e58 huddart – the arts show us what is possible

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.

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

  • I think we have to more broadly, dematerialize and move from a more material culture to some more spiritual culture, a culture that is able to enjoy being here, that experiences an evolutionary shift towards connection with nature, with all of that it entails with the human beings and the enjoyment and celebration of culture and so I think those two perspectives that the arts have an essential and so important and yet difficult challenge before them.

On Gabrielle Roy and the arts

  • Let’s just say that on the previous $20 bill, there’s a quote from Gabrielle Roy. It’s in micro-type, but it’s basically says : ‘how could we have the slightest chance of knowing each other without the arts’. That struck me when I read that and thought about the distances, that have grown up between us, the polarization, the prejudices, all of those things, and how the arts create this bridge between peoples, between lonely people, between dreamers and all people and that the arts have that ability to link us together in a very personal and profound and important ways. 

On Capital 

  • A lot of my time is really now on how do we influence capital flows? How do we integrate the granting economy with all that it has and all of its limits with the rest of the economy: pension funds, institutional investors of various kinds, family offices and so on, because we need all of these resources to be lining up and integrated in a way that can enable grassroots activity to be seen, supported, nurtured, linked to the broader systems change that we urgently need, and that takes the big capital moving so that’s a space that I’m currently exploring and I’m looking for ways to have that conversation.

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 https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-huddart-0b516119/

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(traduction)

C’est maintenant une crise existentielle, et nous avons, d’une certaine manière, une crise conceptuelle, mais le simple fait de comprendre ce que nous sommes et ce que c’est, ce moment, toute l’histoire est derrière nous : chaque livre que vous avez lu, chaque bataille, chaque empire, tout cela est juste là, juste, juste derrière nous. Et maintenant, nous sommes dans cette position de prise de conscience émergente que pour que cette civilisation, sous une certaine forme, continue, nous devons agir rapidement, et les arts peuvent nous aider à le faire en nous donnant un sens partagé de ce moment et de sa gravité, mais aussi de ce qui est possible et de la rapidité avec laquelle ce point de basculement pourrait être atteint.

stephen huddart, balado conscient, 17 juin 2021, montréal

La carrière de Stephen Huddart couvre plusieurs domaines et comprend des postes de direction dans les secteurs privé, public et sans but lucratif. Il a récemment pris sa retraite en tant que président et directeur général de la Fondation de la famille J.W. McConnell, une fondation privée nationale dont le siège social est à Montréal. Avant cela, il a travaillé comme éducateur et développeur de programmes spécialisés dans les questions liées aux animaux et aux êtres humains – notamment un programme de certification et d’étiquetage humanitaire des aliments, la thérapie assistée par les animaux et l’éducation humaine dans les écoles. Dans le secteur privé, il a notamment cofondé l’Alma Street Café, un restaurant communautaire d’aliments naturels et une salle de concert de jazz à Vancouver, et dirigé une entreprise de musique et d’édition à trois chiffres en association avec le chanteur pour enfants Raffi. 

Je connais Stephen depuis de nombreuses années et j’ai eu le plaisir de travailler avec lui sur divers projets et rassemblements stratégiques, dont l’initiative (re)conciliation. Ses idées m’ont profondément influencé et sa présence en tant que mentor et collaborateur a été très appréciée. Bien qu’il ait récemment pris sa retraite, il continue d’être une voix de premier plan, et j’ose dire, un activiste, pour l’innovation sociale et la réforme fiscale. 

Nous avons fait une promenade sonore de 90 minutes le long du Canal Lachine, près de sa maison à St-Henri, Montréal, le 18 juin 2021. Afin de respecter la limite de 55 minutes fixée pour l’épisode, j’ai dû supprimer certaines histoires intéressantes sur Gabriel Roy, l’impact du programme GénieArts sur les apprenants autochtones et ses débuts en tant que cinéaste engagé, mais il y a plus qu’assez pour que vous puissiez vous y plonger : Huddart est une force de la nature. 

De nombreuses citations de cette conversation ont résonné en moi, notamment : 

Sur la dématérialisation

Je pense que nous devons, de manière plus générale, nous dématérialiser et passer d’une culture plus matérielle à une culture plus spirituelle, une culture capable d’apprécier le fait d’être ici, qui connaît un changement évolutif vers la connexion avec la nature, avec tout ce que cela implique pour les êtres humains, ainsi que le plaisir et la célébration de la culture, et donc je pense que ces deux perspectives que les arts ont un défi essentiel et tellement important et pourtant difficile à relever.

Sur Gabrielle Roy et les arts

Disons que sur le précédent billet de 20 dollars, il y a une citation de Gabrielle Roy. Elle est en très petits caractères, mais elle dit en substance : “comment pourrions-nous avoir la moindre chance de nous connaître sans les arts”. Cela m’a frappé lorsque j’ai lu cette citation et que j’ai pensé aux distances qui se sont creusées entre nous, à la polarisation, aux préjugés, à toutes ces choses, et au fait que les arts créent ce pont entre les peuples, entre les personnes seules, entre les rêveurs et tous les gens, et que les arts ont cette capacité de nous relier les uns aux autres d’une manière très personnelle, profonde et importante. 

Sur le capital 

Je consacre maintenant beaucoup de temps à la question de savoir comment influencer les flux de capitaux. Comment intégrer l’économie de la subvention, avec tout ce qu’elle a et toutes ses limites, au reste de l’économie : les fonds de pension, les investisseurs institutionnels de toutes sortes, les bureaux de famille et ainsi de suite, parce que nous avons besoin que toutes ces ressources s’alignent et s’intègrent de manière à permettre aux activités de base d’être vues, soutenues, nourries, liées au changement de système plus large dont nous avons besoin de toute urgence, et cela nécessite le déplacement du grand capital.

Je tiens à remercier Stephen d’avoir pris le temps de me parler, d’avoir partagé sa connaissance approfondie des systèmes d’innovation sociale, sa vision d’ensemble, son optimisme inspirant, sa réflexion stratégique sur les arts et son engagement permanent en faveur du changement systémique et de la durabilité. 

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Stephen, consultez https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-huddart-0b516119/ . 

The post e58 huddart – the arts show us what is possible 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.

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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 http://simplesoundscapes.ca (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 : claude@conscient.ca

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.

Go to conscient.ca

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