conscient podcast

e64 a case study (part 2)

Episode Summary

episode 64 is part 2 of a bilingual speculative fiction radio play set in an undergraduate university history seminar course about the arts scene in 2021 in Canada that launches season 3 of the #conscientpodcast.

Episode Notes

Claude Schryer

ou can listen to part one here. This is the conclusion!

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. 

There are four people in the class: the teacher played by myself, a young male student is played by my son Riel Schryer, a young female student, who is online, is played by my daughter Clara Schryer and a female adult student is played by my wife Sabrina Mathews. I want to thank the cast. 

A reminder that most of the narration is in English, but there are elements and excerpts of the interviews that are in French and some of the narrations as well. 

Episode 64 features excerpt from the following episodes in season 2 (in order of appearance):

Screen grab of Reaper software edit of e64

Recording cast : Sabrina Mathews (adult student), Claude Schryer (professor) and Riel Schryer (male student): September 2021, Ottawa

Recording cast : Clara Schryer (female student): September 2021, Ottawa


Note: Some of the script has been slightly modified during the recording through improvisation and is not captured in this text.

(Sounds of students chatting, arriving in class and sitting down)

Teacher: Hello students. Let’s start the class. Welcome back to the History of 2021 in Canada seminar. Last time we had to disrupt the class because of the air pollution alarm but now the air quality is acceptable, and we can breathe again so hopefully the alarm won’t go off again. Let’s pick it up where we left off last week. I see we have the same group as last week. a few students in class and one online. Je vous rappelle que c’est une classe bilingue. A quick reminder that we’re going to conclude our case study today of the second season of the conscient podcast, which produced by an Ottawa based sound artist, Claude Schryer and at the end the last class he was reading a quote from a dharma teacher Catherine Ingram.  I think we’ll start by playing that again so that you remember what that was about. 

Despite our having caused so much destruction, it is important to also consider the wide spectrum of possibilities that make up a human life.  Yes, on one end of that spectrum is greed, cruelty, and ignorance; on the other end is kindness, compassion, and wisdom. We are imbued with great creativity, brilliant communication, and extraordinary appreciation of and talent for music and other forms of art. … There is no other known creature whose spectrum of consciousness is as wide and varied as our own.

Teacher: Alright. Let’s talk about art. One of the key moments in the 2020s was when society started to understand that climate change was a cultural issue and that the role of art was not so much to provide solutions, even though they are important, but to ask hard questions and to help people overcome barriers to action. Here is excerpt that I really like a lot from British ecological artist David Haley. It’s fromepisode 43:

Climate change is actually a cultural issue, not a scientific issue. Science has been extremely good at identifying the symptoms and looking at the way in which it has manifest itself, but it hasn't really addressed any of the issues in terms of the causes. It has tried to use what you might call techno fix solution focused problem-based approaches to the situation, rather than actually asking deep questions and listening.

Adult student: The 2020s sure were a strange time. I heard that some said it was the most exciting time to be alive, but I think it would have been terrifying to live back then and … 

Teacher (interrupting): You’re right and that they were tough times, but they were also a time of possibilities, and some people saw how the arts could step up to the plate and play a much larger role. One of these was Stephen Huddart who was the CEO of a foundation called the JW McConnell Family Foundation based in Montreal. Let’s listen to him in episode 58 talk about the crisis and the role of the arts. 

This is now an existential crisis, and we have in a way, a conceptual crisis, but just understanding we are and what this is, this moment, all of history is behind us: every book you've ever read, every battle, every empire, all of that is just there, right, just right behind us. And now we, we are in this position of emerging awareness that in order to have this civilization, in some form, continue we have to move quickly, and the arts can help us do that by giving us a shared sense of this moment and its gravity, but also what's possible and how quickly that tipping point could be reached.

Male student: They keep talking about tipping points. What’s a tipping point?

Teacher: Ah. Right, sorry about that. I should have filled you in about that. Let me find a quote from episode 19 where Schryer actually refers to an expert on this (sound of typing). Here it is. It’s from Canadian writer Britt Wray in an article called Climate tipping points: the ones we actually want. Again, this is Schryer reading that quote. Oh, and you’ll notice in this one the sound of a coocoo clock in this one. Schryer liked to insert soundscape compositions in between his interviews in season 2. Here is Britt Wray: 

When a small change in a complex system produces an enormous shift, that new pathway gets reinforced by positive feedback loops, which lock in all that change. That’s why tipping points are irreversible. You can’t go back to where you were before. A tipping point that flips non-linearly could be the thing that does us in, but it could also be the thing that allows us to heal our broken systems and better sustain ourselves. 

Adult student: So, they knew back in the 2020’s that they were on the verge of irreversible collapse due to climate change and yet they did nothing to heal their broken systems?  

Teacher: It’s not that they did nothing but rather that they did not do enough, quickly enough. it’s easy to look back and be critical but that’s why we’re looking at this history and trying to understand what happened back then and what it means to us now. You are students of history, and you know how significant it can be. There were so many theories and great writing about the need for radical change back then by authors such as Richard HeinbergJeremy LentRobin Wall KimmererNaomi Klein,Michael E. Mann, and so many more, and there were also great podcasts like Green Dreamer and For the Wild that provided words of warning, interviewed brilliant people and alternatives paths forward, it was all there – but at first it did little to mobilise the population. People were pretty comfortable in their lifestyle and mostly lived in a kind of denial about the climate emergency. People only really started changing their behaviour when climate change affected them directly, like a fire or flood in their backyard, and this is when it became clear that the arts had a role to play in shaping the narrative of change and changing the culture. I’ll give you an example, performance artist and podcaster Peterson Toscanotalksabout the power of storytelling and the idea of touching people hearts and minds. This is from episode 33:

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. And 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.

Female student: Right, so something as simple as a story could change a person’s behaviour? 

Teacher: Yes, it could, because humans are much more likely to understand an issue through a narrative, image or allegory than through raw scientific data. In fact, we need all of it, we need scientists working with artists and other sectors to effect change. People have to work together. As I was listening to episode 19 this next quote struck me as a really good way to talk about the power of words to affect change. It’s by Indigenous writer Richard Wagamese in episode 19 :

To use the act of breathing to shape air into sounds that take on the context of language that lifts and transports those who hear it, takes them beyond what they think and know and feel and empowers them to think and feel and know even more.  We’re storytellers, really. That’s what we do. That is our power as human beings.

Teacher: How is everyone doing? Need a break? No, ok, well, let’s take a look at arts policy in 2021 now. Cultural theorist and musician Dr. David Maggs, wrote a paper in 2021 called Art and the World After This that was commissioned by the Metcalf Foundation. In this excerpt from episode 30, Dr. Maggs explains the unique value proposition of the arts and how the arts sector basically needed to, at the time, reinvent itself:  

Complexity is the world built of relationships and it's a very different thing to engage what is true or real in a complexity framework than it is to engage in it, in what is a modernist Western enlightenment ambition, to identify the absolute objective properties that are intrinsic in any given thing. Everyone is grappling with the fact that the world is exhibiting itself so much in these entanglements of relationships. The arts are completely at home in that world. And so, we've been sort of under the thumb of the old world. We've always been a kind of second-class citizen in an enlightenment rationalist society. But once we move out of that world and we move into a complexity framework, suddenly the arts are entirely at home, and we have capacity in that world that a lot of other sectors don't have. What I've been trying to do with this report is articulate the way in which these different disruptions are putting us in a very different reality and it's a reality in which we go from being a kind of secondary entertaining class to, maybe, having a capacity to sit at the heart of a lot of really critical problem-solving challenges.

Adult student: We studied this report in an art history class. It’s a good piece of writing. I think it had 3 modes of engagement: greening the sector, raising the profile :

Teacher: … and I think it was reauthoring the world if I remember correctly. It’s interesting to note how the arts community were thinking about how to create ecological artworks as well as theoretical frameworks and how does that happen. I’ll give you a couple of examples. First, an environmental theatre company in Vancouver called The Only Animal. Let’s listen to their artistic director Kendra Fanconi inepisode 36:

Ben Twist at Creative Carbon Scotland talks about the transformation from a culture of consumerism to a culture of stewardship and we are the culture makers so isn't that our job right now to make a new culture and it will take all of us as artists together to do that? …  It's not enough to do carbon neutral work. We want to do carbon positive work. We want our artwork to be involved with ecological restoration. What does that mean? I've been thinking a lot about that. What is theatre practice that actually gives back, that makes something more sustainable? That is carbon positive. I guess that's a conversation that I'm hoping to have in the future with other theatre makers who have that vision.

Teacher: This actually happened. The arts community did develop carbon positive arts works. To be realistic the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere was probably minimal but the impact on audiences and the public at large was large.  At the time and still today, it gets people motivated and open the door to change. People started creating their own carbon positive projects 

Female student: (interrupting) Amazing! I just found a video of their work on You Tube…

Teacher: Please share the link in the chat. It’s always good to see what the work looked like. The other example I would give is in Montreal with a group called Écoscéno, which was a circular economy project that recycled theatre sets. Now this one is in French, so let me explain that what Anne-Catherine Lebeau, the ED of that organization is saying. She suggests that the arts community should look at everything it has as a common good, praises the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in England for their work on circular economies and she underlines the need to create art that is regenerative…Let’s listen to Anne-Catherine Lebeau in episode 37:. 

Pour moi, c'est sûr que ça passe par plus de collaboration. C'est ça qui est intéressant aussi. Vraiment passer du modèle ‘Take Make Waste’ à ‘Care Dare Share’. Pour moi, ça dit tellement de choses. Je pense qu'on doit considérer tout ce qu'on a dans le domaine artistique comme un bien commun dont on doit collectivement prendre soin. Souvent, au début, on parlait en termes de faire le moins de tort possible à l'environnement, ne pas nuire, c'est souvent comme ça que l'on présente le développement durable, puis en faisant des recherches, et en m'inspirant, entre autres, de ce qui se fait à la Fondation Ellen MacArthur  en Angleterre, en économie circulaire, je me suis rendu compte qu’eux demandent comment faire en sorte de nourrir une nouvelle réalité. Comment créer de l'art qui soit régénératif? Qui nourrisse quelque chose.

Male student (interrupting) Sorry, wait, regenerative art was a new thing back then? 

Teacher: Actually, regenerative art had been around for a while, since the 1960 through the ecological art, or eco art movement that David Haley, who we heard from earlier in this class. he and other eco artists did work with the environment and ecosystems. Let’s listen to another excerpt from David Haley from episode 43:

What I have learned to do, and this is my practice, is to focus on making space. This became clear to me when I read, Lila : An inquiry into morals by Robert Pirsig. Towards the end of the book, he suggests that the most moral act of all, is to create the space for life to move onwards and it was one of those sentences that just rang true with me, and I've held onto that ever since and pursued the making of space, not the filling of it. When I say I work with ecology, I try to work with whole systems, ecosystems. The things within an ecosystem are the elements with which I try to work. I try not to introduce anything other than what is already there. In other words, making the space as habitat for new ways of thinking, habitat for biodiversity to enrich itself, habitat for other ways of approaching things. I mean, there's an old scientific adage about nature abhors a vacuum, and that vacuum is the space as I see it.

Teacher : So eco art was an important movement but it did not become mainstream until the 2020s when natural resources on earth were drying up and people started looking at art forms that were about ecological balance and a harmonious relationship with nature. . Now, fortunately, many artists had tested these models over the years so there was a body of work that already existed about this... Btw there’s a great book about eco art that came out in 2022 called Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities. I’ll  put it on the reading list for you so that you can get it form the library. All of this to say that in retrospect, we can see that 2021 was the beginning of the end of capitalism that Dr. Todd Dufresne predicted, and the arts were at the heart of this transformation because they had the ability to us metaphor, imagery, illusion, fantasy, and storytelling to move people’s hearts and presented a new vision of the world. So, I think you’re starting to see how things were unfolding in the arts community in 2021. What was missing was coordination and some kind of strategic structure to move things along in an organized way now this was happening in the Uk with Julie’s Bicycle and Creative Carbon Scotland and similar organizations, but we did not have that in Canada. I want you to listen to an excerpt of Schryer’s conversation with Judi Pearl, who ended up being a very important figure in the arts in the 2020’s because she was a co- founder with Anjali Appadurai, Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, Kendra Fanconi, Mhiran Faraday, Howard Jang, Tanya Kalmanovitch, David Maggs, Robin Sokoloski and Schryer himself of an organization called SCALE, which I mentioned earlier. Here is Judi Pearl who explains what SCALE was about in episode 59:

It’s a national round table for the arts and culture sector to mobilize around the climate emergency. A few months ago, you and I, and a few others were all having the same realization that while there was a lot of important work and projects happening at the intersection of arts and sustainability in Canada, there lacked some kind of structure to bring this work together, to align activities, to develop a national strategy, and to deeply, deeply question the role of arts and culture in the climate emergency and activate the leadership of the sector in terms of the mobilization that needs to happen in wider society. SCALE is really trying to become that gathering place that will engender that high level collaboration, which hopefully will create those positive tipping points.

Teacher: OK, time is passing quickly here. there are many other examples in season 2 of the role of the arts, about community-engaged arts, immersive systems, activist art, ritual based art, etc. but in the interests of time, I suggest we move to the notion of hope now. There were so many amazing books and podcasts about hope during this time. Schryer mentions that he enjoyed the book by Thomas Homer-Dixon’s Commanding Hope, Eslin Kelsey’s Hope Matters, Joanna Macy’s and Chris Johnstone’s classic from 2010, Active Hope but there were many others. The thing about hope back then is that it was aspirational. Indeed, andthere were many different forms of hope. Let’s start with Schryer reading a quote from Dr. Todd Dufresne in episode 19:

We’re all being “radicalized by reality.” It’s just that for some people it takes a personal experience of fire, landslide, or hurricane to get their attention. I’m afraid it takes mass death and extinction. … Whoever survives these experiences will have a renewed appreciation for nature, for the external world, and for the necessity of collectivism in the face of mass extinction. There’s hope in this — although I admit it’s wrapped in ugliness.

Teacher: And it is very ugly, isn’t it...? Here’s another take on hope from composer Dr. Annie Mahtani in episode 52. Annie was director of a electroacoustic music festival in the UK where the focus of the 2021 was on listening and how listening could us better understand our environment. 

If we can find ways to encourage people to listen, that can help them to build a connection, even if it's to a small plot of land near them. By helping them to have a new relationship with that, which will then expand and help hopefully savour a deeper and more meaningful relationship with our natural world, and small steps like that, even if it's only a couple of people at a time, that could spread. I think that nobody, no one person, is going to be able to change the world, but that doesn't mean we should give up.

Female student: I love the focus on listening. I think Schryer was a specialist in acoustic ecology, if I remember correctly.

Teacher: Yes. On a similar wavelength, here’s excerpt from soundscape composer Hildegard Westerkamp from episode 22:

We need toallow for time to pass without any action, without any solutions and to just experience it. I think that a slowdown is an absolute… If there is any chance to survive, that kind of slowing down through listening and meditation and through not doing so much. I think there's some hope in that.

Teacher: Thankfully, we did survive, and we did develop the capacity to listen and slow down as Westerkamp suggests. She was quite prescient in this way. But the notion of hope was elusive, because science keep telling us that they were headed for catastrophe, and there was good reason to be concerned about this and this created massive tension. 

Male Student: How did they manage that? 

Teacher: They just kept going in spite of the uncertainty and the grim prospect... As I mentioned earlier, no-one knew if was possible to stop the destruction of the planet, but they kept going on and they   use art not only to change systems abut also to keep up morale.  Let’s listen to this excerpt from episode 54 with theatre artistIan Garrett

I don't want to confuse the end of an ecologically unsustainable, untenable way of civilization working in this moment with a complete guarantee of extinction. There is a future. It may look very different and sometimes I think the inability to see exactly what that future is – and our plan for it - can be confused for there not being one. I'm sort of okay with that uncertainty, and in the meantime, all one can really do is the work to try and make whatever it ends up being more positive. There's a sense of biophilia about it.

Male student: OK, they knew that there would be trouble ahead but what about adaptation and preparedness in the arts community. How did they prepare and adapt to the changing environment? Did they not see it coming?

Adult Student: It’s one thing to raise awareness through art but how did art actually help people deal with the reality of fires, floods, climate refugees and all of that?

Teacher:  Remember that art had the ability to touch people emotions and motivate them to change their attitudes and lifestyles, but it was also a way to teach people how to adapt while continuing to enjoy the things around them. Artist-researcher and educator Jen Rae is a good example. Rae and her colleagues in Australia did a lot of work in the 2020’s to develop tools and resources that call upon art to reduce harm during emergencies.  The notion of preparedness. This is from episode 41:

The thing about a preparedness mindset is that you are thinking into the future and so if one of those scenarios happens, you've already mentally prepared in some sort of way for it, so you're not dealing with the shock. That's a place as an artist that I feel has a lot of potential for engagement and for communication and bringing audiences along. When you're talking about realities, accepting that reality, has the potential to push us to do other things. It's great to hear about Canada Council changing different ways around enabling the arts and building capacity in the arts in the context of the climate emergency. It'll be interesting to see how artists step up.

Teacher: Online student, you have a question. Please go ahead. 

Female student: Did artists step up? 

Teacher: Yes, they did. For example, in 2021, there were the Green Sessions organized by SoulPepper Theatrecompany and the Artists for Real Climate Action (ARCA), a really great collective of artists who did all kinds of activist art projects that set the tone for years to come. Some of the most impactful art works were the ones that directly addressed the culture of exploitation and the disconnection from nature that caused the ecological crisis in the first place, so it was not observations but also critique of the root of the issues that humanity was facing at the time. There was also a body work by Indigenous artists, writers, curators and educators that was extremely important and transformative. A good example is Towards Braiding, a collaborative process developed by Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti, developed in collaboration with Sharon Stein, in 2020 that opened the door to new ways of working with indigenous communities in cultural institutions and all kinds of settings. It was very impactful. I found an episode from conscient podcast episode 67 from season 3 called ‘wanna be an ally’ where Schryer talks about this book and reads the poem called ‘wanna be an ally’ from Towards Braiding and I think it’s worth listening to the whole thing. It’s really important to understand these perspectives. 

conscient podcast, episode 67, ‘wanna be an ally’? I've been thinking about decolonization and reconciliation and other issues in our relations with indigenous communities. I was reading a text the other day that really affected me positively but also emotionally and I wanted to read it to you. If you remember last episode, I talked about the idea of radical listening. Well, this is a type of radical listening in the sense that each of these words are, I think very meaningful and important for us all to consider. It's from a document called Towards Braiding by Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa. Andreotti written in collaboration with Sharon Stein and it's published by the Musagetes Foundation. I'd like to start by thanking them all for this a very important document that essentially talks about how to, or proposes how to engage indigenous and non-indigenous relations in an institutional setting and, principles and methods, to consider. It's very well-written and I recommend a strongly as something to read and something to do, but for now, I'll just read this poem, on page 39 of the document and, and leave it at that for today because, it's already a lot to consider and as we listen more radically, that means just sitting back and listening with our full attention and openness of mind. So here it is.

don’t do it for charity, for feeling good, for looking good, or for showing others that you are doing good 

don’t do it in exchange for redemption from guilt, for increasing your virtue, for appeasing your shame, for a vanity award 

don’t put it on your CV, or on Facebook, or in your thesis, don’t make it part of your brand, don’t use it for self-promotion 

don’t do it as an excuse to keep your privileges, to justify your position, to do everything except what would be actually needed to change the terms of our relationship 

do it only if you feel that our pasts, presents and futures are intertwined, and our bodies and spirits entangled 

do it only if you sense that we are one metabolism that is sick, and what happens to me also happens to you 

do it recognizing that you have the luxury of choice to participate or not, to stand or not, to give up your weekend or not, whereas others don’t get to decide 

don’t try to “mould” me, or to “help” me, or to make me say and do what is convenient for you 

don’t weaponize me (“I couldn’t possibly be racist”) don’t instrumentalize me (“my marginalized friend says”) don’t speak for me (“I know what you really mean”)
don’t infantilize me (“I am doing this for you”) 

don’t make your actions contingent on me confiding in you, telling you my traumas, recounting my traditions, practicing your idea of “right” politics, or performing the role of a victim to be saved by you or a revolutionary that can save you 

and expect it to be, at times, incoherent, messy, uncomfortable, difficult, deceptive, paradoxical, repetitive, frustrating, incomprehensible, infuriating, boring and painful — and prepare for your heart to break and be stretched 

do you still want to do it? 

then share the burdens placed on my back, the unique medicines you bring, and the benefits you have earned from this violent and lethal disease 

co-create the space where I am able to do the work that only I can and need to do for all of us 

take a step back from the centre, the frontline from visibility relinquish the authority of your interpretations, your choice, your entitlements, surrender that which you are most praised and rewarded for 

don’t try to teach, to lead, to organize, to mentor, to control, to theorize, or to determine where we should go, how to get there and why 

offer your energy to peel potatoes, to wash the dishes, to scrub the toilets, to drive the truck, to care for the babies, to separate the trash, to do the laundry, to feed the elders, to clean the mess, to buy the food, to fill the tank, to write the grant proposal, to pay the tab and the bail 

to do and support things you can’t and won’t understand,
and do what is needed, instead of what you want to do, without judgment, or sense of martyrdom or expectation for gratitude, or for any kind of recognition

then you will be ready to sit with me through the storm with the anger, the pain, the frustration, the losses, the fears, and the longing for better times with each other 

and you will be able to cry with me, to mourn with me, to laugh with me, to “heart” with me, as we face our shadows, and find other joys, in earthing, breathing, braiding, growing, cooking and eating, sharing, healing, and thriving side by side 

so that we might learn to be ourselves, but also something else, something that is also you and me, and you in me, and neither you nor me 

Teacher: We need to wrap this class up soon, but I think you’ve noticed that Schryer was deeply influenced by indigenous writers and knowledge keepers of his time. He published a blog in September 2021 that quotes Australian academic and researcher Dr. Tyson Yunkaporta from episode 321 of the Green Dreamer podcast. I’ll read a short excerpt now but encourage you to listen to the entire interview if you get a chance. 


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, corrupt that and everything else. 

Adult student: That’s interesting. It kind of brings us back to the notion of reality and grief, but Yunkaporta doesn’t even mention art in that quote so how do we connect the dots with the arts here?

Teacher (interrupting): It’s a good point but the presence of arts and culture is implied through the notion of the transfer of knowledge and through relationships with humans and the natural world. I think art is there he just did not use the word. Most indigenous cultures at that time did not consider art as separate activity from day-to-day life. It’s interesting to observe Yunkaporta’s prophesy is essentially what is happening in our world today, isn’t it? We’re slowly returning to the natural laws of the land, at least in the habitable parts of the planet, and our social systems are being transformed by the knowledge and expertise of Indigenous peoples, right? It’s true that we had to go through a tremendous amount of suffering to get there – and we still are - but we seem to be on the other side of that elusive just transition that Anjali Appadurai spoke about in episode 23. So that’s why 2021 in the arts in Canada is such an interesting topic and that’s why we spent two classes on it as part of this course on Canada in the year 2021. The arts essentially planted seeds for massive transformation that came later. Artists and cultural workers at the time guided the way for that transformation. Unfortunately, we’re almost out of time for today’s class and my voice is getting tired... I suggest we end the class with another quote from that same blog by Schryer. I’ve just put it in the chat. I suggest we read it out loud as a group, OK? I’ll start and then point to the next person to read out loud. I’ll begin.  

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? Or 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 by listening radically. 

Male Student: 

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.

Female Student: 

I conclude this blog with a quote that I used at the end of episode 1 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.’

Adult Student: 

‘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.’

Teacher: OK. We’ll continue with more about Canada in 2021 next week. Thanks so much for being such an engaged and fun group today. Merci. Miigwech.

(speaking softly under the professor, improvised)

Male Student: Thanks Prof. I’m really exhausted but I learned a lot. 

Female Student: Moi aussi. Merci pour cette classe. Aurevoir 2021. 

Adult Student: Yup, I learned a lot, but I’m bushed. Does anyone want to go for coffee?