#1 – #5

Transdisciplinary Activity #1


Louise Davey and Marjolaine Arpin

AbstractThrough 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.

BioLouise 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.

Transdisciplinary Activity #2

Bio.mythic Beings in a Biological World

John Cimino

AbstractWe 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?

BioJohn 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.

Transdisciplinary Activity #3

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:  Catherine 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 …


Transdisciplinary Activity #4

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.

Transdisciplinary Activity #5

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.