Conscient Podcast: e129 world listening day – what does world listening day mean to you?

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my response to the 3 prompts from world listening day, july 18, 2023

(bell and breath)

Every July 18th is World Listening Day. It’s also composer and acoustic ecologist R. Murray Schafer’s birthday. Rest in peace Murray. 

Now World Listening Day 2023 proposes three very interesting  listening prompts and I’ll try to answer their questions in today’s episode.

Question 1

What can we learn from the listening practices of all living beings?

What can we learn from the listening practices of all living beings?

It’s a very good question and I would start by questioning who is the ‘we’ in this context. I would also question the assumption that other living beings have listening practices as we know them. ‘We’.

This being said, this prompt made me think of a story told to me by composer Robert Normandeau in 1991 for my Marche sonore 1 radio program that I did for Radio-Canada. I quote it in episode 19 reality and I’ll play it back for you now. 

(e19 reality)

It’s a bit like taking a frog, which is a cold-blooded animal, and putting it in a jar of water and heating the water, little by little. The frog will get used to the temperature rising and rising, and it will not notice that the temperature has risen and one day the temperature will be too hot for it and it will die. Therefore, our civilization, in terms of sound, looks a bit like that, that is to say we get used to it, we get used to it, we get used to it and at some point, we are going to have punctured eardrums.

Now the early 1990’s were a time of great environmental awakening and action, in particular the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. There was a sense that this was our last chance to change directions, to undo some of the wrongs of pollution. Ironically, things got much worse after 1992.

Sadly, this window is now closed and we find ourselves in very hot water not feeling or responding to the heat, the smoke and other signals we are receiving and so we’re slowly boiling to death…


Question 2

How can we deterritorialize listening practices?

How can we deterritorialize listening practices?

Dererrirorialize. De… terror. Deterritorialize.  It’s a hard word to say.

The notion of territory makes me think of stolen lands by colonial settlers, like myself, living in indigenous lands, unceded lands, such as the Algonquin-Anishinaabe nation, otherwise known as Ottawa.

One form of deterritorialization is the land back movement.

According to journalist and Canada Council for the Arts chair Jesse Wente (also see e107 harm) land back is :

about the decision-making power. It’s about self-determination for our Peoples here that should include some access to the territories and resources in a more equitable fashion, and for us to have control over how that actually looks.

What does land back sound like? 

Just last week I published an episode about decolonized listening 128 revisited. Here’s an an excerpt from that episode : 

On June 23, 2023 I had the pleasure, and the privilege, of attending ‘Listening to Lhq’a:lets’ (I hope I’m pronouncing that right), otherwise known as the city of Vancouver, at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Learning at the University of British Coumbia, which is situated l on the unceded and ancestral territory of the Musqueam Nation. A group of artists, all women, spoke about their week-long residency, organized by indigenous sound scholar and UBC professor Dr. Dylan Robinson. They shared a wide range of sensory engagements through listening to Lhq’a:lets: how our bodies listen through the haptics of vibration, about  hearing and feeling the voices of our non-human relations, about how we can perceive the built environment with new perspectives – the air, waterways and earth that surround us. They spoke about their encounters with the trans-mountain pipeline, their dialogues with animals and birds, their encounters with haunting vibrations and their thoughts about the past, present and future sounds of this region. What they did not talk about was themselves, their accomplishments or the type of technology they used to extract and manipulate the sounds. None of that. There was also no reverence for say R. Murray Schafer or the World Soundscape Project, nor any nostalgia about the good old days when, say, the term ‘soundscape’ was invented. There was no disrespect either. They were listening from a different position. So I heard stories, poems, anecdotes, images, silences and prophecies… It was uplifting. 

(simplesoundscapes e03 bones


Question 3

When should we listen more?

When should we listen more?

I guess it depends on what kind of listening, doesn’t it? 

More listening with a colonial lens or colonial education is not helpful. 

Perhaps we could listen more to ourselves through listening to other living beings? 

Maybe we could listen more to the land and give back?

Warm thanks to my colleagues at the World Listening Days for your thoughtful prompts and ongoing commitment to listening, by everyone, everywhere.

What does world listening day mean to you?


For more information on World Listening Day and to participate, this year or next, see 

I am grateful and accountable to the earth and the human labour that provided me with the privilege of producing this episode. (including all the toxic materials and extractive processes behind the computers, recorders, transportation and infrastructure that make this podcast possible).

My gesture of reciprocity for this episode is to World Listening Day 2023.

The post e129 world listening day – what does world listening day mean to you? appeared first on 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 (2016-2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

season 1 (may – october 2020) : environmental awareness and action 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 – august 2021 ) : reality and ecological grief 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.

season 3 (october 2021 – february 2022 ) : radical listening Season 3 was about radical listening : listening deeply without passing judgment, knowing the truth and filtering out the noise and opening attention to reality and responding to what needs to be done. The format is similar the first podcast format I did in 2016 with the simplesoundscapes project, which was to ‘speak my mind’ and ‘think out loud’. I start this season with a ‘soundscape composition’, e63 a case study (part 1) and e64 a case study (part 2), a bilingual speculative fiction radio play, set in an undergraduate university history seminar course called ‘History of 2021 in Canada’. It concluded with a soundscape composition ‘Winter Diary Revisited’.

season 4 (1 january – 31 december 2023) : sounding modernity


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 :

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