CNMN > Projects > Energy Matters Workshop (Part B): An Auditory Approach to Energy Accessibility

Shumaila Hemani

  • Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
  • Voice
  • Digital devices
  • Adults

90 minute workshop

  • Education
  • Community associations
  • Justice
  • Ecology

Energy Matters Workshop (Part B): An Auditory Approach to Energy Accessibility


Art can become a means to inte­grate mar­gin­al­ized voic­es into the con­ver­sa­tion. It can voice aspects of the issue not oth­er­wise expressed in pub­lic doc­u­ments or pol­i­cy state­ments. Art helps us to lis­ten bet­ter. How might we har­ness the pow­er of arts to explore issues around ener­gy acces­si­bil­i­ty? Ener­gy afford­abil­i­ty is an increas­ing con­cern for many Cana­di­ans; how­ev­er, speak­ing about (un)affordability con­tin­ues to be prob­lem­at­ic. In the series of com­mu­ni­ty-engaged arts work­shops, Ener­gy Mat­ters, we involved stake­hold­ers to address ques­tions such as: How vital is ener­gy afford­abil­i­ty in devel­op­ing sus­tain­able cities? How do cli­mate change and Canada’s tran­si­tion to Net Zero impact low-income groups strug­gling with ener­gy afford­abil­i­ty? Why must Afford­able Hous­ing inte­grate ener­gy affordability?

I was priv­i­leged to col­lab­o­rate (as the FUTURES/for­ward and Tri­co Change­mak­ers Studio’s artist-in-res­i­dence in co-cre­at­ing and facil­i­tat­ing the Ener­gy Mat­ters project) with Alber­ta Ecotrust (SEE the LINKS BELOW for more infor­ma­tion) and their part­ners (ACORN, Kam­bo, Ener­gy Effi­cien­cy, All One Sky, and oth­ers) in their Ener­gy Pover­ty and Home Upgrades Pro­gramEner­gy Mat­ters was a series of par­tic­i­pa­to­ry arts work­shops where par­tic­i­pants (stake­hold­ers who were ener­gy advo­cates with­in their orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Home Upgrades pro­gram staff at Alber­ta Ecotrust and advo­cates from Ecotrust’s part­ners: ACORN, All One Sky, and Cal­gary Alliance for the Com­mon Good) engaged in arts-based dia­logue around ener­gy pover­ty using cre­ative activ­i­ties to reflect on the ways ener­gy afford­abil­i­ty is con­nect­ed with cli­mate change and the pro-poor poli­cies that could gen­er­ate more equi­ty.  The project was based on inter­sec­tion­al ethics of care that looked at the ways ener­gy afford­abil­i­ty impacts var­i­ous sec­tions of our soci­ety, includ­ing seniors, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, women, and newcomers.

Each work­shop start­ed with an activ­i­ty that involved embod­ied deep lis­ten­ing and attun­ing the ear to approach ques­tions about ener­gy unaf­ford­abil­i­ty from an audi­to­ry approach that facil­i­tates cre­at­ing sound arts for social change. Refer to Part A in PCM hub to see an exam­ple of this activ­i­ty. Part B will assist you in cre­at­ing prompts for par­tic­i­pants to reflect on.


1)    Fol­low­ing a guid­ed med­i­ta­tion, involve the par­tic­i­pants in an audi­to­ry reflec­tion activ­i­ty that per­tains to their every­day real­i­ties and their expe­ri­ence of them. See below for examples:

Exam­ple 1: What is the one sound that you heard this morn­ing that brought you here today. [See the attached video]

Exam­ple 2: What are the sounds that you find agree­able and calming?

Exam­ple 3: What are the sounds that you find unpleas­ant and dis­rupt­ing your comfort?


2)    Next, engage the par­tic­i­pants in a reflec­tion that per­tains to their work on ener­gy accessibility.

See the images below as an exam­ple of how the par­tic­i­pants were involved in a crit­i­cal­ly self-reflex­ive dia­logue that ensured the cre­ation of a space of open­ness and mutu­al respect where they shared the bias­es and prej­u­dices that they bring to their work on ener­gy acces­si­bil­i­ty. Par­tic­i­pants were asked to ques­tion the bias­es and prej­u­dices they bring to their work address­ing ener­gy inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty. What are the lim­i­ta­tions to their lis­ten­ing to peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing the cri­sis of ener­gy afford­abil­i­ty?  [See the respons­es of one group in the jam board in the image gallery below]


3)    Ask par­tic­i­pants to read oth­er respons­es on the jam board and share their per­spec­tives. [See the attached video for an exam­ple of this activity].



Read More +



Image Gallery