Conscient Podcast: e44 bilodeau

Note: photo of Chantal Bilodeau by Yadin Goldman

I think of the arts as planting a seed and activism as being the quickest way you can get from A to B. So activism is like, this is what we’re going to do. We have to do it now. This is a solution. This is what we’re working towards and there’s all kinds of different solutions, but it’s about action. The arts are not about pushing any one solution or telling people, this is what you need to do. It is about saying here’s a problem. Let’s think about it together. Let’s explore avenues we could take. Let’s think about what it means and what it means, not just, should I drive a car or not, but what it means, as in, who are we on this earth and what is our role? How do we fit in the bigger ecosystem of the entire planet? I think the arts are something very good to do that and they are good at changing a culture.

chantal bilodeau, conscient podcast, may 11, 2021, new york

Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator originally from Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, but now based in New York City, the traditional land of the Lenape People. In her capacity as artistic director of The Arctic Cycle, she has been instrumental in getting the theatre and academic communities, as well as audiences in the U.S. and abroad, to engage in climate action through programming that includes live events, talks, publications, workshops, national and international convenings, and, a worldwide distributed theatre festival. 

I first heard about Chantal’s work while I worked at the Canada Council. Whenever someone spoke of theatre and climate change, Chantal’s name would come up as a leader and source of inspiration. I admire her work as a playwright, activist and educator, notably her work as co-curator, with Sarah Garton Stanley, of The 2019-20 Final Cycle: Climate Change and as an editor at Artists and Climate Change.

As I did with all episodes this season, I have integrated excerpts from previous episodes in this case, from e19 reality in this episode, including moments of silence. 

I would like to thank Chantal for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her deep knowledge of theatre, her perspectives on the role of art in the climate emergency and a climate activist work ethic that is second to none.

For more information on Chantal’s work, see and


Pour moi, les arts sont un moyen de semer une graine et le militantisme est le moyen le plus rapide d’aller de A à B. Le militantisme, c’est comme : voilà ce que nous allons faire. Nous devons le faire maintenant. C’est une solution, c’est ce à quoi nous travaillons et il y a toutes sortes de solutions différentes, mais il s’agit d’action. Les arts n’ont pas pour but de promouvoir une solution particulière ou de dire aux gens que c’est ce qu’ils doivent faire, mais de dire qu’il y a un problème. Réfléchissons-y ensemble. Explorons les voies que nous pourrions emprunter. Réfléchissons à ce que cela signifie et ce que cela veut dire, pas seulement, dois-je conduire une voiture ou non, mais ce que cela veut dire, comme dans, qui sommes-nous sur cette terre et quel est notre rôle. Comment nous situons-nous dans le grand écosystème de la planète entière ? Je pense que les arts sont un excellent moyen de le faire et qu’ils sont capables de changer une culture.

chantal bilodeau, balado conscient, 11 mai 2021, new york

Chantal Bilodeau est une dramaturge et traductrice originaire de Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal, mais maintenant basée à New York, la terre traditionnelle du peuple Lenape. En sa qualité de directrice artistique de The Arctic Cycle, elle a joué un rôle déterminant dans l’engagement des communautés théâtrales et universitaires, ainsi que du public aux États-Unis et à l’étranger, en faveur de l’action climatique par le biais d’une programmation comprenant des événements en direct, des conférences, des publications, des ateliers, des réunions nationales et internationales, et , un festival de théâtre distribué dans le monde entier.

J’ai entendu parler du travail de Chantal pour la première fois lorsque je travaillais au Conseil des arts du Canada. Chaque fois que quelqu’un parlait de théâtre et de changement climatique, le nom de Chantal revenait comme un leader et une source d’inspiration. J’admire son travail de dramaturge, d’activiste et d’éducatrice, notamment son travail de co-commissaire, avec Sarah Garton Stanley, de The 2019-20 Final Cycle: Climate Change et en tant que rédactrice a Artists and Climate Change.

Comme je l’ai fait pour tous les épisodes de cette saison, j’ai intégré des extraits d’épisodes précédents dans ce cas, de 19 reality dans cet épisode, y compris des moments de silence. 

Je tiens à remercier Chantal d’avoir pris le temps de s’entretenir avec moi, de m’avoir fait part de sa profonde connaissance du théâtre, de ses perspectives sur le rôle de l’art dans l’urgence climatique et de son éthique de travail d’activiste climatique hors pair.

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Chantal, voir  et

The post e44 bilodeau appeared first on conscient podcast / balado 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.


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 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 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.

my professional services

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 :

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado 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.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

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