Podcast, Environmental Justice, Arts & Culture

The Climate Imaginary: Beneath the Poetry, the Barricade — with Stephen Collis

November 01, 2022
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On this first episode of The Climate Imaginary, our host Am Johal is joined by Stephen Collis for a discussion on the relationship between art and environmental activism.

Stephen Collis is an award winning writer and a professor in the English department at SFU. Am and Stephen look at what art and writing can offer, but also the moments when you need to put down the pen and engage and take action in other ways. They also cover some of the collaborative artistic projects that Stephen is involved in such as the Refugee Tales Project, and Stephen reads a few of his poems throughout the episode! This episode of Below the Radar is a special live recording from SFU School for the Contemporary Art’s Re-orientation day 2022: Contemporary Arts + Climate Change on September 8th, 2022. 


About Our Guest

Stephen Collis

Stephen Collis is an award winning writer and a professor in the English department at SFU. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics.

Stephen is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Commons (2008), the BC Book Prize winning On the Material (2010), Once in Blockadia (2016), Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (2018), and A History of the Theories of Rain (2021)—all published by Talonbooks. In 2015 he was awarded the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, after he was sued by oil company Kinder Morgan, whose lawyers entered Collis’s poetry as evidence in court. In 2019 he was the recipient of the Latner Writers’ Trust of Canada Poetry Prize in recognition of his body of work.

Watch the video episode



Johal, Am. “The Climate Imaginary: Beneath the Poetry, the Barricade — with Stephen Collis.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, November 1, 2022.


As we navigate our future within the ongoing climate emergency, we seek different frameworks to help guide our learning and our actions. In Below the Radar’s The Climate Imaginary series we touch on disinformation, links between the arts and climate activism, and the challenges in making real environmental change. 

To visualize a better future, Below the Radar invites guests from across artistic and academic disciplines to discuss ways of working in solidarity amidst the climate crisis. We feature conversations that range from the unique power of creative works to mobilize people, to the importance of collaboration and interdependence across fields.

The Climate Imaginary and Below the Radar are recorded on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. 



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