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.

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.

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.

Adam Malcolm

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

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.


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.

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.

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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