Conversations in art about ecological collapse and our place in the changing world


Philippe Allard

Philippe Allard has shown his work in individual and group exhibitions in Canada, France, Portugal, Morocco, and South Korea, and has received several public and private commissions. He was, with Justin Duchesneau, winner of the Place des Arts de Montréal Competition (2009), recipient of the AGAC public art prize for his installation Courtepointe (2014), and creator of the permanent public work Le Joyau Royal et le Golden Mile for the City of Montreal Public Art Bureau. In 2019, Allard’s work was featured in the international publication Hundred Sculptors of Tomorrow (Thames & Hudson).

Allard’s current practice is focused on installation and in situ pieces involving salvaged materials and found objects that are available in large quantities. When manipulated, grouped, and transformed into mega-structures, these objects become public monuments that confront viewers to question the real utility of the objects, and depict the absurdity of the parasitic attitude of humans toward the natural environment. Philippe Allard lives and works in Montreal.

Cynthia Alvarez

Cynthia Alvarez is a mixed media artist living in New Jersey.

Her work is an investigation into the infinite, discordant, beautiful peculiarities that lie in the subconscious, as well as the natural rhythms present when one is in a state of producing art.  A view into a mind that is trying to make sense of all the inequalities, beauties, horror, hope, and chaos present in the world today. There is a love of colour, form, texture present in all the works.

She has exhibited in galleries and art spaces throughout New York and New Jersey.

Madeline Bassnett

Madeline Bassnett is the author of the poetry collection Under the Gamma Camera (Gaspereau 2019), and two chapbooks, Pilgrimage and Elegies. Her poems have appeared in journals including long con magazine, Prairie Fire, Hamilton Arts and LettersThe New Quarterly, and in the anthology, In Fine Form, 2nd Edition: A Contemporary Look at Canadian Form Poetry. She is currently on the board of Poetry London and teaches in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University. She lives in London, Ontario.

Dan Bergeron

Dan Bergeron is a public artist who employs a range of styles, themes, and materials to activate and explore the meaning of our shared public spaces. The shape, texture, and location of a site and its history or current uses dictate the form and content of his projects. Dan’s projects are sometimes commissioned and sometimes uncommissioned; sometimes temporary and sometimes permanent. Dan’s public installations aim to open a dialog with viewers, promoting engagement through both intimate familiarity and wonder at the unexpected. 

Dan has installed uncommissioned works in cities around the world including London, New York, Paris, and Amsterdam. He has completed commissions for the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, and the Luminato Festival, as well as creating permanent public artworks for the City of Toronto, the City of Richmond, BC, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Heather Birrell

Heather Birrell’s first collection of poems, Float and Scurry, recently won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award. She is also the author of two collections of stories I Know You Are But What Am I? and Mad Hope, which the Toronto Review of Books called “completely enthralling and profoundly grounded in an empathy for the traumas and moments of relief of simply being human”. She lives in Toronto, where she works as a high school teacher and creative writing instructor. Currently, she is collaborating with singer-songwriter Angie Hilts to adapt poems from Float and Scurry into songs. She hopes John Prine approves.

Carol Bruneau

Carol Bruneau is the Halifax-based author of three short story collections and five novels, with a sixth forthcoming. She has lived most of her life near the stretch of shoreline she writes about, regularly witnessing the catastrophic rise in sea level.

Catherine Bush

Catherine Bush is the author of four novels, including the Canada Reads long-listed Accusation (2013), the Trillium Award short-listed Claire’s Head (2004), and the national bestselling The Rules of Engagement (2000), also a New York Times Notable Book and an L.A. Times Best Book of the Year. She was recently a Fiction Meets Science Fellow at the HWK in Germany and has spoken internationally about addressing the climate crisis in fiction. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph and Coordinator of the Guelph Creative Writing MFA, based in Toronto. She lives in Toronto and an old schoolhouse in eastern Ontario.

Anna Cameron

Anna Cameron is a Fredericton-based painter who graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. She has exhibited her work in galleries on both coasts and her work is held in private collections across North America and Europe. In her work, she explores her fascination with the changing earth — the shifting of plates, erosion, fossils, and other geological events — and in the marks, scars, souvenirs left behind. These marks and lines reveal a story of time past but also of time present — a time in which we are seeing the troubling geological events and consequences triggered by humankind.

Through colour, brushstroke, layering, and mark-making, Anna builds her landscapes to create mood, rhythm, and depth, and in doing so, creates her story.

Charles Checketts

Charles Checketts lives in Toronto, where he shares a home with Heather Birrell and their family. He likes illustrating for books and magazines and sitting on the porch playing his banjo.

Nadia Collins

Nadia Collins is a graphic artist and photographer. She lives in Ottawa.

Valerie Compton

Valerie Compton is the author of the novel Tide Road and a number of short stories. She is also a co-founder of Narrative Agency, where she mentors emerging writers and edits fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Tom Cull

Tom Cull teaches creative writing at Western University and was the Poet Laureate for the City of London from 2016-2018. Tom’s first collection of poems, Bad Animals, was published in 2018 by Insomniac Press. His chapbook, What the Badger Said, was published in 2013 (Baseline Press). Tom is the director of Antler River Rally, a grass roots environmental group he co-founded in 2012 with his partner Miriam Love. ARR works to protect and restore Deshkan Ziibing (Thames River). Tom is also an online editor for Watch Your Head, an anthology of creative works devoted to climate justice.

Alexandrya Eaton

Alexandrya Eaton is a contemporary Canadian painter. Eaton has had over forty solo exhibitions of her work and her paintings hang in numerous private and public collections. In the past decade her practice has grown to include rug-hooking, incorporating the same vibrant palette and feminine icons across both mediums.

Eaton works in a very physical way, painting quickly and on the floor. Her inclusion of tools such as rollers, tape, and handmade stencils facilitates her fascination with the repetition of images. Infusing her work with bold colour and lush texture, Alexandrya is interested in femininity and the representation of a powerful female image.

Bethany Gibson

Bethany Gibson is a writer and editor. She is the acquiring fiction editor for Goose Lane Editions, and a co-founder of Narrative Agency, where she edits fiction and narrative nonfiction. She is also the creator of the Scales Project. She lives in Ottawa.

Sue Goyette

Sue Goyette lives in K’jipuktuk (Halifax), the unceded and unsurrendered land of the Mi’kmaq peoples. She has published six books of poems and a novel. Her latest collection is Penelope (Gaspereau Press, 2017). She has been nominated for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award and has won several awards including the 2015 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award for her collection, Ocean. Sue teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Dalhousie University.

Laurie D. Graham

Laurie D. Graham is a writer, an editor, and the publisher of Brick magazine. Her books of poetry are Rove, Settler Education, and a collaborative chapbook with artist Amanda Rhodenizer called The Larger Forgetting. Recent work can also be found in the anthologies Sweet Water: Poems for the Watersheds and Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate Changing Times.

Carla Gunn

Carla Gunn spends most of her time teaching psychology courses and keeping up on bad-news stories about the environment. Just over a decade ago, her escalating eco-anxiety prompted her to explore this theme in fiction and this resulted in the novel, Amphibian, published by Coach House Books in 2009 and short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize for best first novel. She recently resumed work on a couple of novels in progress, both with environmental themes.

Summer J. Hart

Summer J. Hart is an interdisciplinary artist from Maine, living in the Hudson Valley, New York. Her written and visual artworks are influenced by folklore, superstition, divination, and forgotten territories reclaimed by nature. She is the author of the micro-chapbook, Augury of Ash (Post Ghost Press, 2020). Her poetry can be found in WaxwingThe Massachusetts ReviewNorthern New England Review, and elsewhere. Hart’s mixed-media installations have been featured in galleries including Pen + Brush, NYC; Gitana Rosa Gallery at Paterson Art Factory, Paterson, NJ; and LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA. She is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation.

Steven Heighton

Steven Heighton received the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry for The Waking Comes Late. His work has appeared in Granta, the London Review of Books, Poetry, Best American Poetry, Tin House, Best American Mystery Stories, and the New York Times Book Review. His forthcoming work includes Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos (Biblioasis, 2020), and a volume of new and selected poems (Anansi, 2021).

David Huebert

David Huebert’s work has won the CBC Short Story Prize, The Walrus Poetry Prize, and was a National Magazine Award nominee (fiction) in 2018 and 2019. David’s fiction debut, Peninsula Sinking, won a Dartmouth Book Award, was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Prize, and was runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His second collection of poems, Humanimus, will be published in fall 2020. He lives, writes, and teaches in K’jipuktuk (Halifax).

Philip Huynh

Philip Huynh is the author of the story collection The Forbidden Purple City (Goose Lane Editions, 2019), which was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award and for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Huynh is also a practising lawyer. He lives in Richmond, B.C., with his wife and twin daughters.

Kim Vose Jones

Kim Vose Jones is a Fredericton-based installation artist who grew wandering the forests of southern Ontario, building a series of unstable treehouses on other people’s property. Her work draws upon notions of abjection and the sublime to question commonplace dichotomies. Her most recent creations delve into notions of commodification and artificiality, as both ideological centrepieces of contemporary culture and reflections of self-obsessive jouissance.

Anita Lahey

Anita Lahey’s books include The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture (Palimpsest Press, 2013) and two Véhicule Press poetry collections: Spinning Side Kick and Out to Dry in Cape Breton. Anita is also a journalist and series editor of the Best Canadian Poetry in English anthology. Her memoir The Last Goldfish: A True Tale of Friendship, is forthcoming from Biblioasis. She lives in Ottawa.

Heather Lane

Heather Lane is a Vancouver-based visual artist. Born in Charlottetown, PEI, she graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, UBC, and Dalhousie University, and has undertaken valuable mentorships in folk art and craft during a two-year period in Japan. 

Layered, compulsive, and protracted, her work suggests the influence of memory and the passage of time as metaphor for perception and experience — creating sensory records of notions for which language often proves insufficient. She is irresistibly drawn to the ideas of contrast and contradiction.

Heather lives and paints in North Vancouver. Her work is held in collections in the USA, Mexico, and Canada.

Joanna Lilley

Joanna Lilley is the author of three poetry collections: Endlings (Turnstone Press), If There Were Roads (Turnstone Press), and The Fleece Era (Brick Books) which was nominated for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her novel, Worry Stones (Ronsdale Press), was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award and she’s also the author of a short story collection, The Birthday Books (Hagios Press). Joanna has given readings and workshops as far afield as Alaska and Iceland. From Britain, Joanna now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, on the Traditional Territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.

Adam Malcolm

Adam Malcolm is a teacher, builder, writer, and musician. He lives in Cape Breton.

Heather Marmura

Heather Marmura (the Winter Painter) is a Fredericton-based artist. Her favourite mediums are watercolour, oils, collage, assemblage and printmaking. She loves playing with shapes and colours and her paintings are inspired by the places around her — often Maritime and New England landscapes. Marmura is interested in exploring how one’s identity is informed by place. Much of her work explores how we think about our environment, and how we’ve come to experience it as Canadians at a particular time in history.

Hilary McCarthy

Hilary McCarthy is a contemporary painter who lives and works in Laguna Beach, CA. She holds a BFA in painting from Hartford Art School and an MFA from New York Academy of Art. She is currently working on an art history degree at Columbia University. She is an adjunct professor of drawing and painting at Laguna College of Art and Design. Her artist residencies include locations in Puglia, Italy, Johnson, VT, and Leipzig, Germany. Her work evokes the complexities of the human condition, where the ocean forms a vast rhythmic backdrop. She is inspired by nature, dance, light, and the sea.

Elaine McCluskey

Elaine McCluskey lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the City of Lakes, and is the author of two novels and three short story collections. Her stories have been published in over twenty Canadian literary journals as well as internationally. McCluskey writes about people you might find in the corners of life: bouncers and boxers, the aggrieved and the unlucky. Her next book is being published by Goose Lane Editions. It is her hope that the lakes, a source of pleasure and purpose, sustenance and wonder, will be there for future generations.

J.R. McConvey

J.R. McConvey is a writer from Toronto. His first collection, Different Beasts, came out in 2019 with Goose Lane Editions. His stories have been shortlisted for the Journey Prize, the Bristol Short Story Prize, and the Matrix Lit Pop award, and appeared in The Malahat ReviewJoyland, The New Quarterly, and other publications.

Rhiannon Ng

Rhiannon Ng is a writer based in Chelsea, Quebec. Her poetry and lyrics have previously been featured in Jam & Sand Journal, the Lake Effect Anthology, and Down There. She is currently working on her first full-length poetry book.

Anton Piatigorsky

Anton Piatigorsky is an award-winning writer of fiction, plays, and librettos. His story collection, The Iron Bridge, is about 20th Century dictators when they were teenagers, and his novel, Al-Tounsi, follows the lives of fictional Justices of the US Supreme Court. Plays and libretti include Eternal Hydra, The Kabbalistic Psychoanalysis of Adam R. Tzaddik, Breath In Between, Airline Icarus, and The Offering. Anton has received commissions, residencies, and productions from the Stratford Festival and Soulpepper Theatre Company, and has twice won Toronto’s Dora Awards for best new play, amongst other awards and nominations. Anton teaches Research and Creative Writing in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University.

Dawn Promislow

Dawn Promislow is the Toronto-based author of a short story collection (Jewels and Other Stories, Mawenzi House, 2010), with a novel forthcoming. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been widely published in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

Claudia Coutu Radmore

Claudia Coutu Radmore writes lyric and Japanese-form poetry. Accidentals (Apt. 9 Press) won the 2011 bpNichol Chapbook Award. On Fogo (Alfred Gustav Press) was shortlisted for the 2017 Malahat Long Poem Contest. A poem from camera obscura (above/ground) was included in The Best Canadian Poetry 2019. Other collections include rabbit (Aeolus House Press, April 2020) and Park Ex Girl: Life with Gasometer (to be published by Shoreline Press, November 2020). Claudia lives in Carleton Place, west of Ottawa.


Roadsworth first gained notoriety as a street artist using a stencil-based technique to alter and subvert, in often playful and humorous ways, various elements of the urban landscape. This early period of his career is chronicled in the NFB documentary: Roadsworth: Crossing the Line. His ground paintings, murals, and installations have been commissioned throughout North America, also in South America, Europe, and Asia. He has showcased his work with the LAF, the Cirque du Soleil, the Tour de France, and Banksy’s Can’s Festival, to name a few. His unique approach of blending art and activism can be seen in his collaborations with such organizations as Greenpeace and Amnesty International. His recognizable brand of street art has been featured and discussed in many of the leading publications on street art in the past two decades. He lives in Montreal.

Patricia Roberston

Patricia Robertson’s third collection of short fiction, Hour of the Crab, will be released in fall, 2020. She is co-editor of a special issue of CNQ magazine, “Writing and Literature in an Age of Unravelling,” January, 2020.

Ava Roth

Ava Roth is a Toronto-based encaustic painter, embroiderer, and mixed-media artist. Roth’s current work brings together techniques from the discrete worlds of fine art and crafts. Her series of sewn encaustic paintings, her collection of encaustic embroideries, and her work with live beehives all push the boundaries of what we imagine possible in each individual practice.

Roth uses natural and local materials whenever possible. Canadian beeswax, reclaimed Ontario barn wood, birch bark, linen, landscape photography, and paper are hallmarks of her work. She is fundamentally guided and inspired by the organic materials she uses. 

Ava Roth is represented by Loop Gallery in Toronto, Wallspace Gallery in Ottawa, and Frederick Holmes and Company in Seattle. In addition to exhibiting in solo and group shows, Roth’s work has been featured in many online and print magazines, and she has been the recipient of several awards for her paintings. Her pieces have been acquired by private collectors throughout Canada and internationally.

Gabriel Specter

Gabriel Specter is internationally known for his murals, sculptures, and street art installations that revitalize forgotten environments. Specter employs a range of styles, themes, and materials to explore the meanings of our shared public spaces. He investigates the historical, environmental, and/or community context of his locations to create works that illuminate the relationship between a location and its surroundings. His artworks aim to open a dialogue with viewers, promoting engagement through both intimate familiarity and wonder at the unexpected. Gabriel Specter has been awarded a Canada Council International Residency Grant in New York City, created artwork for Prada runway shows and clothing lines, and completed installations for institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Margaret Sweatman

Margaret Sweatman has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, and the National Academy Orchestra, as well as the Broken Songs Band and other new music ensembles. Her novels are Mr. Jones, The Players, When Alice Lay Down with Peter, Sam and Angie, and Fox. She’s currently at work on a novel probably called The Gunsmith’s Daughter, and a play certainly called Fracas!

Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas is the author of four novels, all of which are preoccupied with individual response to a changing world. Her 2019 book, Five Wives, won the Governor General’s Award for fiction. Joan lives in Winnipeg.

Jocelyn Todd

Jocelyn Todd spent eight years living in London, England, where she studied a wide variety of both classical and cutting-edge dance techniques from world-renowned choreographers and teachers. She has presented her choreographic works in venues and festivals in London and Canada, was one of three choreographers chosen to be mentored by Peter Boneham in 2015, and in 2019 she was invited to create in-residence for Ottawa Dance Directive company dancers. She is the co-founder of Dark Horse Dance Projects, and in 2021 Jocelyn will be remounting and presenting the A-team, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Ryan Turner

Ryan Turner’s stories have been published in The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, and other reputable Canadian journals and magazines. His first collection, What We’re Made Of, was shortlisted for the ReLit Award. His latest collection, Half-Sisters & Other Stories, was published by Gaspereau Press in November 2019. He is the co-founder and co-director of the AfterWords Literary Festival in Halifax.

Mandy-Suzanne Wong

Mandy-Suzanne Wong is the author of the award-winning chapbooks Awabi (Digging Press) and Artificial Wilderness (Selcouth Station Press) as well as the exhibition catalog Animals Across Discipline, Time, and Space (McMaster). Her multi-award-winning novel Drafts of a Suicide Note (Regal House) was a Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award finalist and a PEN Open Book Award nominee. Her essay collection on nonhuman-animal voices in radical art, Listen, we all bleed, is forthcoming from New Rivers Press. Her work appears in Cosmonauts Avenue, Black Warrior Review, Entropy, Permafrost, The Spectacle, and other venues.

Jared Young

Jared Young is a novelist and screenwriter originally from Yellowknife, NT, and currently residing in Ottawa, ON. You can subscribe to his irregular newsletter documenting the plague year.

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