Surveying The Landscape – Research on New Play Development in Canada

Compiled by Louise Casemore and commissioned by Alberta Playwrights’ Network, “Surveying The Landscape” is a practical research study surrounding the experience of playwrights and status of new play development in Canada, gathering insights from artists and decision makers about the processes and pathways to creating theatre. After an unexpected pandemic interruption, countless conversations and hours of data mining, and valuable time to write and reflect – this study has now been released to the public.

Featuring firsthand accounts from hundreds of playwrights in english and french from across Canada, the “Surveying the Landscape” study contains:

  • a database of pre-pandemic contacts, programs, and submission information for play development centres, theatre companies, producing festivals, publishers, and funders
  • an Executive Summary, offering a quick glance at the big picture
  • the full report, featuring detailed recommendations to organizations and artists in the sector, gorgeous cover art by Bianca Guimarães De Manuel, and illustrative design by Kelsi Kalmer

The study can be accessed here:

Feedback and questions are warmly encouraged, with an invitation to contact Research Coordinator Louise Casemore at with any inquiries.

Art and the World After This

In Art and the World After This, Metcalf Innovation Fellow David Maggs outlines four interrelated disruptions faced by Canada’s non-profit arts sector and identifies the unique value art brings to society. As an artist, academic, and sustainability scholar, Maggs brings a unique perspective to the subject of disruption and transformation. The report is informed by consultations and conversations with numerous arts workers, funders, and academics from across the country and beyond.

Collectively, we are facing the disruption of activity, stemming from COVID-19; the disruption of society, emerging from ballooning social unrest; the disruption of industry forced by the digital revolution; and finally, the disruption of world, rooted in the existential threat of the climate crisis. Maggs explores how the arts can serve a more applied and accountable role in society as a catalyst for meeting the profound challenges we face. The report makes the case for how this must be done not by instrumentalizing the arts, but by the arts doing that which only the arts can do.

To proactively tackle the world’s complexity, Maggs argues for a shift towards a system-approach across the arts sector that can enable innovation and learning through a direct relationship to research and development (R&D). He introduces us to the idea of the complexity economy and asks us to consider three questions:

  1. What are we doing here anyway? To prepare for deep transformative change, this first question attempts to identify the arts sector’s essential value proposition.
  2. Is this an ecosystem or a zoo? The shift from a paradigm of ‘production and presentation’ to innovation will require adopting an integrated systems-approach.
  3. Can we learn our way out of this? This question considers the broad issue of the arts sector’s capacity to learn, especially through the lens of R&D.

Driven by a sense of urgency and optimism, Art and the World After This makes the case for grounding the arts firmly in action as a powerful force for creating a better world.

The report can be downloaded here.

Artichoke Dance Company: Just Gowanus


SATURDAY, JULY 10TH – 2:00-4:00PM

SUNDAY, JULY 11TH – 2:00-4:00PM

SATURDAY, JULY 17TH – 2:00-4:00PM

SUNDAY, JULY 18TH – 2:00-4:00PM



Artichoke Dance Company presents Just Gowanus: An Interactive Performance Tour that intersects performance and environmental education to bring awareness to the neighborhood of Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Both the Gowanus Canal and neighborhood have historically faced environmental challenges due to decades of industrial pollution. The Gowanus Canal was named New York City’s first superfund site because of the extreme toxicity in the canal. Remediation is finally underway, and the largest scale rezoning in New York City in 20 years is being proposed for the area. Just Gowanus is an experiential walking tour of the neighborhood that brings audiences to location that are significant to the remediation of the canal, rezoning, and other sustainability initiatives in the area. Interactive experiences engage tour goers in activism and visioning, and performances reflect on the areas complex history and contentious future.

This project will be Artichoke Dance Company’s third event in Gowanus and aims to illuminate the area’s history from an environmental justice perspective.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Blossoming 2021: A LONG TIME COMING

The Vagrancy announces BLOSSOMING: a new play reading series; a virtual edition.

About this event

A LONG TIME COMING by Weston Gaylord; directed by Hannah Wolf. 

Featuring *Sharon Lawrence, *Rob Nagle, Bree Wernicke, *Jennifer Chang, *David Toshiro Crane, *Cathy Diane Tomlin, Randolph Thompson, and Schuyler Girion.

Post-Show Talkback with Brittney S. Wheeler at 7:30PM PST via Youtube:

Synopsis: A forest is growing in Norway, planted to provide paper for a set of texts that will be printed in the year 2114. Each year between 2014-2114, an author is selected to write a text for this Future Library which will be preserved, unread, until the printing. The play tells two intertwining stories of one family: a novelist in 2022 who puts his mother’s life story into words, his great-granddaughter and her son in 2114 who journey from a California farm to a Norwegian forest for the opening of the Library, and a secret that has waited a century to come to light. Examining the voices we choose to preserve and those that are lost forever, A LONG TIME COMING looks toward a future that holds both disaster and hope. 

Inspired by The Future Library Project, an artwork conceived by Katie Paterson in 2014 and commissioned by the City of Oslo’s Slow Space public art program.


About BLOSSOMING: a new play reading series

The Vagrancy annually selects six playwrights with diverse perspectives to join their playwrights’ group. Beginning each fall, the writers meet regularly as they craft their plays. The Vagrancy hosts two development workshops wherein the plays are explored with the playwright, actors, and a director in a rehearsal setting. This year’s theme is “History Repeats Itself.”

BLOSSOMING is the first public reading of these six original plays which have been rehearsed, recorded and edited into a virtual staged reading presentation. Be inspired, have a glass of wine, and help the plays’ development along with post-reading audience and artist talkbacks via Youtube Live’s chat option.

After reserving a ticket, you will receive a link to the pre-recorded play 15 minutes before the performance time. The link to the play will expire after 7 days.

*The Actor appears through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. This production is presented under the auspices of the Actors Equity Los Angeles Membership Company Rule

These readings were made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs & is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Centre for Sustainable Curating Launch Event

We would like to invite you to join us on May 27, from 1-5pm EST for the launch of the Centre for Sustainable Curating.

The Centre for Sustainable Curating is located in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University. The CSC encourages research into waste, pollution, and climate crisis, and the development of exhibitions and artworks with low carbon footprints.

Over the next year, the CSC will engage in a year-long visioning exercise to imagine, collaborate, and discuss the ways we can take seriously the goal of the Centre to be sustainable in all ways: that is, sustainable in teaching about best ecological practices for exhibition making, sustainable in how we might engage with the world around us, and sustainable in the outcomes built through our efforts.

At the launch event, we will introduce the Centre, including the work of the two inaugural postdocs. A panel will consider Radical Pedagogy and Curation, focusing on the expansive forms of teaching and learning that can take place in museum and exhibition spaces. And we will conclude with a second launch, that of the Synthetic Collective’s catalogue Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide For Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions.


1-1:45pm — Intro to the CSC by Kirsty Robertson and Kelly Wood with presentations by CSC postdocs Zoë Heyn-Jones and Amanda White
1:45-2pm – Break
2-3:45pm — Curating and Radical Pedagogy (Christiana Abraham, Christina Battle, Eugenia Kisin, Gabby Moser, Ryan Rice), hosted by Sarah E.K. Smith
3:45-4pm – Break
4-5pm — Launch of Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide For Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions, Synthetic Collective with artists Christina Battle and Lan Tuazon

Learn more about the CSC here:

Arts + Environmental Justice Symposium

Join us as we discuss and imagine the intersection of environmental justice and participatory public art during a global pandemic.

Date and time
Mon, May 17, 2021, 12:00 PM –
Fri, May 21, 2021, 5:00 PM EDT



About this event

The environmental and climate justice movements are rooted in the understanding that communities of color and low income communities experience all environmental issues first and worst, including climate change. They also recognize the root of the problem is in an extractive economy that exploits the planet and people for profit. As climate change increases the pressures on our ecological, political and social structures, grassroots community-driven movements that utilize participatory public art and transformative cultural practices are even more essential for change. 

The Mural Arts Institute is hosting a virtual and free week-long symposium looking at the transformative work happening at the intersection of community-based cultural practice and environmental justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has further stressed the same communities already grappling with acute climate and environmental crises, both economically and in terms of inequitable health care access and outcomes. The compounding injustices of our social systems and extractive economic model are unsustainable and impossible to ignore any longer. Calls for transformative change are growing louder. In times like these, the essential roles that artists and cultural workers play in communities becomes clear including helping us heal, stay connected, make meaning out of pain, imagine our better future together, and take collective action. 

This annual symposium invites artists, activists, scientists, scholars and governmental officials to discuss how creative people and practices are helping us meet the challenges of this moment, and how we can build on that to make a just transition a reality. These changemakers will be logging in from Tribal, urban, rural, and suburban communities throughout the nation for this virtual symposium during the week of May 17-21, 2021, during 12:00-5:00 PM EST. Mark your calendars and sign up to make sure to get updates and the full agenda.

The Symposium has been strategized and designed in collaboration with Alexis Frasz and Helicon Collaborative. The Mural Arts Institute is supported by The JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Media sponsorship is provided by Next City and Grist. 

Schedule of Events: 

Opening Symposium Remarks

Monday, May 17th

12:30-1:00pm EDT
Jane Golden, Founder and Executive Director of Mural Arts PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia City Councilmember Kendra Brooks

The Cultures of a Just Transition


Monday, May 17th

1:00-2:30pm EDT
Join a conversation with leaders in movements for native sovereignty, disability justice and climate justice to talk about why following the leadership from those most historically marginalized is the key to creating a better future for all of us. They will also talk about how deeply rooted cultural values and creative practices inform and guide their work. Speakers include Judith LeBlanc (Native Organizers Alliance, NDN Collective, The Natural History Museum), Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan (Movement Generation, Climate Justice Alliance), Patty Berne (Sins Invalid). This conversation will be moderated by Alexis Frasz of Helicon Collaborative. 

Land and Liberation: 

Ecological Freedom as Creative Practice 

Tuesday, May 18th

1:00-2:30pm EDT
Pursuing food sovereignty through community agriculture is a way of life. Land based practices can also be liberatory, rooted in resistance and self determination. From Indigenous calls for Land Back, to reparations for ancestors of slaves and the Black freedom farmer movement, to refugees sewing seeds in their clothing to bring to their new communities – agriculture and community sovereignty go hand in hand. Join Indigenous artists and activists Christina Castro co-founder of Three Sisters Collective and Israel Haros co-founder of Alas de Agua Art Collective from Oga Po’ogeh (Santa Fe, New Mexico) in conversation with Carlton Turner, Lead Artist and Director of Sipp Culture as they explore the intersection of farming and creative community-based practices. This conversation will be moderated by Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large, Kendra Brooks. 

Climate and the Carceral State: 

Imagining an Abolitionist Future 

Tuesday, May 18th 

3:00-4:30pm EDT
Join Police Free Penn and Fossil Free Penn for a presentation and creative workshop envisioning environmental and racial justice together. The roads to racial justice and climate justice are one and the same. This event makes the case that neither climate justice nor police and prison abolition can be achieved without the other. We will explore how these movements can work together for a more just and sustainable future. How is the fossil fuel industry tied to institutions of policing and incarceration? What does justice look like for the environment, and all of those who inhabit it? What can art, creativity, and imagination contribute to abolitionism and climate justice? This workshop will be creative and interactive. Please bring a writing utensil, collage materials, or creative medium of your choice with you to this interactive workshop. This workshop will be led by Police Free Penn and Fossil Free Penn and moderated by Katelyn Rivas, poet and Manager of the Public Art & Civic Engagement Capacity Building Initiative at the Mural Arts Institute. 

Clean Air + Equity During a Global Pandemic

Wednesday, May 19th 

1:00-2:30pm EDTThe interconnectedness of our ecological, social, and health crises have never been so clearly visible as they are today. This conversation will center artists and environmental justice leaders who are champions for clean air and equity, as they explore the compounding impacts of COVID-19 on the same communities already harmed by environmental and social injustices, and reflect upon how arts based strategies can disrupt, educate, and support community centered decision-making. Dr. Catherine Garoupa White is the Executive Director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition where she spearheads policy advocacy for clean air in the San Joaquin Valley. Kim Abeles is an artist, Professor Emeritus at California State University Northridge and a Guggenheim Fellow who innovated a method to create images from smog captured from the air. Rosten Woo is a designer, writer, and educator that produces civic-scale works for grassroots and community rooted organizations. This conversation will be moderated by Layel Camargo, Ecological Arts and Culture Manager at The Center for Cultural Power. 

Practicing Environmental Justice for a More Just Future

Interactive “Implosion” Demonstration

Wednesday, May 19th 

3:00-4:30pm EDT
In this session, Mural Art’s Environmental Justice Department will facilitate a LIVE “Implosion,” a creative participatory research tool for building coalitions and exposing the hidden connections that fuel systems of environmental injustices. The implosion activity is a tool for activating networks to discover the complex interconnections and relationships inherent in our life and practices. What does the fossil fuel industry have to do with plastics? How are hidden subsidies driving production and consumption? How do we leverage every day experiences to build more effective movements?In this session, we will work together to uncover the economic and political systems at work within a seemingly simple object. In order to dismantle the corrupt systems and corporations that benefit from concealment, it is essential for us to understand and realize our interconnectedness. This practice is an accessible tool to help us dive deeper, past the camouflage of globalization and capitalism, and understand how EJ movements can be made more powerful through collective knowledge building and recognition of our interrelatedness. 

Water Is Life: 

Reflections from an Environmental and Cultural Emergency

Thursday, May 20th 

1:00-2:30pm EDT
The United States is in a water crisis. Nearly a tenth of the population does not have access to clean drinking water and millions of Americans cannot pay their skyrocketing water and sewage bills. Children and families from Philadelphia to Fresno to Tribal Nations, are exposed to heightened levels of lead, PFAS, and other toxins. But communities are more than the structural violence they face, and the role of community-driven artists and cultural workers are working to help communities heal from structural violence, reclaim their right to clean water, and find pathways forward that protect and celebrate water. From Boston, Massachusetts will be joined by Erin Genia, Sisseton-Wahpetin Oyate / Odawa multidisciplinary artist, educator and community organizer currently an Artist-In-Residence with the City of Boston working with the Department of Emergency Affairs. Emma Robbins is a Diné artist, activist and community organizer who serves as the Executive Director of the Navajo Water Project, part of the human rights nonprofit DigDeep Water. From Flint, Michigan, we will be joined by Joe Schipani, Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project who also serves as a City Historic District Commissioner and Vice President of the Martis/Luna Food Pantry. This conversation will be moderated by South Carolina Lowcountry artist Benny Starr, inaugural One Water Artist-in-Residence at the US Water Alliance, who was named Grist’s 50 Fixers of 2021.

Film Festival

Thursday, May 20th

3:00-5:00pm EDT
Cities who have worked with the Mural Arts Institute’s Arts and Environment Capacity Building Initiative have created short documentaries about environmental justice issues in their communities, and what a more just future would look like. Join us for live screenings of these 8 films from Akron, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Kern County, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and two films from various movements in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chad Eric-Smith, Director of Communications for Mural Arts Philadelphia will moderate a live discussion with film-makers, artists, and experts from each city. Check out @muralarts on Instagram to get a sneak peak of the films. 

Art of Activism: 

Live from East Austin

Thursday, May 20th

5:30-6:30pm EDT
Join us for a conversation about the role of artists as environmental activists. Artist Ginger Rudolph will moderate a conversation with Raasin McInstosh, Founder of Raasin in the Sun, and artists J. Muzacz and Carmen Rangel, co-founders of The Mosaic Workshop at Something Cool Studios. The artists will discuss their role in the Arts and Environment Capacity Building Initiative at the Mural Arts Institute, and share about the ways they have been creating opportunities for other artists during the pandemic, combating gentrification in East Austin, and using the arts and creative practice to disrupt environmental injustices faced by the East Austin community.

Closing Symposium Remarks

Friday, May 21st

12:30-1:00pm EDT
Magda Martinez, Chief Operating Officer of Mural Arts PhiladelphiaNetanel Portier, Director of the Mural Arts Institute 

The Story of a New Economy


Friday, May 21st

1:00-2:30pm EDT
The idea that “the economy” is a thing, independent of human beings or nature, is one of our most pervasive and harmful cultural myths. Our hyper-capitalist economy is parasitic on humans and incompatible with a living planet, and yet many people still struggle to imagine an alternative. Reinventing the economy will require new laws, policies, and financing tools–but it will also require us to tell ourselves a new story about who we are, what is valuable, and our relationship to each other and the natural world. Hear from the creative thinkers and doers who are weaving together the structural and narrative interventions we need for a more just and sustainable economic future—debt abolishment, cooperatives, and Guaranteed Basic Income. Speakers are Esteban Kelley (US Federation of Worker Cooperatives), Laura Zabel (Springboard for the Arts); and Dan and Hilary Powell (Bank Job). This conversation will be moderated by Oscar Perry Abello, Senior Economic Correspondent at Next City.


Women Eco Artists Dialog: Art as Strategy

Women Eco Artists Dialog – WEAD
Art + Activism Web Series Episode No. 6“Art as Strategy” with Aviva RahmaniSunday, May 23rd 7:00 – 8:00pm EDT (4:00 – 5:00pm PDT)
Please register at Eventbrite

I sometimes think of myself as a warrior against ecocide. Beauty is my shield – but art, music, law, science and stubborn persistence are my weapons. In this event for WEAD, I will focus on two projects in depth, Ghost Nets (1990-2000), and how it morphed into other work including a theory of change and The Blued Trees Symphony (2015-present). Both continue. The former restored a coastal town dump to flourishing wetlands on a remote island in Maine. The latter composed a continental scale aerial symphony out of tree-notes. It contested the interpretation of eminent domain law by claiming copyright protection for a sonified biogeographic installation and in a mock trial, won an injunction against a corporation. -Aviva Rahmani

WEAD’S ART + ACTIVISM WEB SERIES is grounded in the belief that art can be a powerful tool for raising awareness and prompting social change. In this series we explore ways that artists actively engage in creating climate solutions and promoting sustainability.

(Top image: Listening to the Tree, Toya Lillard as “Oxygenia Kelp, the Tree Translator” listens to – then translates music about ecocide and copyright infringement “emanating” from a cut tree at the mock trial, “I Speak for The Trees” produced by A Blade of Grass for The Blued Trees Symphony, held at the Cardozo School of Law in New York, NY. Photograph by Eric McGregor, 2018.)

Call for CFAR Project Incubator, a residency opportunity for Oregon artists

Applications due: June 1, 2021

The CFAR Project Incubator (CPI) is a partnership between the University of Oregon Center for Art Research and Knight Campus for Accelerated Scientific Impact that affords Oregon artists working in any medium the opportunity to explore and conceptualize new work as a part of a vibrant, interdisciplinary research community that is supported by cutting-edge facilities and technical staff.

Generous support is available to CPI residents who will live independently, will occupy a research space with access to specialized facilities on campus for two to eight weeks depending on project needs, and will be given a courtesy appointment as a UO Research Fellow with access to general campus resources for one year including libraries, museums, archives, and services as well as technical assistance, facilities, and resources that are specific to their project. This program is open to any artistic practice, approach, and/or subject matter and does not have to focus on science or to be rooted in scientific inquiry.

For further information and to apply, go to Call for CFAR Project Incubator.

Image: Knight Campus North Millrace Entrance. Photo Credit: Bruce Damonte

Announcing the CSPA Quarterly’s New Rising Co-Editors

The CSPA QUARTERLY is proud to announce our rising Co-Lead Editors, who will be sustaining the publication and transitioning to eventually become Lead Editors.

Jamie Morra is an art historian living and working between the United States, Scotland, and Spain. Her interests include the aesthetics of ecology, human-animal relations, and ways in which technology has come to mitigate the formal qualities of everyday life. Her background in theories of art and the environment inform her work with artists as a facilitator, producer, project manager, researcher and writer. In 2014 Morra co-founded Residency 108 to invite artists to share her deep connection to the natural world and abiding concern for the issues facing our planet. The program aims to underscore the connections, both formally and conceptually, between art and nature. Morra holds a B.A. from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at New York University, an M.A. and a Curatorial Certificate from Hunter College.

Evelyn O’Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter, where she teaches, researches and writes about environmental theatre and performance. Published work includes the monograph Weathering Shakespeare: Audiences and Open Air Performance(2020), in addition to articles and book chapters on theatre, performance, sea and mountain-scapes, weather, climate change and reproductive rights. She has also written short pieces for Waymaking: an anthology women’s adventure writing, poetry and artAn Ecotopian Lexicon and Tree Tales.

Her collaborative research in the field has included working with scientists and meteorologists from the UK Met Office and University on a Natural Environment Research Council Climate Stories project, in addition to a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council project on Atmospheric Theatre: Open Air Performance and the Environment, with Chloe Preedy. She is also a collaborator on a global SSHRC practice-research collaboration Cymbeline in the Anthropocene, led by Randall Martin.

She is from a mostly grey place called Baile an Bhóthair (the town on the road) in Dublin, Ireland, and now lives and works in another mostly grey place called Exeter, England, where she can be found struggling up hills on her bike, never dressed for the weather and still surprised, heartstopped by the city’s occasionally-magnificent light.

The CSPA Quarterly is a publication arm of the Centre for Sustainable Arts. It is meant to give a longer format and deeper space for exploration than some online platforms provide, and to reflect the myriad ways in which sustainability in the arts is discussed, approached and practiced. The publication features reviews, interviews, features, artist pages, essays, reflections and photos. It is a snapshot of a moment in time, a look at the many discussions in sustainability and the arts through the lens of a particular theme. It is part of a rigorous dialogue.

Jamie and Evelyn will be working together to:

  • Develop an archival, digital publication of the Q
  • Develop and sustain new income streams for the Q
  • Plan issues for 2024 and beyond, assuming sole Lead Editorship in that year
  • Sustain the Quarterly and its continued relevance.

They will be working with the guidance and support of current Lead Editor Meghan Moe Beitiks, whose final issue will be Q40.

We are incredibly grateful to be bringing on these prolific, skilled, insightful and talented writers and administrators, and look forward to their vision for the Quarterly as it changes and adapts over time!

Questions? Please email

Ecoart in Action

I am excited to share the forthcoming publication (2022) Ecoart in Action Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities!

Edited by
Amara Geffen
Ann Rosenthal
Chris Fremantle
Aviva Rahmani 

How do we educate those who feel an urgency to address our environmental and social challenges? What ethical concerns do art-makers face who are committed to a deep green agenda? How can we refocus education to emphasize integrative thinking and inspire hope? What role might art play in actualizing environmental resilience? Compiled from 67 members of the Ecoart Network, a group of more than 200 internationally established practitioners, EcoArt in Action stands as a field guide that offers practical solutions to critical environmental challenges. Organized into three sections—Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations—each contribution provides models for ecoart practice that are adaptable for use within a variety of classrooms, communities, and contexts. It will come out fall 2021, published by New Village Press working with New York University Press for marketing and distribution. Educators developing project and place-based learning curricula, citizens, policymakers, scientists, land managers, and those who work with communities (human and other) will find inspiration for integrating art, science, and community-engaged practices into on-the-ground environmental projects. If you share a concern for the environmental crisis and believe art can provide new options, this book is for you!

For more information or to purchase a copy click here!