conscient podcast

e58 huddart – the arts show us what is possible

Episode Summary

My conversation with Stephen Huddart about dematerialization, nature, culture, capital, supporting grassroots activity, innovation and how the arts can show us what is possible

Episode Notes

stephen huddart, conscient podcast, june 17, 2021, montreal

Stephen Huddart’s career spans several fields and includes leadership positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors. He recently retired as president and CEO of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, a national private foundation whose head office is in Montreal. Prior to that he worked as an educator and program developer specializing in human/animal issues – including a humane food certification and labeling program, animal-assisted therapy, and humane education in schools. His private sector experience includes co-founding the Alma Street Café - a community-based natural foods restaurant and jazz venue in Vancouver and running a triple-bottom-line music and publishing company in association with children's folksinger Raffi. 

I’ve known Stephen for many years and have had the pleasure of working with him on various projects and strategic gatherings including the (Re) Conciliation Initiative. His ideas have influenced me deeply and his presence as mentor and collaborator has been greatly appreciated. Though he is recently retired, he continues to be a leading voice, and dare I say, an activist, for social innovation and fiscal reform. 

We went for a 90-minute sound walk along the Lachine Canal near his home in St-Henry, Montreal on June 18, 2021. In order to respect my 55-minute episode limit I had to cut out some great stories about Gabriel Roy, the impact of the ArtSmarts program on indigenous learners and his early days as a socially engaged filmmaker but there is more than enough for you to sink your teeth into : Huddart is a force of nature. 

There are many quotes from this conversation that resonated with me, including:  

On Dematerialization

On Gabrielle Roy and the arts

On Capital 

I would like to thank Stephen for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing his deep knowledge of social innovation systems, his ‘big picture’ view, his inspiring optimism, his strategic thinking about the arts and his ongoing commitment to systems change and sustainability. 

For more information on Stephen’s work, see