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‘canoe’ drawing by sabrina mathews

I started conscient in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise that features conversations, newsletters, monologues and/or creations about art and the ecological crisis.

conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening. The term ‘conscient’ is defined in this context as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations‘. 

My touchstone for conscient is e01 terrified, an essay I wrote in May 2019 expressing my anxiety about the climate crisis and my desire to learn, unlearn and act.

Note: The first 3 seasons of conscient were in either English or French. As of season 4, conscient has separate English and French streams on simplecast.

season 1 (may – october 2020) : environmental awareness and action

conscient podcast, season 1, episode 01, terrified, 2020

This first season 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

conscient podcast, season 2, episode 19, reality, 2021

Season 2 explored the concept of reality and was 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 featured 41 interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

season 3 (october 2021 – february 2022 ) : radical listening

conscient podcast, season 3, episode 63, 2021

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

conscient podcast, season 4, Sounding Modernity, 2022

See sounding modernity.

who am I ?

I 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). I believe that arts and culture, in the context of decolonization, can play a much more impactful role in shaping our collective future and have dedicate the rest of my life to this vocation. See https://www.claudeschryer.ca/ for details on my current areas of interest (advising, speaking and creating), my bio, cv, etc.

Self-portrait, Facing Human Wrongs course, 2022

territorial acknowledgement

I acknowledge that I live and work in the unceded and unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation, whose presence in the Ottawa region reaches back to time immemorial. This acknowledgement is also a commitment upon the many recommendations in public reports such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of 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. I also monitor my carbon footprint through https://www.cgtoolscanada.org/.

commitment to safe and fair working conditions

I am committed to safe and fair working conditions in the production of this podcast, including respectful and transparent working relations with my collaborators and providing due credit and financial compensation as appropriate.

about bilingualism

When I started conscient in 2020 I decided to publish either English or French episodes with a few bilingual ones as well. I translated all of the episode notes as well. For example, English episodes also had French language episode notes. However, starting with season 4, on 1 January 2023, conscient is fully bilingual. Each language has its own channel (conscient podcast in English and balado conscient in French) with episode notes in each language. My commitment is to offer the podcast and respond to listeners in either language.

a word of thanks

I am grateful to all my collaborators and supporters, notably for the strong influence on my learnings/unlearning from the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective and the Facing Human Wrongs course I took in 2022 and for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts Strategic Innovation Fund Seed grant which allowed to pay my collaborators a reasonable fee and cover basic operating costs for this season of conscient.

about this web site

This web site was developed in collaboration with Ayesha Barmania : https://www.ayeshabarmania.com/. It uses the Twenty Twenty Three WordPress theme.