Transdisciplinary Activities

Do birds have a conductor?

Catherine Bouchain & Christophe Piot

Abstract:  In one place, all the singing birds are male ; they use their song to try to drive the other males out of the territory, at the same time attracting the females. Each song must therefore be heard from as far away as possible and must also be recognized by the males and females of the species. How to avoid all the songs getting mixed up in a general cacophony where no-one recognizes anyone? In this context, is the tree allied to the bird or does it hinder the propagation of the song?

The composition of the soundscape can also be analysed as a succession of sound events, the latter carry information and are thus going to cause reactions, influence the behaviour of other birds (song, alarm or contact calls, noise of movement indicating presence, …) This game of cause/effect, question/answer is also the basis for the organisation of improvised music. Musical signals which allow musicians to communicate and therefore to play coherent music together, without following a score to the note.

Examples to listen to, explanations, public participation, will guide us on the tracks of a universal composer…

Bio:  Catherin Bouchain: Bioacoustics and musical illustration, animator in science and nature. University studies in Biology (Rennes and Gabon), specialized in audio communication in primates. Then discovered the practice of sound and the craft of sound editing in Sitelle. A degree in multimedia design and construction (Paris).

The transmission of feelings that can be in nature, especially the sounds, motivates me and I try to awaken the public to this dimension.

Piot Christophe: Drummer / percussionist, studied music since the age of 6 years. Studies with Yves Teslar to CIM, Peter Erskine (master class), studied Afro-Cuban music in France and Cuba (Olivier Congar, Alberto Villareal, Panga, Availles Armando, Ernesto Gatel,…).

Fascinated by the rythms of all kinds, he is actively involved in many projects jazz, chanson, world, trad …


Bio.mythic Beings in a Biological World

John Cimino

Abstract: We human beings are creatures of imagery and narrative as much as we are creatures of logic and technology. The stories we tell ourselves about how the world works, how to get ahead and how to manage the planet have their roots in a long ago time and can no longer guide us. Yet we cling to the old stories as “mindforged manacles” (Blake) limiting our range of motion, emotion, empathy and possibility.

One well-worn story aptly named “The Course of Empire”, tracks our development from hunter-gatherers tucked into Nature’s fierce embrace, to inventors of craft and religion, and onward to great metropolises built on the backs of the less fortunate and torn from the hide of the natural world. Of course, the tale ends badly. Greed and vengeance topple our empire and we leave the place in ruins. How many times have we witnessed this cycle and are we capable of re-envisioning a different course?

In this session, we immerse ourselves in bio-mythic tales, those which govern us still and those emerging from the periphery demanding a more dedicated form of attentiveness which philosopher, Georg Kuhlewind, has called love. We treat ourselves to Thomas Cole’s epic paintings, The Course of Empire , to A.R.

Ammons’ mind-shifting meditation on nature, Corson’s Inlet, and a prologue to a play by Anne Rhodes, The Blackbird Project. Our essential question: What are our convictions concerning Sustainability and how can the arts help us address these issues and move us toward action?

Bio: John Cimino is president and CEO of Creative Leaps International and The Learning Arts. Educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (biology & physics), the State University of New York at Albany (learning theory), and the Manhattan and Juilliard Schools of Music (music & voice), Cimino holds a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective and works across a variety of disciplines dedicated to learning, human development and social change. As a champion of the arts in education, business and professional life, Cimino has brought his “Concerts of Ideas” and other innovative programs into projects of the White House, the Center for Creative Leadership and the leadership training programs of dozens of Fortune 500 companies including GE, IBM, Pfizer and McDonnell Douglas as well as to numerous universities, business schools and institutes for professional development. Projects include presentations before the Global Leadership Forum (Istanbul), the International Organization Development Association (Guanajuato), the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society (Irvine), the Academy of Management (Chicago), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Alexandria, VA) and the Association for Managers of Innovation (Greensboro),

Cimino is also an advisor to universities engaged in interdisciplinary restructuring and the integration of creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship as essential learning across the disciplines and in all aspects of university life. Finally, Cimino is a composer, author and winner of more than 20 national and international awards and prizes as an operatic and concert performer and has performed to acclaim throughout Europe and the United States including opposite opera luminaries Luciano Pavarotti, Carlo Bergonzi and Anna Moffo.


Strategies for Product and Service Design

Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella

Abstract: This workshop explores and discusses the differences in output and applicability between design approaches that focus on (1) the redesign of the sample product more efficiently by understanding and identifying problem areas (based on an eco-efficiency strategy); (2) the redesign of the functionality of the product more efficiently, so rethinking how else the function can be provided and designed (based on strategies such as closed loop approaches etc.); and (3) exploring the way in which the needs addressed by the given product can be provided differently (based on a sufficiency strategy).

Bio: Carmela Cucuzzella is a professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts of Concordia University. She received her PhD in Environmental Design in 2011 from Université de Montréal. She is a researcher at the Laboratory LEAP and leads the research focus on sustainable development. She is an expert in sustainable design (design for sustainability) as well as on assessment methodologies for analyzing the impacts of designed entities (Life Cycle Assessment – LCA, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – LEED) and has developed several comparative analyses on the repercussions of the introduction of environmental standards in the public space design competitions. Her research interests lie predominantly in integrating concerns and questions related to sustainability with the exploratory nature of design thinking by adopting ethical approaches to the environment (built as well as natural).



Louise Davey and Marjolaine Arpin

Abstract: Through continued elevation of and adherence to conventional business doctrine, much of the corporate world is now adrift from its anchors in society. Continuously fueled by technology and largely closed to criticism, the fragility of a singularly focused global economic model is revealed. At the core of this divergent macrosocioeconomic process is its dogged pursuit of “performance enhancement” through specialization, as evident by the increasingly segmented and isolated roles of those operating within the corporate sphere.

Ironically, the solution to rebalancing and reintegrating the market economy into a table socio-economic system starts by destabilizing and challenging those within it. Using transdisciplinary teachings and methods, conventional business doctrine can be both examined and remedied in new and remarkably powerful ways. Among many possible disciplines, few are quite as potent as the visual arts. Used as a catalyst, contemporary art allows us to engage business people in conversations that could never be initiated in the language of business. This process of enlightenment ultimately leads to a broader understanding of one’s place in the world and to more socially and environmentally conscious business models.

The lecture-gallery experience proposed applies new lenses to business and, through a few select art works, illustrates the contrasts (and continuities) between the “real object” and its representation. Specifically, how (1) a work of art allows us to approach very challenging topics, (2) make us aware of our relationship to the “every day” world and (3) through that experience make us want to make a very real change.

Bio: Louise has over 20 years experience helping companies design and navigate major change processes. She currently operates as an independent Management Consultant specializing in the area of business transformation where her work includes strategic reorientation, operational effectiveness optimization, corporate culture transformation, corporate restructuring, operational due diligence and merger and acquisition integration support. Adept in both strategy and execution with broad interests inside and outside the field of business, Louise is able to influence and leverage the many facets of the business environment including its operating culture, its people, its internal and external processes and its technology.

Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Louise held several senior executive level positions where she has helped her companies of service achieve higher levels of sustainability and business performance. Her combined operational and consulting experience make her particularly effective in helping other organizations overcome day-to-day challenges of in order to think and progress in new strategic directions.

Louise also has a long-standing interest in community involvement and environmental causes and has introduced these values into business cultures with positive effects. Louise holds a Master’s degree in Physics from McGill University. She is fluent in English and French.

Since 2007, Marjolaine Arpin, a selfproclaimed “Art Ambassador” has been working as a catalyst between the art and business world, endeavouring to develop ever new forms of corporate philanthropy in line the realities of the emerging art world. This includes taking the role of manager and curator at Les Zones d’art actuel while acting as an assistant and guide for emerging artists.

In addition to her work as an academic researcher, artistic critic and collaborator with private galleries and art centres, she combines theory and practice to identify and present new perspectives on emerging art while investing herself fully in the Quebec contemporary art community.

Supported by the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Marjolaine is currently completing a Master in Art History at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), where she specializes in contemporary art. Her academic research, referred to “hypermodern” in contemporary society, focuses on emerging artists and their works on the miniature scale with a nod to “new” forms of excess and the sublime.

Marjolaine is also an active contributor to Esse arts+opinions and Spirale, two prominent Quebec-based art magazines and writes texts for art exhibition catalogues and booklets.


Dialogues about Mother Earth: First Nation and Mapuche Youth addressing Biocultural Diversity Issues through Cinema

Thora Herrmann (Session organizers: Wapiloni mobile, Ariella Orbach, Andrés Ibáñez, Guido Huaiquil, Elke Shüttler, and Thora Herrmann)

Abstract: The challenges faced by indigenous communities in the Americas to access and control traditional lands and resources and maintain local livelihoods and cultural identities require transdisciplinary efforts and innovative tools. Video is an accessible, powerful information and communication technology (ICT) for enabling marginalized and disenfranchised indigenous communities, particularly indigenous youth, to make their voices heard, bring local perspectives to the forefront of national and global policy debates and overcome barriers of prejudice and discrimination. This session explores the power of cinematographic art, and ICTs for addressing biocultural diversity issues of concern for indigenous communities through the eyes of their youth across two distinct realities: First Nations communities in Quebec and Mapuche communities in Chile. This session offers a round table discussion and exchange with Chilean and Canadian research, cultural and indigenous organizations, and young First Nations and Mapuche film maker; and screenings of a number of short films created by youth trained in scriptwriting, directing, camera, sound recording and editing. In an era where fragmentation and destruction of ecosystems essential to indigenous cultures have led to erosion of traditional ecological knowledge, we open a space for collective reflection on ‘cinema’ as a vehicle for enabling indigenous voices to reach a wider public and to foster a deeper understanding of indigenous perspectives and bringing these to the forefront of environmental debates. The short films screened illustrate youth attitudes toward biocultural diversity challenges, well-being and self-identity, as a medium for self-representation and advocacy for change.

Bio: Wapikoni mobile: Mobile audiovisual training program for rural/remote First Nations youth, working in 18 communities across Québec and initiating 2,000 youth in the use of new ICTs. A new international development actor, working in three South American countries since 2010. Representative and First Nations Filmmaker attending this session to be confirmed.

Thora Herrmann: Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal, with expertise in participatory and community-based research projects on indigenous ecological knowledge and practices, and biocultural diversity conservation in Mapuche and First Nation contexts. Worked at United Nations and German Agency for International Development on issues related to cultural and spiritual values of biodiversity and indigenous rights.

Elke Schüttler: Post-doctoral Researcher at PUC and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany), with expertise in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Latin America. Works in interdisciplinary and applied investigation projects on Mapuche knowledge and practices of the natural environment in Chile. Guido Huaiquil: Founder and Director of Mapuche TV and member of board of directors of the Centro de Desarrollo Socio-Cultural Mapuche. Partnered with Wapikoni mobile for the implementation of the First Mapuche Summer School in Cinematography (2010-2011).

Ariella Orbach & Andrés Ibáñez: Cofounders and Directors of Strategic Video Initiative, with a background in rural development, project management, and capacity development. Since 2008 implementing audiovisual capacity development projects with Mapuche communities, emphasizing local applications of video for promoting indigenous rights and self-determination. Co-planned and managed the First Mapuche Summer School in Cinematography.


Soundwalking Interactions

Dr. Andra McCartney and Don Sinclair

Abstract: The Soundwalking Interactions project investigates how people listen during soundwalk activities and artworks. We will present a public soundwalk, invite members of the public to listen to a recording of the walk during a workshop, and then participate in the creation of a sound work out of that recording that will document the event. Participants are invited to bring audio recording equipment if they wish.

The session will include a 30 minute soundwalk, discussion of listening practices, and demonstration by collaborators Andra McCartney (Concordia University) and Don Sinclair (York University) of ways to work with soundwalk materials to make meaningful environmental narratives. All participants will be given access to a sound recording of the walk online and invited to take part in an internet forum of soundwalk recording and listening exchanges.

Bios: Andra McCartney. Since the mid 1990s, I have been developing an approach to the creation of electroacoustic soundwalk art which integrates audience responses into the creative development of walks and installations. Through my background in ethnomusicology, communication, and cultural studies, I think and write about electroacoustic, sound art and sound recording fields as cultures, considering what kinds of interpretive routines are acceptable within these disciplines, and how aesthetic and professional discourses are established. I transform soundwalk recordings into interactive installations, produced collaboratively in recent years with Don Sinclair, interactive artist and professor at York University in Toronto. I am especially interested in questions of gender in relation to sound technologies. I have written most extensively about Vancouver soundscape composer, Hildegard Westerkamp. The In and Out of the Sound Studio research project investigates the working practices of soundmakers from a range of different professions, focusing particularly on the work of prominent women soundmakers. My present project, Soundwalking Interactions, focuses on the experiences of audiences with different kinds of soundwalk activities.

Don Sinclair is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media program in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University in Toronto, Canada. His creative research revolves around physical computing, interactive sound art, laptop performance, web art, database art, interactive dance, video projection, cycling art, sustainability, green architecture and choral singing. In addition to his internationally exhibited web art and video projects, he collaborates with dance artists, theatre practitioners and sound artists to create works that explore movement-based manipulation of sound and image. See his research creation web site


Using Improv to Save the World

Belina Raffy

Abstract: How do we work together when we don’t know what the ultimate solution is? Or when we know what we want, but we have no idea how to get there? How can we allow ourselves to change and to be generous with others when we are afraid? How can we train ourselves to be masterful at adapting to and including new information in to the story as it arises?

In this experiential session, we will work with either a) the boldest transformation challenge that we’re working with leading organizations in the UK on to solve or b) the most radical vision of the future from the conference – whichever is most inspiring to the group. We will introduce and use improvisational mindsets, principles, and techniques as a powerful technology to support people tackling these issues in doing what improvisers do best: to co-create solutions under pressure, in real-time, with the client watching – joyfully.

Our context is the most important one around – working with business people to fundamentally change how business is done. We support them in shifting the global crisis from something to fear and be mentally shut down by – to something we can work with collaboratively, creatively, quickly and nimbly to create changes now. We develop mindsets and skills so that no matter what emerges, we can respond well, together.

In this session, we will be exploring what improvisation is and how it might be useful in working collaboratively to save the world. Everyone is welcome. No experience necessary.

Bio: Belina is half French, half American and lives in England. She was made in Paris, born in the US, and raised in the US, Mexico and Canada. She grew up playing in the forests of North America She spent the first part of her professional life as a cross-functional project manager for Citigroup, using her ability to intuitively work with complex systems, connect with people and ask good questions. During this time, she started taking improvisation classes and noticed that her complex, dynamic role felt easier. In 1999, she got an MBA from Cranfield in England and has worked ever since with people around the world to build skills in business transformation, change, improvisational leadership, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

She uses improvisation mindsets, principles and techniques originating in theatre and adapted to business as both technology and content. Her passion and next book topic is to ‘use improv to save the world’ – and for her, this can range from improving the interaction between two people to world work. Belina is the Empress of Maffick Ltd, and has worked with organizations including Charities Financial Directors’ Group, Kew Royal Botantical Gardens, Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, General Motors, the Cranfield School of Management, London Business School, Exeter Business School, London School of Economics, and Moscow Higher School of Economics.

To keep her improv skills sharp, she also works with young offenders at the Reading HM Prison. She has also chaired two Applied Improvisation Network world conferences (Portland and Baltimore).


Deep Listening Bathysphere Sub Aquatic Audio Listening Station

Paul Scriver

Abstract: Deep Listening Bathysphere is an immersive multichannel audio installation in sculptural form. This mobile installation is conceived as an intimate, enveloping space that will allow audience members to interface aurally with sounds being gathered underwater from historically significant and environmentally compromised waterways in the Montreal metropolitan area. The intent of Deep Listening Bathysphere is to place audience members in a direct aural relationship with sounds otherwise inaudible, but nonetheless significant to the cultural and historical matrix of their environment.


From genomes to the environment: Can we create a sustainable future? A sticky wiki installation

David Secko, Anne Goldenberg, Anne Gorry, Lisa Gualtieri and David Mason

Abstract: The Genozymes-GE3LS project is a Concordia based science and society group which, among other activities, attempts to trigger public discussion and knowledge building about the environmental and societal dimensions of genomic science, with a special focus on environmental footprints, sustainability, communications and public engagement.

For Balance – Unbalance 2011, this multidisciplinary team will present an installation that plays the role of catalyst for a public discussion on the potential outcomes of genomic research as related to our degrading environment. It will include a three dimensional participatory mind-map that includes diverse material for participants to consider and include in the structure, as well as an innovative synchronized structured wiki interpretation, as a continuous way to openly develop knowledge in this field.

The participatory installation will invite the public and experts to discuss the relationship between science and society, with a focus on the role of genomics. We will use participant-generated content from a previous public engagement event as a starting point and encourage participants to contribute and link ideas, projects and themes. Ultimately, the installation will work to integrate all contributions into a structured wiki to add both permanence and impact to deliberative outcomes on the event. This will make the generated content, which will address our collective future in the face of a global environmental crisis, available for successive projects focusing on linked ideation and the generation of meaningful environmental solutions that respect multiple value systems.

Bio:  Anne Goldenberg has a Ph.D. in communication and sociology. She is a facilitator and a socio-cognitive sculpture that has produced several participatory installations around the word. In particular, the installation ourcollnnectiveminds ( ) is the partial inspiration for this project. She will lead the physical installation.

Anne Gorry is an epistemologist, and specialist in the relationship between sciences and society. She is finishing an MD about scientific mediation and the sciences and society discourse. She will provide analytic resources for the installation.

Lisa Gualtieri is a Research Assistant with the Genozymes-GE3LS project, where she studies environmental sustainability issues related to genomics-based biofuel development. She will provide research support and issue documentation.

David Mason is a long term innovator and technologist, supporting knowledge development, public engagement and digital literacy in fields including the formative Internet, government, health, science and non profits. He will lead the structured wiki.

David Secko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism at Concordia University. His research links across journalism, public engagement, science and ethical issues to clarify and experiment with the roles of the public, experts and journalists in the democratic governance of biotechnology. He is the team leader and will add expertise in communications, public engagement methodologies and event facilitation.


GAMES FOR A NEW CLIMATE: Participatory activities for linking climate science with humanitarian work through the art of choice.

Pablo Suarez

Abstract: Why do people continue to suffer and die due to entirely predictable natural hazards? The remarkable progress in science and technology over recent decades allows us to anticipate future conditions, communicate early warnings and take early action to avoid losses, yet many recent disasters are evidence of a dreadful gap between science and the humanitarian sector. Can forecasters and risk managers build common ground through creative processes?

The natural and social systems involved in disasters have dynamic elements that are not easy to grasp through conventional, linear educational approaches. How to devise a communication platform that can successfully convey the existence and relevance of system complexity? Feedbacks, non-linearities, delays, unanticipated “side effects”, and trade-offs between the macro and the micro levels are inherent in risk management decisions, and should be part of the learning experience of government officials and illiterate farmers alike. Well-designed games, like adaptation measures, involve decisions with consequences. Games can help people and organizations improve access, understanding, trust and utilization of information for climate adaptation. Through games we can learn how climate sensitive systems work and the system rewards us as we learn.

In this session we will experience the challenges confronted by subsistence farmers, the Red Cross and donors through a seriously fun game that combines collaboration and competition, as well as art and science: participants will make decisions about disaster management with limited resources. There will be winners and losers. We will discuss the role of innovative participatory approaches for linking knowledge with action.

Bio: Pablo Suarez is Associate Director of Programs for the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, as well as consultant for Oxfam America, visiting fellow at Boston University, and research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. He has consulted for the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme, the World Bank Development Economics Research Group, and about twenty other international humanitarian and development organizations, working in more than 45 countries. His current work addresses institutional integration across disciplines and geographic scales, and the use of innovative tools for climate risk management – including the design and facilitation of participatory games fo learning and managing complex dynamic systems. Pablo holds a master’s degree in planning, and a Ph.D. in geography.