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  • Trevor 18:55 on 1 August 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Eco-ethics from the mountain to the city 

    I guess everyone spends a few years after undergrad wondering if they should go back to school. I haven’t ruled it out yet. But I have realise one very important thing. Studying doesn’t have to be something I do in school—it can be a hobby.

    I earned a humanities degree and it was truly invaluable—for the connections, the critical thinking, the confidence to learn independently, and the research skills. But the substance of what I studied—east asian religions and english literature—my current interest in those subjects is not enough to carry a career in academia. It’s certainly not deep enough that I want to spend two years learning Classical Chinese, a prerequisite for just starting a Master’s degree.

    It’s all still fascinating of course. I just don’t think I’ll get past the point of simply learning to the point where I could do original research. So at this point, learning is my hobby.

    There’s another possibility, of course. I can help those who are doing the original research share their findings with the world. Help find new ways to bring these fascinating stories to audiences outside the academy. That’s what I hope I’m doing with stories like this.

    Mark McGuire is one of the hip, young professors I met in Montreal that inspired me to learn so much about east asian religions. A professor at John Abbott College on the West Island, his teaching interests are world religions, applied sustainability research, and world cinema. This all crystalized in his film project Shugendo Now, a uniquely poetic documentary focusing on Japanese mountain asceticism in modern times. I had the privilege of seeing an early cut while in school, and it’s wonderful to see what he and Jean-Marc Abela have accomplished in the final product.

    When Terra Informa was planning a live show focused on spirituality and the environment, I immediately thought of shugendo. In this story, hosted with Nicole Wiart, I’ve enlisted Mark’s help to explore the eco-ethics arising out of this little-known Japanese spiritual practice.

    This story originally aired on Terra Informa in August, 2013.

  • Trevor 17:03 on 28 July 2013 Permalink | Reply

    Ben Caplan’s Naked Bike Ride Guide 

    Ben Caplan is a growly-voiced, bushy-bearded musician from Halifax, Nova Scotia but he actually grew up in Hamilton and attended the same high school as me. I didn’t know him too well back then, but everyone knew his father, Marvin Caplan, the lordly clothier and city councillor. Nowadays, Ben might be the better known Caplan. His distinctive beard has been immortalized by CBC Music, and he has toured Europe and Australia.

    The last time he swung through Edmonton, I learned over drinks that Ben had once organized the Halifax Naked Bike Ride. I knew that he would be the perfect voice to animate this guide to throwing your own naked bike ride in your own town.

    This originally aired on Terra Informa in July, 2013.

  • Trevor 17:09 on 18 July 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: China   

    Mapping China, painting a picture 

    I’ve been told that radio is a particularly visual medium. It’s one of the big lessons I took from Jessica Abel and Ira Glass’s comic How To Make Radio. Generally, this means really illustrating the action of a scene so that it can come alive in the listener’s imagination.

    But painting a picture with words is one thing. What about talking about painted pictures? I thought this would be an interesting challenge when I walked into the exhibition All Under Heaven: The Chinese World in Maps, Pictures and Texts from the Collection of Floyd Sully. 

    Under the curation of Walter Davis, Floyd Sully’s collection charts a course through 300 years of early-modern China. A business and IT professional, Sully’s tastes veered away from traditional art objects, things like sculptures, luxury goods, caligraphy or sacred objects. Instead, he sought out pragmatic tools like maps and technical illustrations. Altogether, the exhibition gives a unique vantage on China in the time of the last dynasty and the growing influence of Western powers.

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