Welcome, Orientation, Who Are We—Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening at Emerson College

Welcome, Orientation, Who Are We—Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening at Emerson College


Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you. I’d like to begin by acknowledging
the traditional owners of the land on which this
event is taking place, the Massachusett and the Wampanoag people, and pay my respect to their elders, past, present, and future. Hello. Welcome to Boston and Emerson College. Thank you for being here. I’m Jamie Gahlon. I’m a co-founder and the
interim director of HowlRound. HowlRound, for those who
may not be as familiar, is a free and open platform
for theatre makers worldwide, that amplifies progressive
disruptive ideas about the art form, and facilitates connection
between diverse practitioners. We’re organized as a commons. A commons is a social structure that invites open participation
around shared values. At HowlRound, our core values
are generosity and abundance, community and collaboration, diverse aesthetics, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility, and global citizenship. While many of our tools such
as the HowlRound Journal, HowlRound TV, and the World Theatre Map are primarily online, we recognize that nothing can replace the power of
in-person conversation. Since our founding in 2011, we have produced over 20 convenings on a wide range of topics, with combined attendance of
over 1,000 theatre makers. I’m gonna give you a little bit of context for how this convening came about. So as the dust settled after the 2016 US Presidential election, we began discussing what
HowlRound’s response could be to the overt
discord and divisiveness that had become the new
normal in the country. The late, great Grace Lee Boggs once said, “A revolution that is based “on the people exercising their creativity “in the midst of devastation “is one of the great historical
contributions of mankind.” And we couldn’t agree more. So in April 2017, we announced an open call
for convening proposals called the HowlRound Challenge. We asked the whole theatre
field to submit ideas for the most urgently-needed conversations that demanded in-person time, with the idea that we could
really purpose our resources towards incubating these
ideas and seeding action, to not only make a better
theatre, but a better world. We got over 70 proposals. And it’s no surprise to you that Theatre in the Age of Climate Change convening quickly rose to the top. And that’s where we are today. It’s pretty wild. I can’t believe it’s happening. So over the past eight months, I and my colleagues at HowlRound have had the privilege
of working with Chantal and Roberta and Elizabeth to co-organize this gathering. By my calculations, we’ve met over 20 times and spent roughly 50 hours on video calls organizing this meeting. So you can really imagine
how thrilled we are to be in the room with you today. I also wanna note that yesterday, in an act of convergence, was, it’s the International
Conference of Mayors this weekend here in Boston. And yesterday, there was a one-day Mayors Climate Summit that happened like, just down the street. So yeah, it’s pretty wild. We also want to let you know that we’ve thought about sustainability in making this event. We realize we’re creating an
impact on our environment. We’ve done our best to purchase everything from sustainable sources, and we’ve also offset the estimated 14.912 tons of CO2 emissions caused by this gathering, thanks to carbonfund.org. If you haven’t checked them
out, I’d really recommend it. They have this amazing event calculator where you can put in like,
very specific things, and they will come back with your offset and how much you need to pay to do that. I wanna share a little bit more about convening documentation. So at HowlRound, it’s
extremely important to us that what happens over these three days is shared with the field at large. You know, we were able
to bring about 30 of you here in person. It goes without saying that
there’s so many more people that we wish we could have brought, and that there are literally
thousands of people that we want in this conversation. So we’re really asking you to be delegates in this experience, and to bring the learning and conversations that we have here back to your communities with you. We’re doing our part to make this convening
virtually accessible, so you’ll notice the cameras. You’ll notice that I’m
speaking into a microphone. We’re live streaming most of
the convening on HowlRound TV, so people can tune in online in real time or they can access the video archive shortly after each event. Whenever we are live streaming, we’re gonna ask that you speak into a mic to ensure good audio quality. And we thank you in advance for the patience that this may require. We have planned for this, we have people running mics, but we recognize it’s a little
out of the normal practice. In addition to video documentation, we’ll be taking notes
throughout the whole gathering, both in the full group sessions and also in the working groups. These notes are going to
be used in the creation of our official convening report, which we’ve commissioned to
have MJ Halberstadt write. So please, we ask that you remain candid and just understand that
it’s really important that we capture all of the ideas that are generated over this weekend. And that’s why we’re taking notes. We’ll also be taking
photos at various times. And I wanna say that this
level of documentation, and more importantly this whole gathering, would not be possible without an amazing team
of HowlRound staff. So Stokely, Vijay, Ramona, Abigail, and our summer student workers Carolina, Dante, Victoria, and Shasha. If you’re part of the
convening producing team, could you raise your hand right now? And can we give you all a
round of applause in advance? (audience applauding) Thank you. I also wanna shout out Michael
and John up in the booth, who are keeping the
sound and lights running. (audience applauding) Great. And these are also folks that
you can direct questions to throughout the weekend. So if you are wondering
anything about Boston or anything about what’s
happening while you’re here, feel free to ask any of us. And last but not least, I’d like to thank the Barr Foundation, and specifically the Director
of Arts and Creativity San San Wong, who should
be with us tomorrow, without whom this event
would not be possible. I’d also like to thank the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of HowlRound. Great. So before we get going, I wanna propose some meeting agreements for your consideration
for our time together. The first is pretty simple. We ask that you silence your cell phone or put it on vibrate. And we understand that, you know, people use cell phones to take notes. You may want to tweet
something out into the universe at some point. That’s okay. We do ask, though, that you
are present with us here. We ask for your attention this weekend. And secondly, we just ask that
you take care of yourself. If you need to take a break, take it. If you need to run to the restroom, they’re in the lobby right there. Do it. You know, take the time that
you need to be fully present. And I wanna propose some
less sort of practical or concrete meeting agreements. This is the Six Dances, which is adapted from Alan Briskin and the Collective Wisdom Initiative. And I’m just gonna read
through all six to start. So one, deep listening or opening with all of one’s critical
and creative faculties to what is being expressed. Two, suspension of certainty or an embrace of the risk of
not already knowing the answer. Three, seeking diverse perspectives or gathering and valuing perspectives from all those configuring the group. Four, respect for others, cultivating a sense of mutual commitment to the common purpose of the group. Five, welcoming all that arises or an embrace of both the unpleasant and pleasant emotions stirred
by a gathering of this kind. And six, trust in the transcendent, or an acceptance of the collective acuity that might manifest when
a group of individuals come together in common purpose. So I’d like to ask, first off, does anyone have any agreements that they would like to add to this list? If you do, please raise your
hand and we’ll bring you a mic. Okay, can we agree to these agreements? Can everyone give me a
thumbs up if you agree? Great. Thank you so much. So without further ado, I’m gonna hand it over
to Chantal Bilodeau, the instigator for this entire event. (audience applauding) Thank you. And I’m so, so glad you’re all here today. And I would like to do something in the spirit of Katie Pearl’s
short play, Appreciation, which some of you know and
some of you don’t know. She wrote this play for
Climate Change Theatre Action. And one of the first things she asked, because we all came, I mean, I’ve heard several stories of how rushed we were trying to get here. Some of you missed planes
and it was complicated. But we’re all here. So can we give each
other, like us together, an uproarious round of
applause just for being here? (audience cheering) Thank you. And thank you Jamie, and thank you HowlRound for hosting us. So I’m a playwright. I’m the Artistic Director
of The Arctic Cycle. And I’m also a curator of
a blog series on HowlRound called Theatre in the
Age of Climate Change. We are in our fourth year, and the series is published twice a year, in the spring and in
the fall of each year. And it’s a week long every time. It’s all archived on the website. So if you haven’t seen it, you can Google or you can search for Theatre
in the Age of Climate Change on HowlRound, and you will have all
of the articles there. When the HowlRound
Challenge was announced, I reached out to Elizabeth and to Roberta and asked them if they
wanted to write a proposal and do this with me, because it wasn’t something I felt I could take on on my own. And of course, it’s always more fun to do something with friends and with more than one
person’s idea at the table. Elizabeth and I have moderated
a panel two years ago at a, a short panel on artists
and climate change at a mobility meeting at the Segal Centre. And Roberta, we’ve known
each other for several years. And the three of us also organized a
convening in New York City for New York-based artists
about two years ago, also to talk about theatre
and climate change. So we knew we had this interest in common, and we knew we worked well together. And so I’m really glad
we were able to do this, to organize this together. Our reason for convening this meeting was to amplify the conversation that’s already happening on HowlRound and elsewhere around
theatre and climate change. So we felt like we wanted the
conversation to be bigger, louder, more spread out. And so we thought, okay, if we convene these people together, maybe we have a chance to do that. As we explained in one of the
emails that was sent to you, this is not gonna be structured
like a typical conference where we have featured speakers and panels and an audience on the other side. We really wanted, given the urgency of
the climate situation, we wanted to get to action
as quickly as possible. So we started with the premise that we’re creating a working group. So all of us over the next three years, over the next three years, three days. Maybe the next three years. Over the next three days, we’re gonna work as a collective while we’re here in this convening. We also hope that what we can create will go out into the
world and continue to grow after the three days
we spend here together. The fact that you’re all here
in this room is not random. We spent a long time thinking
about who should be here. And one thing that was, several things were very important to us in putting the group together. We wanted a group that was geographically and culturally diverse. Of course it would have been very easy to invite all people from New York, because there’s such
a concentration there. But we wanted the whole
country to be represented. And we wanted to extend and invite people from
other countries, too, to enlarge the conversation again. We wanted, also, to be culturally diverse, to represent a multitude of networks and experiences and practices. And we wanted a group
that was far-reaching and in a position to make
things happen for ourselves, but also for others. So people who can then go
out after these three days and can bring some of what happens here to their own communities, and continue to expand the
group and the conversation. We hope that this is not a one-off. Although we have no concrete plans about what’s gonna happen after this, we hope that it’s just the beginning. And of course, what happens after will depend on what happens here. So right now, we’re really focused on making the best of this
time that we have together. And also we, the belief driving all of this is that we really believe that artists have a role to play in
addressing climate change. And we wanna make sure
that we use all the people and the tools that we have to make sure that that happens. And if we’re successful, you know, maybe we can reconvene again next year or at some other time. Like, we’ll take the pulse
of what’s needed after this and then decide how we can go forward. Now for a little bit of context, I’m going to show you a
carbon countdown clock… Which is coming soon. Which was published, here we go. So this clock shows how many tons of carbon
we’ve already spent, which is the section on
the left that says 74%, and how many tons we can still spend, which is the little section that says 25%, if we want to meet the
two degrees Celsius mark. And that’s assuming… So okay, so this scenario is, it shows that three-quarters
of our carbon budget we’ve already spent. So technically, we have only
25% that we could still spend. And that’s assuming that
emissions are stable, which they are not. They’re increasing. And also, two degrees is the upper limit. You know, people, scientists now are talking
about how we should, it would be really better if
we stayed below 1.5 degrees. If you look at the bottom, you can see that we have
a little bit over 18 years to make that happen. So when we talk about urgency, this is it. Like, we have less than 18
years to decarbonize the economy if we wanna meet the two
degrees Celsius goal. Up until now, we’ve all
been doing great work, but mostly in isolation. Everybody is doing stuff separately, and there’s no way to
bring all of this together. And we’re like, in bringing, in creating this convening, we’re thinking, is there a way that we
can do greater things or that we can amplify each other’s work by being able to meet and
talk about what we do, and maybe think about new ideas? We normally, like in other situations, this stuff would emerge organically. But we feel we don’t have the time, so we wanna push the emergence. You know, make that emerge
a little bit faster. I also wanna show you, you
may have seen in the lobby, but prior to this meeting
we sent you an email asking for your definition
of climate change. And then we created, Stokely created a word cloud for us that brings together all of our responses. And the thing I find interesting is that human seems to be
what was discussed more. So definitely in this group, we know that humans are
an important part of it. And I feel like that’s a narrative that maybe we need to
put forward even more, because a lot of time in
the general population, people think nature, right? They think, oh, it’s the environment. But it’s also a lot about people. And then species is another big one, so us and the other creatures with whom we share the planet. And interestingly, Earth is much smaller. And I’m assuming that it’s because, I’m making an assumption here. But I’m assuming that all of us here know that the Earth can recover, right? The Earth has recovered. There has been five mass
extinctions before, and somehow… Like we’re here and a
very advanced species. That life has managed to evolve again, and even in more sophisticated forms. So what’s at stake? When we talk about the urgency, it’s about, it’s a lot
about the human species. And I wanna say that I’m not personally, this is gonna sound weird, but I’m not personally invested in whether humans make it or not. But I’m invested… Because I think, well, what
if there’s something better? You know, what if there’s another species that replaces us that’s better? Like, why do you… The dinosaurs are gone. Like, why do we think
that we cannot be gone and be replaced by something better? But I am very invested
in minimizing suffering and in being our best selves in the face of this crisis. Like, I’m really deeply
invested in dignity. How can we face this with dignity? And for me, dignity means action. So I wanna say that I really
believe in every one of you, and I believe in what we can do together. And I hope that this is… I look forward to working
with you over this weekend, and I hope this is a time where we can see great
things emerge together. And on that note, I’m going
to pass it onto Roberta, who’s gonna tell you a little bit more about how we’re gonna work
together this weekend. (audience applauding) Hello everyone, my name
is Roberta Levitow. I reached out, I hope, to
most of you to say hello. And I am the co-founder and director of this network of individual
artists around the world called Theatre Without Borders. I can tell you more about
it at some other point, but basically I’ll just
say we’re like a book club at the local library. We operate very much in harmony with some of the values
that Jamie mentioned, generosity, conversation. And so when Chantal reached out, it was an honor to lend energy and time in support of this important topic. I’ve been a practicing artist
myself for about 30 years, but now I basically do producing and facilitating of projects. I’m really quite a latecomer to the climate change awareness. So I stand in awe and
respect of many of you here who have been dedicating your
lives and your life’s work to this incredible work that you’re doing. We’re going to frame these
days for you as facilitators. We have, as Jamie said, spent innumerable hours
coming up with a framework. And we’re doing it with our intentions, with as many good thoughts as we could possibly put together, to think about what
might be a good framework for our work together. But we recognize that you also arrive with very, very powerful intentions, intentions that you’ve been
expressing in your work and in your lives for a long time. So we want to respect those intentions, and we ask you to please
feel free to speak up to us and tell us over the days if your intentions are being included in the intentions that
we have designed for you. So we hope that this framework of days will highlight your work and your ideas, and that we can build some
kind of a community together. You are here because you’ve
accepted an invitation to be part of a group of activists who are acting beyond their
own artistic practice. There are many, many artists who we wish were sitting
in the circle with us. We also recognize that you
are a group of activists coming from a diverse geography, coming from diverse visions of the philosophies, the architecture, the infrastructure that will
assist the artists that you are and all the artists that we know to do their work better
and more effectively. We hope that this weekend will be a place of peer learning for you, that you’ll learn from your colleagues, that we’ll learn from you. That it will be a mechanism to
build long-term relationships amongst all of you, long-term. To look at what lies beyond what’s wrong and to imagine what’s possible. We had so many conversations about… Dreaming, the thing we
haven’t dreamed yet, to have the impact that we long to have on the timetable that
Chantal has laid out for us. We hope that it’s a space
where you feel welcome and comfortable to
generate ideas together. We believe that this is a rare opportunity for us all to work in collaboration. You come from far, far, many
places, over long times. We know that you’re already
creating great events and activities in your own contexts. And so what we’re inviting you to do is to imagine ideas that you
could not do on your own. We’re gonna ask you again and again, what could you not do by yourself? What can you only do with the help of those who
were in the room with you, or possibly people who we
know in our various networks? There are many challenges now and ahead, but we hope that you’ll join us in using a yes-and principle, and that we’ll use our conversations to build upon and catalyze way beyond all of the amazing efforts that are already happening in this room. So thank you very much. And I would like to turn
the mic over to Elizabeth. (audience applauding) Thank you, Roberta. Wow, good afternoon. I was gonna say good morning. Good afternoon. (speaking foreign language) I’m forever grateful for the
human and material resources that have brought us together today. And I wanted just to make a
couple comments and welcome you. This group is composed of many people who still don’t know one another, and that was very exciting for us when we thought about who to invite and who to bring into this gathering. Because, again, it’s easy
of call your best friends and have a good get together and a good conversation with them. But for us, expanding and
amplifying the work that we do has to do with creating, with growing new networks, new tendrils in that network. So that’s one of the exciting things about this three days together. And we see this gathering
as a grouping of delegates and representatives that will go on back into your communities and spread this work, and then come back to the working group, hopefully in the future, and inform what your communities need. And that way, we’re in constant dialogue about how to move our
work forward collectively. And when we began planning this gathering and understanding the task
of assembling this group, we wanted to, you know, all of the diversities
that we needed to consider when creating this invitation, we also realized that as
the core organizing group, Chantal, Roberta, and I, that we were three white women. And that in thinking
about these diversities, that that was also creating
a certain kind of framing for how we set the agenda, and how we prioritized the
structure of our time together. And so we deliberately decided not to bring in an outside facilitator. And we decided, at the end, it would be best to call
on the wisdom in the room to do the facilitating, share that chore. Not chore, but share that charge. And so that’s how we moved forward. And I think, I know I speak for myself and I think I speak
for Roberta and Chantal when I say that the work of undoing racism is paramount to the work of climate and environmental justice. And that if it feels like we need to have more
conversations about that, that we can make space
for that in this room. And we’re departing from a
premise of urgency, not panic, but urgency as Chantal
pointed out with the clock. And we think that moving forward
with constructive purpose is the best way to use the
time that we have this weekend. So we’re going to be
playing with the tension between the theoretical and the practical. So we can sit around and have great
philosophical conversations, I’m certain of that. But how do we think strategically? And that’s what we wanna kind of focus on for most of our time together, while having some great
conversations anyways. So I was gonna say they, they, those that sit in
opposition to this paradigm shift that we are all desiring, those people that are
in positions of power and that have more money who don’t want these conversations
to be wide and public. They have more money and they’re sitting in more positions of power
than we are right now. And we can know that,
look at that squarely, and decide that we’re
going to not be satisfied with the status quo. And that we want to move our
work forward in spite of that, in spite of those very,
very difficult odds that we’re facing right now. And we need to stand for
this work in a strategic way that brings our collective resources, craft, and true power to bear in our work on all kinds of scales. So that is a call and part of this invitation this weekend. We know you’re already doing this, and we believe we can further this by effectively using
our collective energies. So over the course of the days together, we’re going to have guided conversations. We’re gonna have down
and dirty working groups and some brainstorming sessions. And it’s been designed to be generative and to lead towards actionable
ideas that have impacts, and that emerge from
diverse and plural visions. So this is, again, kind of circling back to this idea of what’s practical? What can we plan together? How can we use our collective energies to move our work forward through the arts? And it’s also really participatory. Obviously, everyone is sitting in a different place on the
extrovert-introvert scale. But we want it to be generative and have the work emerge from your ideas, so that requires
everybody’s participation. And we really hope this is a way to till fertile soil
for more collaborations. I’ve heard a lot of people
in side conversations say, “I’m so glad this is happening “because I feel really lonely, “or I felt like I was all alone. “I felt like I was just
speaking into an echo chamber “for so many years of this work.” And so this is an opportunity for us to create new community,
to find our tribe, to be together doing that work. And we don’t want to
pressure any one of you to make commitments that
you don’t wanna make, right? But we are pretty sure that you’re here because you wanna take action. So we hope that by the
end of this weekend, there’ll be some ideas, projects, possibilities that will emerge, and that folks will step
into the role of leadership. And again, I’m just so
grateful that you’re all here. And we’re gonna have time for
introductions a little later. But first, we’re gonna
do a movement activity. And I’m gonna lead us in
that movement activity. And we’ve strategically placed some of these movement sessions in between our talking sessions. So if you will join me, I’m gonna invite everybody to stand up. You can place every,
your stuff on the floor, under your chair. And I’m gonna ask you,
I’m gonna demonstrate, and ask everybody to turn
around and look at your chair. And then if you need to use
your chair as a support, you can. But I’m gonna ask you to bend over and look through your legs into the inner part of the circle. And it’s gonna look like this. So you can go ahead and
let your arms hang down. Again, if this feels stressful or uncomfortable in the back of your legs, you can use the chair to support some of your upper body weight so it’s not so tough. Let your head hang down. Let your arms loose. You can do a little microbend
in your leg if you need that. And the blood is flowing
from your heart to your head. And this position of inversion is a great way to kind of
toss things on their head. It’s a metaphoric practice for you to be looking at things from a
really different perspective, and to maybe see the
impossible is possible. And if you’re, you know, in the yoga way or if you’re a capoeirista, this is also a strategic position. So you can see your adversary, and they don’t know
you’re looking at them. So the inversion also allows your heart to be above your head. And so we can stop leading
with our heads all the time and let our heart energy
be the protagonist. If you’re ready to come up,
just kind of roll up gently. And we’re a lot of people, and I was hoping that
we could do an exercise against the wall. But we’ll save that for later. So if anybody feels during the weekend like you need to to a handstand or do, you know, do an inversion, you can just do it right on that wall. Great. Thank you, Elizabeth. (audience applauding) So we are going to do some introductions. And we are gonna do them
pretty specifically. And they are gonna look
something like this. We are gonna ask everybody to say your name and your pronouns, where you’re from, where you traveled from today
or yesterday to get here. Talk about your primary affiliation. I recognize that people have
many, many things that they do. Please choose one or two things
to say in like, a sentence. And then three words that
describe your work, you. It could be personal. It could be professional. So I’m gonna model it, and we’re gonna pass the
mic around the circle. And when it’s your turn, I just ask that you stand
up and address the room. So, good afternoon. I’m Jamie Gahlon. My pronouns are she, her, hers. I am from Minnesota. I traveled from Jamaica
Plain to get here today. I work for HowlRound. And three words that describe me are dreamer, producer, connector. Hello, my name is Chantal Bilodeau. I use she, her, hers. I am originally from Montreal in Canada, traveled from New York yesterday. I am the artistic director
of The Arctic Cycle. And three words are playwright, Arctic, climate. Hello again, I’m Elizabeth Doud, and I was born and raised
in Seattle, Washington. And I traveled here from Brazil via Miami. And my primary affiliation is with Climakazi in Miami, Florida. And I’m also a practicing artist. And I, three words
would be open-hearted… Ooh, my work. Warrior, and flexible. I’m Marda Kirn, and she, hers. See, I don’t do this other thing. Let’s see. I’m originally from, born in Ohio, then Connecticut and New York. And I came from Boulder, Colorado, which is where I’ve lived for a long time. Primary affiliation is
EcoArts Connections. And three words, which is really hard. Scout, visionary slash delusional, and supportive. Hi, good afternoon everybody. My name is MJ Halberstadt. My pronouns are he, him, his. I escaped Long Island when I was 18, and I live in Boston. I’m two miles west of here, so I took the C Line, nice and quick. My primary affiliation, I am a playwright. And I’m an affiliated faculty
member here at Emerson. And the three words I would use include Antarctic, gay, and irreverent. Hi, I’m Stokely. I use the pronouns they and them. I’m from both Boston and Philadelphia. I claim both as home. Today I traveled from
Jamaica Plain in Boston, took the Orange Line. I am the HowlRound Fellow, so that’s my primary affiliation. And three words that describe my work are collectivity, connectivity, and queer. Thank you. My name is Georgina Escobar. I go she, her, hers, thing. I am from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. It’s where I’m from. I grew up in Zacatecas, but I’ve been border and
here for a very long time. Via New York, here presently. Oh, that’s the next one. I came here from New York. I’m a playwright mostly, but also a visual artist or visual creator, painter. And three words, geez. I mean, animal whisperer. That’s kind of one, right? For sure. And a creator and a maker, I don’t know. I think so. Good afternoon. My name is Jayeesha. I go by she, her, hers. I was born in Mobile, Alabama, grew up in New York, and I live in and blessed
to call New Orleans home. But I came here today from New York, with Another Gulf is
Possible Collaborative and StoryShift at Working Films. And I’m gonna say three words is community, accountable, storyteller. My name is April Merleaux. I use she, her pronouns. I’m from North Carolina,
Colorado, New Mexico. I had itinerant parents. I traveled here from
Northampton, Massachusetts. My primary affiliation
is Hampshire College, where I teach stuff. I don’t know. I’m a historian. Three words that describe me and my work, educator, connector, analyzer. Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Siqueira, Adilson, Doctor, and I come from Brazil. And I just arrived
yesterday from Sao Paulo, direct to Chicago and then here. And my primary affiliation is with University of Sao Joao del-Rei in their Laboratory of Ecopoetics. It’s a group. It’s a performing group
that I am linked in. And three words that describe me. Well, it’s chief, good, bad. I am a director, I’m a performer, and I just work in Brazil,
do maximum that I can about the social justice. Hi, I’m Catherine Bottrill. I’m from, I’m she, hers… She, hers, yes. And then I come from London for this exciting participation,
for this convening. And I work with Julie’s Bicycle, which is an organization
that works pan-arts across all the arts, especially theatre. And I would describe, three words, cheerful, determined, and a scientist. Hello, my name is Kyoko Yoshida. She, her, hers. Originally from Kyoto, Japan. Based in San Francisco,
where I traveled from. Primary affiliation is US/Japan
Cultural Trade Network, which I founded. I’m a founding director. Three words would be
producer-slash-enabler, and then collaborator, and challenger. Hello, my name’s Xavier Cortada, and I traveled from Miami, where my husband and I live. And that’s also where I’m from, although I was born in
Albany to two Cuban refugees. My primary affiliation is an eco-artist that has a studio at a beautiful
botanical garden in Miami. And my three words are
participatory, eco, art. Hi everybody, my name is Robert Duffley. I use he, him pronouns. I grew up in Tennessee and Georgia, and I live here in Boston just a couple stops
away on the Green Line. And my primary affiliation is with the American Repertory Theatre, which is the professional
theatre-in-residence at Harvard. But I’m also on faculty here at Emerson. And in my work as a dramaturg, I strive to be a
catalyzer of civic spaces. Hi everybody, my name’s Alyssa Schmidt. I use she, her, hers. I grew up in Northern California. I traveled this morning from a forested area in Central Mass on the commuter rail. My primary affiliation is
Boston Conservatory at Berklee. I’m a professor there, and created an Eco-Performance
class that’s going very well. And I’m also a connectivity associate at Central Square Theatre for their Catalyst Collaborative projects, which bring together science and theatre. Three words. Inquiry, eco-dramaturg, and I wrote the other one down. Sustenance. (speaking foreign language) So my name is Alayna Eagle Shield. My pronouns are she, her, Mom. I come from Standing Rock,
which is on the North Dakota, my reservation borders
North and South Dakota. But I come from the North Dakota side. I am the Health Education Director, but I’m also a fellow, Native American Community Academy Fellow. And just other groups that I’m a part of. And three words that describe me. I said in my language leader. I love to laugh and
enjoy the work that I do. And love. Hello. My name is Teddy Rodger. I prefer she, her, hers, please. I’m originally from a small
village in Pennsylvania called Unionville. But I came here today from Washington DC, where I work with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, which is housed in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. And I would describe
myself and my work, oh. Empathy, optimism, and support. Thank you. Hi everyone, my name’s Annalisa Dias. My pronouns are she, her, and hers. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, which is the traditional
lands of the Seneca Nation. And I claim also India, Goa, India as my roots through my Dad. And I traveled here
today from Washington DC, which is Piscataway Nation territory. And my primary affiliation
is with The Welders. It’s a playwrights
collective in Washington DC. I’m producing playwright. And then the three words
that describe me and my work, I think might be… Justice, hope, and possibility. (speaking foreign language) That is not my name. This is, in my language it means how are you all? And my name is Meaza Worku. I am from Ethiopia. You can pronounce me as she and/or hers. I’m from Ethiopia. I traveled from Addis
Ababa, capital of Ethiopia and the seat of the African Union. My primary affiliation is, I’m an independent writer and director. Three words. I’m a challenger. Creative, and sensitive. Hi, I’m Ramona Ostrowski. My pronouns are she, her, hers. I’m originally from Connecticut, and I traveled here today from Dorchester, just down the Red Line. I’m the Associate Producer
here at HowlRound, and I am a practical, emotional dramaturg. I’m Rob Davies. He. Although with my fascination
with Downton Abbey, I always thought I would make a good Earl. So Your Lordship works as well. I traveled here from Utah yesterday, Utah State University, although I’m originally from the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’m in the Physics Department
at Utah State University, but it’s a co-appointment also with the Caine
College of the Arts there, where I’m doing science and
critical science communication. Three words, I think mountains, knowledge, holistic. Good afternoon, everybody. My name is David Howse. I use the pronouns he, him, his. I am from Tennessee originally, which I didn’t know, Robert, you were too. And I traveled from Milton, Massachusetts, which is about 10 minutes down the road. My primary affiliations
are with both ArtsEmerson and HowlRound here in Boston. And three words that describe my work, intentional, unapologetic, and joyful. Hi, I am Abhishek. I am from India, various places. I grew up in a different place, and now I live somewhere else. I am here from Bangalore. I traveled from Bangalore. My primary work is that of a playwright and a theatre director. And three words that
would describe, I think, are storyteller, collaborator, and I’m the father of a two-and-a-half-year-old
beautiful girl, so father. Primarily, I’m a father. Yeah, thank you. Hi, everybody. My name is Una Chaudhuri. She, her, hers. I’m from the Himalayas. I traveled here from
the island of Manhattan. My primary affiliation
is New York University Department of English, Drama,
and Environmental Studies. My three words are radical,
interspecies, thinker. Hi everyone, I’m Jessica Schwartz. She, her, hers. I’m from Los Angeles. I traveled from Los Angeles. My primary affiliation is
the University of California at Los Angeles, and also the Marshallese
Educational Initiative in Arkansas. And let’s see, three words
that describe me and my work. Musician, provocation,
and critical optimism. Hello, I’m David Dower. He, him, his. Born in Rhode Island, lived
many years in California, and traveled this morning from just down the road in Ashmont, which is a neighborhood in Dorchester. Primary affiliation,
co-founder of HowlRound and Artistic Director of ArtsEmerson. Three words that describe me and my work would be theatre, community,
and transformation. Hi, I’m Vijay Mathew. My pronouns are he, his, him. And I grew up in Texas, and I traveled, I live here. My affiliation is with HowlRound. I’m a co-founder of HowlRound. And three words are idealistic, adapter, and vegan. Hi, my name is Abigail Vega. My pronouns are she, her, hers. I am from San Antonio, Texas. And I came here today from Jamaica Plain, although I don’t live there. But it is a nice Airbnb. My primary affiliation is with
the Latinx Theatre Commons, which is a program of HowlRound here. And three words that describe my work. These are not three words, but connections enabler, I like that. Solutions, and a digital organizer. Hi, everyone. My name is Lani Fu. I am originally from Chongqing, China. I grew up mostly in Virginia. And now I am based in New York City, which is where I came from this morning, very early this morning. Oh, my primary affiliation is that I am the co-director
of Superhero Clubhouse, which is an organization
based in New York City that is a collective of
artists and scientists working at the intersection
of theatre and climate. And three words that
describe you and your work? Theatre, equity, hope. Peterson Toscano. He, him, his. I traveled from my home in
central, rural Pennsylvania, but I’m originally from New York. I am an independent, queer Quaker theatrical performance activist. And the three words are sex, God, comedy. (audience laughing) I wish those were my words. My name is Alison Carey. She, her, hers. I’m from Connecticut. I traveled from Ashland,
Oregon to get here. My primary affiliations are with, as a, I’m the co-founder and
former resident playwright of Cornerstone Theatre Company. And I am currently the Director
of American Revolutions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The three words that popped into my head when we were first asked the question were animal, vegetable, and mineral. (audience laughing) But I decided not to dodge the question. And so my three words are
caretaking, community, and equity. Hi, my name is Lydia Fort, and she, her, hers. I’m from New York City and I came here from Atlanta, Georgia. My primary affiliation
is with Emory University. And my three words, if I could steal one, is interspecies, world creator, and non-western. Thank you. Hi, everybody. Thank you for your patience. My name is Julia Levine, and I use she, her, her pronouns. I am from St. Louis, Missouri. I now live in New York City. My primary affiliation is as Artistic Producer
of The Arctic Cycle. And my three words are persistent, sponge, and food. Hi, Roberta Levitow. She, her, hers. I’m from Los Angeles, California, but the last time I left
home was April 27th. And since then, I’ve
been through New York, Addis Ababa, Marrakesh, New York, here to Boston. And so I’m sympathetic to the jet lag. Primary affiliation is with
Theatre Without Borders, but also the Sundance
Institute Theatre Program’s international initiatives. Three words that describe
my work, me and my work, would be connector, seeder, and global citizen. JAMIE: We’re not quite done. Hi everyone, I got caught on the camera. My name is Dante Flores. I use he, him, his pronouns. I’m from Dallas, Texas. I came here from my
apartment in East Boston. That’s where I live. Primary affiliation is I’m a student here at Emerson College, and I’m a student worker
here at HowlRound. I’m a staff assistant. And three words that
describe me and my work. Literature. Paranoid. (audience laughing) Developing. Hello everyone, my name is Shay Ines. I go by Shasha. I’m from France. I come, I traveled from Dorchester today. I’m doing an internship at HowlRound. And the three words to describe me will be passionate, love, and bread. Thanks. Hi, I’m Carolina. I’m from Venezuela. I’m a student worker with HowlRound and an Emerson College film student. And my three words would be compassion, collaboration, and optimism. Thank you, everyone. Can we give ourselves a round of applause? (audience applauding) Yeah. Okay, great. So I would like ask everyone
to spend the next minute, turn to the person to your left, and reintroduce yourself. And take a minute to find
one thing you have in common. (participants chattering) Hmm? Left. Yes. Or go, come to the next… Oh no, this doesn’t work, does it? Shit, okay. Okay, pair off. Can we pair off? So starting here, pair, pair, pair. Just count, you know,
figure out the pairs. Yeah, can we do that? Thank you. Okay. A minute, starting now. Best laid plans. (participants chattering) Find one thing you have in common. (participants chattering) 15 seconds. (participants chattering) (timer beeping) Okay, time’s up. Has everyone found something in common? Yeah? Okay, does anyone wanna share
what you found in common? Raise your hand. (participants chattering) We are both Aquarius. We’ve both eaten alligator. And we both have one full-blood brother. JAMIE: Ooh, great. Anyone else want to share with the group? Is that a hand? So, so we’re both
producers, I had no idea. I mean, you’re a producer, right? Yes.
In theatre. And what we both do is we produce. She uses talent and I use people in community who are bringing talent, right? So I work with regular
community to produce events, and she does it in theatre. And what was the other thing we had? We were confused at the beginning. And we both had no idea
what we were supposed to do. And we live in coastal communities. That too, right?
Yeah. JAMIE: Great. So we’re all gonna drown. I mean, that’s the problem. That wasn’t supposed to be a joke. (audience laughing) Okay, thank you for sharing. Okay so, ooh, one more. We talked about the ways that both of us are inspired and motivated by questions. And we tend to lead, how would you say it? Well, I would say that MJ uses questions kind of as a central
methodology, so to speak, for writing his plays, where
he’s exploring a question. He has lots of different characters duking out different opinions about that particular question. And what I like to do, when we bring together
artists and scientists and other folks, is ask them
each to come up with a question that they’re interested in exploring. And when we come from the artist side, we’ll ask that question. Then we’ll find scientists who are studying that particular question. Or we’ll do it from the scientist side, and ask what artist might be interested in exploring this difficulty or challenge. JAMIE: Thank you. Anyone? Ah, Una. Okay well, this’ll blow your mind. It sort of blew my mind. Jessica did her PhD at NYU, where I teach. And her advisor happened to be the son of the man who was my advisor when I did my PhD at Columbia. My advisor was Michael
Beckerman, was Bernard Beckerman. Her advisor was Michael Beckerman. And we found this out in
one minute of talking, talking to each other. So yay. Wow, that’s wild. Okay, we’re gonna do
one more round of this. But I’d ask you to get up from your seat and find someone who you
maybe did not get to meet in the mingling portion
before we got started. And do the same thing. You have… I’ll give you one-and-a-half minutes since you have to find someone. (participants chattering) JAMIE: It’s all happening. STOKELY: It’s all happening. (participants chattering) JAMIE: Did I seem really
nervous at the top? Say no, even if I did. My hand was like, shaking. You couldn’t see it, nice? I was literally like. I was like, deep breathing. Calm down, nervousness, calm down. (participants chattering) (timer beeping) (participants chattering) 15 seconds. (participants chattering) Okay. (participants chattering) (laughing) Yeah, right, okay. Okay, okay, okay! (participants chattering) Oh, I guess we could stay standing. It’s fine if we stay standing. Anyone want to share what you found? Can someone share what they found? Not anyone want to, how about? Annalisa and I realized we
both went to Boston University, and we were both English
majors and theatre minors. And we were, we overlapped for two years without knowing each other. It was hilarious, yeah.
Wild, anyone else? So we just realized that we both share a kind of intense relationship
with Zelda Fichhandler. And Zelda was the founder of Arena Stage and a deep mentor of mine, but she was also the Chair of the Graduate Acting Department when she was chairing
undergraduate Drama at NYU. Oh my God, that’s wild. Okay, anyone else? One more. It doesn’t have to be profound. (audience laughing) DAVID: Oh, then they’ll go. (audience laughing) Alison and I share
mutual love of cucumbers. PETERSON: Again? That came up when we were talking, too. Well, I really like cucumbers. (audience laughing) I offered to bring her my next crop. PETERSON: I know, I’m growing them, too. Well, here we go.
Yeah. Okay great, thank you all. We’re actually gonna stay on our feet. So we’re gonna continue to get to know a little bit more about who is in this room, and we’re gonna do some group mapping. Okay, the first mapping we’re going to do has to do with where you come from. So we’re gonna imagine that
this room is a map of the world. And we’re gonna imagine
that North America is here, South America here, Africa here, Europe there, Asia over here. Please map where you’re from. PARTICIPANT: What do you
mean by where you’re from? Define it how you wanna define it. PARTICIPANT: What if you’re like, two? (participants chattering) Okay, so it looks like we have a, you know, a density in what looks to be
North America, over here. Anyone wanna share where
they landed and why? There was a level of
interpretation in this question. Yes? Well, I said, we said that
this is the wall, so I’m… (audience laughing) So I think I’m like this, like straddling it, you know? So that’s, right there. (audience laughing) JAMIE: Okay, anyone else want to share? So you asked me where I was from, right? And then we said, well,
what, interpret that way. So originally, I mean, my mitochondrial DNA was right here, just south of where you’re from, right around these parts. Then about 60,000 years ago, I think that DNA walked this way. And then it crossed the
Bering Straits over there. And then it landed over here. But I’m originally from
here, like right here. Like Africa, right about here. Thank you, yes. Alright. So I was making a joke. I was like, well, what if
you’re a sovereign nation inside of a nation? And what if we encompass all North Dakota and across the Medicine Line into Canada? And then I start, like
him, started thinking, where our people believe we
come from is the Star Nation. And so we come from the stars, and then we reemerged from Wind Cave. So I’m from Black Hills area. Thank you. Okay, next question. And for this one I’m gonna say, think about where you traveled
from today to get here, or yesterday. Assess your location in the biosphere. Imagine that we’re like, on a line here. And imagine this side of the room is super heavily urbanized, and this side of the
room is extremely rural. And the midpoint would be, you know, interzone or a little bit of both. Put yourself on the spectrum. New York might be in a different room. No, just kidding. (participants chattering) Jayeesha, where, what– JAYEESHA: I traveled here from New York. JAMIE: From New York. Okay, so we have New York over here. Can people popcorn out if you have the other places over here that you’re representing? Washington DC?
DC. So, Utah, but this surprises people. Utah is the must urban
state in the country. Almost all of our population lives in a very narrow
strip that’s very dense, and most of the state is basically empty. JAMIE: Wow. I recently moved to Boston’s
North End neighborhood. And I’m standing kind of outside the line because it’s a very urban area. But I recently learned through a really cool
book called Gaining Ground that less than 200 years ago, the street I live on was part of a pond, a tidal pond that got so polluted that the city filled it in
and turned it into housing. JAMIE: Wow. Okay, let’s continue down this line. Other folks wanna share? I spend time in a really urban area, which is Miami, Miami Beach. And I also spend time
in a very rural area, on an island in Northeastern Brazil. But I’m right, I’m sitting
right on the edge of the ocean. So I feel like I’m looking out into the expanse of the water, and then just sitting on the
very edge of the continent. JAMIE: Thank you. Continuing down the line. Anyone? So I come from the
Standing Rock Reservation, which is in the middle of nowhere. And nobody knew we existed until the Water is Life movement, so really rural. And I come from Sao Joao del-Rei. It’s in Brazil. It’s in the middle of nowhere, and that’s why I’m here. It’s only 75,000 people
living where I am living. Great, okay. Now we’re gonna imagine
the room as a quadrant. So imagine there’s like this X… No, X? I know. I can’t remember which axis is X or Y, which shows you how long
it’s been since I took math. Okay, so imagine it’s a quadrant. And this quadrant is artist. This quadrant is educator. This quadrant is scientist. And this quadrant is cultural organizer. Place yourself how you identify
using these four quadrants. (participants chattering) I notice there are some
people straddling, hmm. Anyone want, who wants to speak about
where they landed and why? I notice we have a lot
of artists in the room. Yes? So I’m kind of in the middle, just because I’m in the middle
of doing all this stuff. I’m not a scientist, per se, but half of my life, or
a quarter of it anyway, is scientist. And I’m an organizer and I was a dancer. Well, I danced around a little bit. And then I can’t remember
the other one, but– Educator.
Educator, definitely. So there you have it. JAMIE: Thank you. Yep, over here? Hi, I landed over here. I feel like I’m an educator, and I’m trying to learn
a lot about science. I love the Liz Lerman quote, “I am fueled by my ignorance.” Actually, it was a
physicist who said that, and she was in conversation with him. And I stood here because
I’m hopeful that my students become the advocates and the artists. And then I can look
upon what they’re doing. JAMIE: Okay. Yeah, right here? I’m a human geographer, so I’ve always been fascinated
with the interaction with people and the natural world. And in the last 10 years, I’ve also seen myself as very
much an action researcher. I came from an energy background, but have been working with
the arts now for 10, 11 years, to really help take kind of
some of those methods and ideas and to place them and to support people in understanding the
environmental impacts. So I would say I’m definitely
kind of a geographer about people and places and process. JAMIE: Yes? So I’m a physicist who does science education
through the arts. So I think I’ve got my coordinates about as close as I could get. And I would say where
my weakness really is is in the, my… I don’t know if weakness
is the right word, but what I just don’t do much. And I think I don’t do it
because I don’t do it very well, it’s not my natural habitat, is cultural and organizing. So I felt like being
right in the intersection, because I really, my practice as an artist is defined literally by all four points. I mean, they’re indisputable. I mean, they’re one thing, right? It’s all I do. But all I am is an artist, except I’m outside of this thing because the art world
doesn’t even see it that way, because the role of an artist
is to do those four things. And a lot of the art world thinks you’re supposed
to be in this quadrant. And I think all of us who
are artists in this room need to understand that you don’t need to
call yourself a scientist or an educator or a cultural… You know, a convener. You’re an artist. That’s what artists do. So that’s, I think, the essence, I hope, of this entire workshop. This is what an artist is. PARTICIPANT: Hear, hear. Anyone else? No? Okay, next question. Okay, we’re gonna imagine, again, a line, a spectrum running kind of
through the middle of the room. And on this side is… Personally affected by climate change. And on the other end is not personally affected
by climate change. Place yourself where you feel you are. (participants chattering) Okay, can we hear from Una on that end of the spectrum? Well, I hadn’t intended
to be the most extreme. But I wanted to just, you know, convey how important and encompassing a subject
this is in my life, and how important it is to me emotionally, subjectively, intellectually. I began to work on theatre
and ecology 28 years ago. I wrote the first article
on theatre and ecology in a special issue of
the Yale Theatre Journal, devoted to theatre and ecology when nobody had started
talking about that. And, you know, so I’ve been one of these
lonely people for a while, until I started the meeting
people like Chantal and Roberta. And it’s just meant so
much to me to, you know, to be here in this room. But it’s an all-encompassing
subject for me. JAMIE: Thank you. I’m just here speaking for the forests of the Pacific Northwest. When I was placing myself,
I was thinking about… I just moved to Northampton
from Miami last year. And part of my motivation for moving was feeling the literal, like, there is the water. The sea level rise felt like it was actually
impacting the decisions I was making about my life and whether I wanted to buy a house, and whether, what kinds of choices I was making in a really practical way. So I didn’t go all the way over
there because I left Miami, and I don’t feel the same urgency
where I am in Northampton. JAMIE: Oh, right behind you. I could actually, with a, if there were more room I would probably have moved further right. And it’s because I have a
three-year-old granddaughter. And the 18-year clock was really… A thing. Ah, I wasn’t sure where to put myself. I live in Southern
California, which is a desert, except now it’s incredibly
humid from April to October. And so we’re becoming tropical in the sense of hot, humid weather, instead of dry, desert weather. We’ve had the Pacific Blob. So I feel impacted. But I also just traveled
through Ethiopia and Morocco, where people reminded me
that 80% of the population are farmers. And those countries, Meaza,
you can tell us more. But those countries are both starting to really feel the
impact of the drying out, and concern about that. So I have a more immediate sense that maybe I’m not very impacted at all. I just have to you turn
on, you know, a fan. JAMIE: Thank you. You mentioned that you
have a granddaughter, and that’s what prompted
you to be over here. I do not have children, and that is a very conscious
decision that I made and continue to make because I have the privilege to make it. And it’s because of climate. JAMIE: Yes? I just wanna say one thing. And I’ll probably start
crying, but hopefully not. 40 or so years ago, when
I first came to Colorado, I remember, and I was a hippie girl. I hitched up this mountain
road to where I was living and I got a ride from a scientist. Boulder, Colorado supposedly
has the highest density of climate scientists in the world, because of all the federal
labs and centers there. And I was starting to
hear about climate change 40 years ago. And I said, “So what is the deal here? “Because you guys study this. “And what do you really know?” And the guy said, “I don’t really know. “We don’t know that much for sure, “but what we think we can say “is that of all the
things that might happen, “there will be increased frequency
and intensity of storms.” This was 40 years ago. And so that if you are
questioning whether storms. 40, yeah, increased frequency
and intensity of storms. And that’s one of the things
that we’re seeing for sure now. And where I live in Boulder, you know, our thing is
fires because of drought. But it also is floods. And it also is pestilence, as someone pointed out to me, because we have the Rocky
Mountain Pine Beetle. And because they’re dying, they’re able… Because it’s so warm, they’re able to regenerate multiple generations in
a single time period, in single season, as opposed to dying off in one. So a lot of what we don’t
know about climate change, we’re not noticing because
we’re in urban areas. And we don’t see, we don’t know what’s happening at the front lines of folks who have subsistence living, on the land and the sea. And their houses are
falling into the ocean. So I’m sorry to be so
emotional about this, but it’s of deep concern. And I think that for the folks who aren’t as aware of
climate change happening, is they just don’t know quite
yet how to listen and look. So if we can just do one thing here to give people a sense of agency, that there can be a shift. And we have the power to do it. That would be great, thanks. JAMIE: Thanks for sharing. I just, I think it is
affecting urban areas, just to be clear. It’s both/and, right? I mean, I live in New Orleans, and we are certainly
affected by climate change. As is Puerto Rico right now, right? So I just, I just want us
to not create dichotomies in saying like, yeah, okay. JAMIE: Thank you. Someone over here? Elizabeth. I’m sitting in the middle because this is the most
important thing for me. In my work, this is what I
think about all day, every day. And I also realize that in
am in a place of privilege. And that the worst,
most immediate effects, I can probably buy my way out of or have the access to strategies
to migrate if I need to. So it feels like I may not
be affected immediately in the most… Feeling those impacts. Anyone else? Okay, final question. Again, we’re on the same line, spectrum. And on this side is… That you feel, when you think about this, considering the moment
we’re in, discouraged. And the other end is hopeful. Plant yourself. (participants chattering) Hmm, interesting. Discouraged over here, hopeful over here. (participants chattering) Okay, who wants to share? You know, of course, for all the scientists
who work in this field, this is the question you get all the time, which is, can we do something about this? Is it too late? Is it whatever? An the best answer that
I’ve modeled myself after and that really speaks to me came from… Oh God, who am I trying to think of? Kentucky farmer, poet? Wendell Perry.
Wendell Perry, thank you. Three words, got it. Who basically answers the question as he doesn’t feel like he has
a right to ask that question. And for me, this feels the most important, is it’s not answerable. Can we fix this? Can we not fix it? We don’t know. And so the next best thing
is to identify a step that you think is meaningful and take it. And that’s as much as, that’s kind of our responsibility. And that speaks to me. So not discouraged, not quote, “hopeful.” Just taking the next step. JAMIE: Thank you for that. Georgina? I’m kind of over here, not because I discredit reality. But I’m… I have to function in a
place of creative atonement. And for that, I have to
access the state of abundance. So that’s sort of what
propels the imagination and what is possible. But there’s not ignoring of the despair. I think that’s just, that’s the emotional aspect and
this is the creative aspect. JAMIE: David, then Abhishek. I was glad you used that word despair because it’s what I’ve, it’s why I put myself here. Tania El Khoury, who’s an
artist from Syria and Lebanon, she talks about her piece Native Gardens as a hopeful piece, even
though it’s 10 graves. And I asked her how that was, that this was a hopeful piece. And she said that despair was betrayal. And as long as she had any
ounce of of agency left, that despair was not something
she was gonna give into. So I stand over here because
it’s a betrayal otherwise. JAMIE: Thank you. Abhishek. I just wanna say that I come from a family where I think… Which was thrice displaced. You know, when my father
left what was then India, that it became East Pakistan, and then it became Bangladesh. It was, of course, the colonial rule. But it was also really to
do with climate change. It had a lot to do with how
much rice was growing where. So there was a lot of reason,
I think, to be discouraged. But in one of the places where I work, the islands go down in this disturbance in the east of India. The islands go down at
a certain point of time, and then they come back. And in the last so many years, 30% of the islands have not come back because of the sea level rising. And someone told me two
years ago that, you know, I have a feeling, this is a villager who lives there, that the tigers in the
area are not going away because they sense that
something’s gonna happen. And strangely, last year, there’s a new island that has come up in the middle of the ocean, which has nothing to do with the islands that have been there all these years. I don’t know if anybody knows
where that island comes from, but there is just this new island. And it’s not something
that went in and came out. It’s something to do with
deposits of other places. And I think that that man
who lives in that village and who is, I think, a
hundred-and-something years old, he’s right probably. So I’m hopeful that there
are other things going on which might help, because I don’t know how useful we are. But it seems like the
ocean is smart, yeah. JAMIE: Thank you for that. Chantal, and then Robert. I have been around people recently who have terminal illnesses. And you know, they know what the end is, and yet they are very
happy and optimistic. And it’s really about making
the best of what you have now and making that meaningful, as opposed to focusing on the end. And I use that as a
metaphor for the climate. I think it’s like we have, we know we have this time. And this time we can make good. JAMIE: Thank you. Robert. I’m standing in the middle
here thinking about Aristotle. And personally I’m a little discouraged, politically and maybe culturally. And I’m working to metabolize
that discouragement into action. But I draw a lot of hope in this moment from my location in the theatre community, because I think for other fields the idea of crisis can be something distant or arriving that’s unwanted or unfamiliar. But back to Aristotle, crisis is and has been for a long time at the center of our methods
and inquiry as theatre people. And we have a lot of history
that we carry forward, of people mobilizing entire communities around narratives of crisis in order to, you know, create community and make change happen. So that’s where I am. JAMIE: And anyone we
haven’t heard from much? I’m in a third space, a place that’s called determined, because I don’t like the binary. I’m resisting this binary
of hope and despair, just like I don’t like the
binary of denial and acceptance. For me, at least in my life, it’s… The hope and despair
can go back and forth. But what I’m trying to
cultivate is courage, is what I feel like I need
more than looking for hope. Because there may be
times I don’t see that, and I can’t have that be my beacon. JAMIE: Thank you. Third space. I saw Annalisa and I saw Julia earlier. Ooh, now I have a microphone. I guess I’ll… Maybe kind of going off
what you were saying. I didn’t actually mean
to put myself at the end, but I think people kept moving that way. (participants laughing) And then I was like, well, I’ll just stay. And it occurs to me,
actually, that from here, and I’m thinking
relationally in this room. I can see all the people who maybe have more hope in this moment than I necessarily do, which
actually is very inspiring, to, from this place of where I am in my personal life right now, look at all of the
people that are that way. And also, I just was
sort of thinking about… I learned recently of a
goddess named Akilandeswari, who is also called the
always-broken goddess. And I was thinking about how in places or in moments of despair or discouragement or whatever those are, which aren’t… Which aren’t where we live all the time, unless you’re the always-broken goddess, they actually can be very powerful. Because it’s when we’re
broken or when we feel broken that we have the power to
put ourselves back together and to choose… To choose what are the possibilities of putting ourselves back together? So in my not wanting to be at that end, this is where I ended up. Can you say your name again?
Annalisa. The name of the goddess.
Oh, sorry. Akilandeswari. JAMIE: Thank you. Julia, then Una. Yeah, I’m echoing this third space. I thought about the middle because I’m like, two sides
of a coin at any point. And now with this calling of the question, I feel resistant to choosing either one. And I just, I don’t know. I have so many question that
we’re gonna explore today. And I just wanna echo these
third spaces, gray areas. JAMIE: Thank you. Anyone else who we
haven’t heard much from? Ooh, Kyoko. Haven’t really had my thoughts together, but I’m in the middle, too. Because I get pulled towards a hope when I hear from artists
expressing the issue, and the message or message
embedded in their expression. Totally hopeful. But then when I think
about the global power who has the money and the power. And also not just the
transnational corporations and the whole money as a bottom line or the ultimate goal, but also when we look at ourselves, we tend to go towards
what’s most convenient, what’s most comfortable. I think that the people in this room are very resistant to
that and aware of that, but I also know quite a
lot of people who aren’t, in any parts of the country or the world. So that’s why I’m in between
the hopeful and despair. JAMIE: Great, thank you. And Lani, to close us out. I just wanted to share really quickly. I’ve been reading the… I don’t know if anyone’s read the Ursula K. Le Guin Earthsea series? It’s like a series of
fantasy novels, so beautiful. My first time. And I was thinking about how
she talks about this balance, and how the dark and
the light in her world don’t exist without each
other, and how she says… She writes, “Every word
is said in silence. “Every candle lit casts a shadow.” And so when I think about
the inspiring things that I’ve heard people say today, I think about how these
things, hope and despair, kind of need each other to exist. JAMIE: And that’s a perfect synthesis. Thank you for that. Okay, so we, please bear with me for
like, three more minutes. We have the amazing Blair here, who’s taking some photos. And we’re gonna take this
opportunity to do a group photo before we go on a break. So the quicker we are, the
quicker you can get to a break. Blair, where would you like us to set up? BLAIR: Against this wall would be great, or like in front of. You don’t have to move all the chairs– Just in front of the chairs right here? Okay, great. So if everyone can get
together and find a window. We’ll also take one tomorrow, because unfortunately there’s a few people who are late or had travel delays. (participants chattering) Oh, I see. Okay, we’re changing tactics here. Can people sit in the chairs? And then everyone go actually
behind the chairs, too, so we have some built-in levels. David Dower’s a director,
ladies and gentlemen. (chuckling) You can tell it. Okay, but we need people
to sit in these chairs. Folks on the edges who
are maybe out of frame, come and sit on these chairs. (participants chattering) Yeah, you probably don’t
wanna be the only one. Great, okay. Yeah, Chantal and Abigail move in. Yes, yes. Get in here. Everyone, everyone. Stokely, too. Shasha, Dante, Carolina. I’ll take this seat. My dress won’t allow a down
in front pose, unfortunately. Okay. BLAIR: One, two, three. (chuckling) JAMIE: Great. Thank you, Blair. Okay, thank you everyone so much. We are on a break. We will be back promptly at 2:55. Thank you.

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