July 21, 2023
July 2023 : Growth, degrowth, postgrowth

Thanks to everyone who has already responded to our Network Intake Form. We are excited by your enthusiastic responses so far, and truly amazed by the abundance of knowledge, diverse experiences, insightful perspectives, and creative spirit present within this network. This signals a strong call to us at SCALE for the next level of action. Your responses will soon enable us to collaborate with you on programming that will accelerate and strengthen our collective response to the ecological crisis from the arts and culture community. We will announce regular updates and opportunities in this newsletter regarding our Assembly, Roundtable, and One-on-one initiatives as soon as we have exciting news to share. If you haven’t yet done so, you can still fill out the form. The more responses we receive, the more effective our programming and connection weaving will become. 

As you know, SCALE’s commitment to its values and principles permeates every facet of our work, equally encompassing external activities and internal operations. With this in mind, we have recently embarked on a collective exercise to review our practices and ensure our models do not inadvertently replicate the very structures we strive to overcome. Through an approach rooted in creativity, collaboration, and care, SCALE aims to build upon existing efforts and prototype new organizational foundations from which we can collectively thrive. In a commitment to radical honesty, we have been documenting this exercise and plan to openly share both the process and results with the SCALE community. You can expect more on this in our next newsletter.  And lastly – because where else, if not here, should we hold fast to the idea of a regenerative and more just planet – we’d like to close by sharing this provocative and playful POST GROWTH TOOLKIT developed by the Disnovation.org collective. The toolkit includes a board game and a set of interviews exploring the foundations of today’s political and ecological crises. It  “invites us to challenge the dominant narratives about growth and progress, and re-envision social metabolism through an understanding of the energy it requires, reconnecting human survival with the living, material qualities of the biosphere…”.  Art can invite reflection, challenge norms, and envision alternative futures. By engaging with the complex relationship between our economic system and the ecological crisis,  we have the ability to provoke meaningful conversations and inspire transformative action. How can we continue to explore these connections through art? How can artists and creative thinkers contribute to the discourse around degrowth and the urgent need for a sustainable future?  Thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to arts and climate action. 

Until next time,  

Julia Matamoros

Claude Schryer

Claude Schryer (1959, Ottawa, he/him) believes the arts, in the context of decolonization, can play a much more impactful role in shaping our collective future. He is a franco-ontarian sound and media artist and arts administrator. He holds a MM in composition from McGill U and was actively involved in the acoustic ecology and electroacoustic music communities in the 80s & 90s. From 1999 until his retirement in 2020 he held management positions at Canada Council for the Arts in Inter-Arts funding, partnership development and as a senior strategic advisor. He currently produces the weekly conscient podcast exploring art and the ecological crisis, which also serves as his personal learning and unlearning journey. He co-founded SCALE in 2021 where he has been a member of the Mission Circle and is currently chair of the board of directors. He will be stepping down from these positions in September 2023 to leave room for other voices and focus his time on artistic creation while continuing to participate in conversations about art, listening and the ecological crisis. SCALE came about from a strong desire from artists and climate activists to work together to create a ‘national’ platform to further engage the arts and cultural sectors in the climate emergency,” says Claude. As his term as Mission Circle member and Board Chair comes to a close, his wish is to see this organism  evolve into “an ‘all hands on deck’ social movement where all creative voices are welcome and needed”. He is convinced that “SCALE will play an increasingly important role as the ecological crisis deepens.”

For this month’s spotlight, we had the privilege to speak to Chantal Bilodeau and Joan Sullivan from Artists & Climate Change. Read below what they had to tell us about this one-of-a-kind digital platform and visit their website directly to learn more. 

What exactly is Artists & Climate Change? 

Artists & Climate Change (A&CC) is an online platform that highlights the diverse responses of global artists to the complex and interrelated crises we face in the Anthropocene: climate disruption, loss of biodiversity, environmental injustice, disregard of Indigenous sovereignty, and the degradation of our democracies. Readers can access 10-years’ worth of interviews, articles, essays, and podcasts by and about artists representing a wide variety of disciplines. The platform also features series dedicated to specific topics, and a database of university programs and courses that use the arts as a point of entry to talk about the climate crisis. 

What need does it respond to? 

A&CC was founded in 2012 by Chantal Bilodeau, playwright and artistic director of the Arts  & Climate Initiative, in response to Bill McKibben’s rhetorical question: “Where are the books? The plays? The goddamn operas?” Over the past decade, A&CC has published over 600 pieces confirming that artists from all walks and stripes have responded to the call.  

Who is this platform for?

A&CC is a great resource for artists, curators, researchers, educators, and students interested in the intersection of the arts and the climate crisis.

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Earth Dreams: A Summer Party for Grief & Love – July 8 Artist studio Nocturnal Medicine will host a festival in Toronto that centers both joy and sorrow, dancing and meditation, as we confront our planetary health crisis. The urban gathering –  equal parts DJ dance party and urban ritual –  invites people to confront the painful truths of our planetary health crisis, explore where progress lies, and celebrate emergent possibilities for the future of Earth. Designed as a party with a meditative journey, this event will encompass collective solidarity, dancing, and moments of contemplation, all drawing from the cultural and ecological histories and futures of The Bentway. This will be a free event!


People, Planet, and Performance: From the Global South to the WorldJuly 5 – 19 The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA), Centre for Socially Engaged Theatre (CSET), and Theatre Emissary have collaborated to create a captivating series that explores climate justice through the lens of theatre and performance with a focus on the Global South. The interdisciplinary and intercultural series consists of seven episodes and two articles. Throughout the series, a diverse range of guests, including theatre practitioners, climate change activists, and scholars from the Global South, share their insights and perspectives on various topics related to the overarching theme. See upcoming conversations here

Irresistible Neighbourhoods: Ottawa 2044 – Call for submissions, July 14 deadline Irresistible Neighbourhoods: Ottawa 2044 is a new play development project from the National Arts Centre. You are invited to cast your mind twenty years into the future of the place where you live. What would make your neighbourhood… irresistible? The NAC is asking three emerging Ottawa playwrights to walk through their neighbourhoods and offer possible futures in the form of a radio play. Your ideas are wanted for a journey through the place you call home, in which the first step in bringing about regenerative futures is having the courage to imagine them.


Climate Change Theatre Action Festival – Sept 17 – Dec 23 Climate Change Theatre Action is a worldwide festival of short plays about the climate crisis presented by the Arts & Climate Initiative in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.  50 writers from around the world were commissioned to write five-minute plays inspired by Octavia Butler’s “All Good Things Must Begin.” The plays are available at no cost to anyone who wants to organize an event in their community in the fall using one or several of the plays. Events can be readings, public performances, radio shows, podcasts, film adaptations – the possibilities are endless! Organizers can design their event to reflect their own aesthetic and community, and include additional material by local artists.


Art for Change Prize on the theme of Regeneration –  July 17 deadline Applications are now open for the free-to-enter Art for Change Prize, an international art initiative from M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery, open to artists working in the first five years of their career. This year’s prize asks artists to respond creatively to the theme of Regeneration. A total prize fund of £20,000 will be split between six winners. Winning artists will also have the unique opportunity to exhibit their work at Saatchi Gallery in London.


Photograhy4Humanity Global Contest on Climate Justice – August 31 deadline



Harnessing the power of art to tackle the climate pollution crisis  Artist, activist, and former Mission Circle Member of SCALE, Benjamin Von Wong, has teamed up with Greenpeace to deliver a compelling message: a colossal five-meter tall machine, endlessly churning out plastic, starkly laying bare the toxic union of fossil fuels and plastic production. #PerpetualPlastic Machine was exhibited at the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations in Paris, France. Its powerful message to global leaders? Plastic pollution begins right from its inception. Greenpeace is calling for an ambitious Global Plastics Treaty that must stop runaway plastic production and use.


Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis Dear Earth: Art and Hope in a Time of Crisis is a group show inspired by artist Otobong Nkanga’s suggestion that ‘caring is a form of resistance’. The exhibition highlights the ways in which artists are helping to reframe and deepen our psychological and spiritual responses to the climate crisis, hoping to inspire joy and empathy as well as promote a sense of political and social activism. The 15 artists explore the interdependence of ecologies and ecosystems, as well as our emotional connection with nature.


Canada’s leading media companies unite in a pledge for climate action The newly formed group Canadian Broadcasters for Sustainability was announced in June at the Banff World Media Festival. Its 22 members include Asian Television Network, Bell Media, CBC/Radio-Canada, Corus Entertainment, OUTtv, Rogers and Télé-Québec. Their work is set to address five main goals, including collaborating on sustainability initiatives to avoid duplication; increasing the scope and impact of sustainability actions; and consulting with marginalized communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change. SCALE celebrates this remarkable milestone, showcasing the impressive ability and potential of Canada’s arts and culture sector to collaboratively drive substantial change with regard to climate action.


Can art change attitudes toward climate change? (Hint: yes it can) A new study found that using art to convey environmental data eased political perceptions about climate change. As wildfires rage in Canada and New York City recovers from a week of smoke, the study’s findings could help scientists more effectively communicate their research at a pivotal point in the future of the planet.



Books to help you stay inspired to fight climate change  Yale Climate Connections has put together this assembly of bookshelf titles that offer grit, gumption, and inspiration. The 12 titles have been sorted into six pairs that address this challenging moment at different levels and from different angles. Whatever their age, aptitudes, or aspirations, readers will find authors who can reach them where they live.


Sensing Earth Cultural Quests Across a Heated Globe – book Sensing Earth includes essays, interviews, poetry, manifestos, choreographic prompts, speculative fiction, and case studies operating at the intersection of art and activism, culture and nature. All texts explore what sensorial foundations are necessary to address systemic failures, and what routes to take for keeping us moving on this planet, physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Penguin Green Ideas Collection –  book series In twenty short books, Penguin Classics brings you the ideas that have changed the way we think and talk about the living Earth. As life on Earth has become irrevocably altered by humans, visionary thinkers around the world have raised their voices to defend the planet. Their words have endured through the decades, becoming the classics of a movement. Together, these books show the richness of environmental thought, and point the way to a fairer, saner, greener world. 


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