to decide what to do in season 3, given that so much ground was covered in the 41 conversations (31 in English and 10 in French) of season 2 and that I wanted to breathe a bit in between seasons. 

Now that season 2 is complete, I’ve been thinking about I can be most useful to the ecological crisis. Is it by sharing more knowledge about art and climate through podcasts like this one? Is it by engaging in more activist and protest art? Is it by developing more green policies for the arts sector? All of these will likely help, but I think the most useful thing for me to do is to listen radically. Let me explain what I mean…

  • Listening radically is about listening deeply without passing judgment. 
  • Listening radically is about knowing the truth and filtering out the noise. 
  • Listening radically is about opening attention to reality and responding to what needs to be done.

I decided to try a new format for season 3 that is similar the first podcast format I did in 2016 with the simplesoundscapes project, which was to ‘speak my mind’ and ‘think out loud’. Season 3 will be a series of unscripted and unedited monologues (except for the occasional insert of quotes and soundscape compositions and some short conversations). I have energy for this format these days. We’ll see how it goes. 

My goal with these monologues is to use my own conscience as format to explore the relationship between art and the ecological crisis. In other words, whatever crosses my mind that is worth sharing becomes an episode based on what I am reading, listen to, talking to, etc. This work will guided by my intuition (as opposed to my intellect) and with a lightness of touch (e.g. is more fun to listen to).  We’ll see, and hear, where it goes and for how long. 

I decided to start season 3 with a ‘soundscape composition’ episode, like I did in season 1 with e01 terrified and season 2 with e19 reality. Season 3’s composition is in two parts: e63 a case study (part 1) and e64 a case study (part 2). It’s bilingual speculative fiction radio play. The setting is an undergraduate university history seminar course called ‘History of 2021 in Canada’. I want to thank my son Riel for the idea. It is set in the distant future, where a professor is presenting a ‘case study’ based on the second season of the conscient podcast as part of a class on art in 2021.

I want to share a quote that affected me deeply. It’s from Australian academic and researcher Dr. Tyson Yunkaporta from episode 321 of the Green Dreamer podcast : 

The most damaged people on the planet are going to have to set aside their IOUs, set aside any kind of justice, or hope for justice or karma, or anything else, and carry the load for another thousand years to keep everything alive. And it’s going to be hard just to forgive and then hand over all this wealth of knowledge and relationship and everything else to the people who are still holding the capital from the last great heist and are not going to give it up or share it anyway. The only way that’s going to save the entire planet is to bring everybody back under the law of the land, and be very generous with our social systems, open them up and bring everybody back in. And that’s going to be really hard, because at the same time, people are going to be trying to extract from that…

I conclude this blog with a quote that I used at the end of e01 terrified of this podcast by Indigenous writer Richard Wagamese, from his novel, For Joshua:

‘We may not relight the fires that used to burn in our villages, but we carry the embers from those fires in our hearts and learn to light new fires in a new world. We can recreate the spirit of community we had, of kinship, of relationship to all things, of union with the land, harmony with the universe, balance in living, humility, honesty, truth, and wisdom in all of our dealings with each other.’

I love both of these quotes. They brings me peace and hope. 

Take care



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 (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 :

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.

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