6 April 2021

That Summer That Changed Everything

By Anne-Catherine Lebeau
Summer 2018, Trois-Pistoles by the river.

My friend Jasmine Catudal and I are with our children. They spend their days on the shore in this land that is so dear to us, that is part of us, that we do not want to see deteriorate before our eyes.

Jasmine and I endlessly discuss our deep desire for more meaning in our professional lives, a desire to name and overcome what bothers and worries us.

Jasmine is developing the programming for the Quebec exhibition for the Prague Scenography Quadrennial (2019) and has courageously decided to focus on the waste generated by scenography.

Who knows, theater may hold the keystone for a renewed environmentalism for the rest of the world

[name]Jasmine Catudal[/name]

The following fall, Yves-Marie Abraham’s “Sustainable Degrowth” course at HEC Montreal called into question all the solutions that I had rigorously studied during the three previous years at the D.E.S.S. in the management of cultural organizations and which I was about to put into practice. It was now clear to me that the frameworks I had been taught were in fact the source of the problem. The proposed path propelled us into the wall and a new path had to be paved. The avenues for reflection presented in the degrowth course gave me the keys to conceive my projects in a completely different way.

I then resolutely embarked on a very creative challenge: to set up an organization whose mission would be to reduce the environmental impact of cultural production. But how?

I am branching off towards social innovation and the circular economy. I see us again, Jasmine and I, in a corridor of HEC Montreal, the graph of the circular economy in our hands; both feeling that we are holding avenues that would allow us to reshape methods of doing things, to plug the leaks, to create value based on collaboration rather than ownership.

schema economie circulaire mars2020 2

Écoscéno was officially born in October 2019 with Jasmine as President, I as General Manager, and a great team committed to our crazy, urgent and necessary project. The year 2020, which we symbolically imagined as a decisive year, shook everything that came before it by plunging us into a pandemic that we obviously did not foresee. But it has only shown us with greater intensity that it is time to act.

Face to face with the wind, we made some striking discoveries, and met creators whose initiatives have moved us. We challenged common practices to transform them. We have been generously welcomed among those who firmly believe that it is possible, necessary, and exciting to change the way we do things.

Today we are launching this blog to share our journey, our discoveries, and our progress with you. It is by drawing inspiration from everything that has come before us that we have found the keys to new approaches.

Several members of the Écoscéno team will take turns sharing their findings and how several eco-design strategies are put into practice in the Quebec creations we support.

Every two months, the team from the Conseil québécois des événements écoresponsables, a Quebec pioneer in eco-responsibility applied to the artistic field, will share inspiring advances on their journey and those of the groups they support.

It is on the foundation of decisive financial support from the cultural development agreement between the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Culture and Communications that we will endeavor to show the initiatives that we sincerely hope will inspire your actions.

Because it is together that we will transform the rules of the art.