Conscient Podcast: e78 milena droumeva – art needs to get on the street

e78 is my #conscientpodcast conversation with acoustic ecology colleague Dr. Milena Droumeva on November 3, 2021 in Vancouver about multiple points of ‘listening’, thoughts about radicality, that imagination can lead to crafting things that we will actually need for survival and how to address profound disconnections. 

Note: There is a slight flame rumble in the background but the voice is clear :-)  

Milena Droumeva is an Associate Professor and Glenfraser Endowed Professor in Sound Studies at Simon Fraser University specializing in mobile media, sound studies, gender, and sensory ethnography. They have worked extensively in educational research on game-based learning and computational literacy, formerly as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Research on Digital Learning at York University. Milena has a background in acoustic ecology and works across the fields of urban soundscape research, sonification for public engagement, as well as gender and sound in video games. Current research projects include sound ethnographies of the city (livable soundscapes), mobile curation, critical soundmapping, and sensory ethnography. Check out Milena’s Story Map, “Soundscapes of Productivity” about coffee shop soundscapes as the office ambience of the creative economy freelance workers and the Livable Soundscapes project. 

Fireplace where we recorded this episode on November 3, 2021 in Vancouver



e78 est ma conversation #baladoconscient avec ma collègue en écologie sonore, Dr. Milena Droumeva, le 3 novembre 2021 à Vancouver, sur les multiples points d'"écoute", ses réflexions sur la radicalité, sur le fait que l'imagination peut conduire à la création de choses dont nous aurons réellement besoin pour survivre, ainsi que sur la manière d'aborder nos déconnexions profondes.  

Note : Il y a un léger grondement de flame en arrière-plan mais la voix est claire :-)  

Milena Droumeva est professeure agrégée et titulaire de la chaire Glenfraser en études sonores à l’université Simon Fraser, spécialisée dans les médias mobiles, les études sonores, le genre et l’ethnographie sensorielle. Elle a beaucoup travaillé dans le domaine de la recherche éducative sur l’apprentissage par le jeu et l’alphabétisation informatique, notamment en tant que boursière postdoctorale à l’Institute for Research on Digital Learning de l’Université York. Milena a une formation en écologie acoustique et travaille dans les domaines de la recherche sur les paysages sonores urbains, de la sonification pour l’engagement public, ainsi que du genre et du son dans les jeux vidéo. Ses projets de recherche actuels comprennent les ethnographies sonores de la ville (paysages sonores habitables), la conservation mobile, la cartographie sonore critique et l’ethnographie sensorielle. Consultez le Story Map de Milena, “Soundscapes of Productivity” sur les ambiances sonores des cafés comme ambiance de bureau des travailleurs indépendants de l’économie créative et le projet Livable Soundscapes.


Je pense que l’art doit descendre dans la rue, car sensibiliser les gens dans une galerie, c’est vraiment s’adresser à ceux qui sont déjà convaincu. Je vais laisser de côté la notion de sensibilisation, car nous sommes tous deux d’accord pour dire que le temps pour cela est passé, mais je pense que l’art doit revenir à l’artisanat, dans le sens où l’imagination peut conduire à la fabrication de choses dont nous aurons réellement besoin pour survivre. Je pense que – et encore une fois, c’est mon opinion radicale – je pense que l’une des raisons pour lesquelles nous voyons ces quantités sans précédent d’anxiété et même ce nouveau terme “anxiété climatique” que nous avons, qui est probablement sur le point d’être défini comme une sorte de condition de santé mentale, est parce que nous sommes si profondément déconnectés de nos propres moyens d’existence.

The post e78 milena droumeva – art needs to get on the street 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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