INDETERMINACY CONSULTING GROUP (ICG)

Launched in the fall of 2020 in development with McGill's Building 21 and the Fulbright Foundation, the goal is to introduce participants to frameworks for managing uncertainty.  

Experts and practitioners from across fields serve as liaisons between their discipline and the world at large, sharing nuanced and diverse approaches for grappling with the unknown. Presenters range from psychologists, doctors, and geologists to architects, philosophers, composers, choreographers, and artists. These presenters provide blueprints for living with and creating meaning out of the unknown. 

WHO IS SELECTED? 

ICG selects individuals who are at distinctly different stages of their creative and professional career. Participants might be attending college, recently graduated, or well into their professional career. The aim is to create an intergenerational cohort of  selected individuals to participate in the program. Described as "cross fit for the mind" the program is intentionally designed to exercise unfamiliar mental muscles through an exposure to a diversity of frameworks and creative practices.  

HOW DO I APPLY?

To be considered for CORE INDETERMINACY or MIND+BODY+SPACE please email  indeterminacyconsulting@gmail.com to express interest and learn more. ICG only accepts twelve participants in each program to insure an intensive, personal, and hand-tailored experience. Of critical importance is the creation of a well balanced ensemble of individuals from different fields, backgrounds, perspectives, and ages, all are encouraged to apply.  

 

The CORE and MIND+BODY+SPACE are tuition based programs. Please get in touch to find out more about pricing options. After filling out an application you will be contacted to schedule a zoom conversation so that we might learn more about you and your interest in the program.    



CURRENT COHORT

Leo Portelance  

Leo studies Computer-science/Physics/Japanese as an undergraduate at University of Montreal. He is mainly driven by his study of Aikido. He has studied aikido extensively for the past 8 years, alongside other martial arts, such as Iaido and Kenjutsu. Leo’s personal research seeks to compare the pedagogy and language used in both theoretical computer science and martial arts. Simultaneously, he is also interested in researching the links found between martial arts and dance. In combining these two spheres of research, he seeks to develop the tools/vocabulary necessary to creating an environment where both computer scientists and contemporary dancers can work and interact together, in a mutually beneficial way. From these seminars, Leo desires to be unsettled, to find new avenues of research, and to learn how to implement his ideas in a real-world setting.

"The series of talks have offered me an opportunity to broaden my perspectives on how to study complexity and indeterminacy. The wide array of processes and ideas touched upon always kept me on my toes, never allowing me to settle in the comfort of a recurring/predictable mindset. This "wideness" not only stemming from a variety of subjects but also a variety of methodologies. From very rigorous and semantical to fully improvised and playful, the spectrum almost seemed contradictory. This impression, however, rapidly vanished thanks to the healthy curation and drive of the director. Allowing for a wholesome and comprehensive approach to such a difficult subject." 

Damián Arteca

I am a recent graduate from McGill University and current Program Assistant and Advisor at McGill’s Building 21. My undergraduate education straddled cultural anthropology and philosophy, culminating in an Honours thesis which examined the ontology of a modern spiritual community. Since, my interests have turned to the technical issues surrounding the definition, as well as formation, of cultural ontologies. To this end, I have had to transition from the ‘soft’ science of cultural anthropology to the ‘hard’ science of cognitive anthropology.

 

"Moving across disciplines between undergraduate and graduate studies has proved a very rewarding, as well as reorienting, challenge. Exposure to scholars who have successfully made such transitions, and who perform exemplary interdisciplinary work, have been greatly inspirational and instructive. The ongoing Indeterminacy Seminar consistently features such scholars, as well as provides an environment in which interdisciplinary work and lateral thinking are encouraged. Programs such as this form an important and necessary space for young scholars willing to take the risk to explore beyond disciplinary lines." 

Avery Shoemaker 

Avery is an interdisciplinary artist and freelance writer currently living in Minneapolis. She graduated from McGill in 2019 with a BA in Environment and Development. As a 2018 BLUE fellow at McGill’s building 21, her creative research explored ways to depict environmental change through fiction and other forms of creative writing. 

 

Avery’s work includes fiber art, painting, drawing, mixed media experimentation, and creative writing. She explores themes of symbiosis, ecology, ecological grief, decay, and geological and human time.  Avery is deeply interested in natural forms and processes, as well as how these forms and processes have been depicted by humans throughout time. 

 

This year, Avery seeks to further explore the intersection of art, science, and society by turning towards exhibition and immersive experience design as a way to demonstrate scientific concepts and transport the viewer across temporal and spatial scales.

"My participation in the ICG has helped me stay committed to my artistic growth, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered traditional forms of connection and creativity. The diversity in the line-up of seminar leaders has forced me to make new connections between disciplines and has expanded the reach of my own creative practice. I would recommend the ICG to those who are interested in creativity in all its forms, and who seek a breath of fresh air and to shake up their thinking.”

Julias May

Jeanne Côté

Julias often finds the most simple questions are the most difficult to provide a satisfactory answer for. Drafting this short biography for instance, seems to him a near impossible task. Born in Montreal, he lived most of his life in the laurentian mountains, spending some summers with family in Europe and others travelling the Americas, he developed an early interest in the differences between cultures and in the universals that run through these differences.  After briefly considering cognitive science and literature as academic pursuits he settled on anthropology and has since been striving to find common ground between culture, cognition, performance and affect to understand humanity’s particulars. 

"Through presenters from a variety of academic and artistic backgrounds, the seminar series hosted by Ms. Vaubel capitalises on their commonalities to ponder the timely question of indeterminacy. More than an immobilizing force, the unknown stretches frames, and processes to contend with the possibilities it presents. We move, dream, and think differently; feeling our way through the unseen expanses ahead, acquiring a new sense of normal, a more plastic, resilient, and less fearful impression of the world. One that’s hopefully more true to the world as it is, and wiser to the distortions of how we want it".

Jeanne Côté is a violinist who stands out for the sensitivity of her playing and her various musical interests. She completed her Master’s Degree at McGill University with Professor Axel Strauss and holds a bachelor's degree from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. The great academic freedom which she has hitherto enjoyed has led her to take over a great variety of important roles among the school’s concert programs. Jeanne’s appointment as the Concertmaster for the Symphonic Orchestra as well as for the Contemporary Music Ensemble of McGill University in the fall of 2019 witnesses her great versatility. 

 

The violinist is enthusiastic about new music. Supported by the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec, she realized an artistic residency in Portugal in june 2019, bringing with her contemporary pieces from young Quebec composers, followed by a tour in Belgium. The same year, Jeanne also won the first and second prize of the Festival concours de musique de Sherbrooke. 

 

Jeanne is one of the founding members of Quatuor Andara, a young string quartet renown across Canada. Aside from her great devotion to chamber music, she loves to share her passion for music through teaching. She currently gives violin lessons at the Coopérative des professeurs de musique de Montréal. 

 

During the covid 19 pandemic and confinement, Jeanne let free her creativity and worked on composition, improvisation and visual arts. She wants to develop a project around these three artistic elements. She hopes this program will help her to built her idea and make it clearer. 

"The Indeterminacy Consulting Group is a very interesting program that makes my creative process evolve. The various seminars given twice a week present different aspects of the indeterminacy and uncertainty. Some of the presentations were in my domain of expertise, but others were out of my comfort zone, but in both cases I learned a lot. Being part of this program helps me to build my projects with new ideas and to get feedback. I recommend it for creative minds that want to learn from different perspectives." 

April Lee

April is interested in looking at fundamental questions and employing different lenses in the pursuit of knowledge. She aspired to be a polymath when she was a child, and has found consilience between seemingly disparate elements intellectually stimulating. During the course of the BLUE Fellowship, under the theme ‘delocalization’, she studied the emergent potentials of crossing over disciplinary boundaries. In this program, April hopes to witness the effects of a greater “contact surface” for various backgrounds, and consider real-world difficulties that may arise in the attempt to find coherence and collaboration among ideas. In addition, she will continue her attention to modes of expression, including human language and fine arts, and their interchanges. She studies Cognitive Sciences, a program in the undergraduate faculty of Arts & Science at McGill University. 

Alyssa Coghlin

Alyssa has a Masters degree in Social Work from McGill University, and is a recent graduate of Building 21’s BLUE fellowship program.  She has social work experience within a diversity of organizations and communities across Canada and abroad, and is currently working as a therapist supporting survivors of sexual violence. Her current approach to practice is rooted in understanding the systemic and psychosomatic experiences of trauma. 

 

Dance, having played a large role in her life, has influenced Alyssa's curiosity around connecting improvisational movement practices with the capacity to create meaning and momentum within the uncertain, as well as mitigating the impacts of traumatic stress and supporting sustainable social work practice. 

Her beginning project ideas revolve around asking the questions: How can we imagine and re-integrate non-verbal communication and body language amidst a global pandemic, where social distance and disembodiment is the expectation?  How might we translate qualities of improvisational dance, such as emergence and agency, to our current state of living in this unprecedented shift in our relationships to time, physical and virtual spaces, our own bodies and with each other? 

 

Through this seminar series, she’s hoping to gather inspiration and craft, virtual and distanced, improvisational movement workshops, as a means to creatively connect with alternative forms of closeness and communication.

Madeleine Hykes 

I am a French-American graduate from McGill University with an Honours degree in Urban Studies. Currently, I am the Program Coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA for Love Your Block Hartford – although my academic home is in Human Geography and am still searching for a larger intellectual home (as Avery put it so succinctly in a past seminar). I am passionate about equitable urban design processes, participatory planning, and qualitative research. At this point in time, my overarching aim is to better understand and express the ways in which urban space is produced, used, transgressed, and transformed. Who is this space intended for? What is the meaning imbued at this site? Why has this design been chosen? How does this space include or exclude individuals? How can more people be engaged in or engaged with this space? I am also interested in the spaces where top-down urbanization or policy and bottom-up initiatives coalesce and what types of places this can produce, for example, in Southeast Asia.  

 

I am participating in the SILO Busting Seminar Series because I also love the act of learning and engaging with material that is outside my comfort zone. It scratches an itch of wanting to better understand the world that I have in my brain. I am hoping to apply or incorporate some of the things we have discussed into my final project: a design for a piece of modular furniture intended for public space.

"The SILO Busting Seminar Series offers a unique opportunity to engage with material outside of your own discipline, and often outside of our comfort zone. I have been particularly inspired by conversations around how we experience dis/comfort, be it through social norms of nodding, watching horror movies, or in trying to connect with our body. While I am predominately interested in the uses of public spaces, I have been inspired by these different lectures as cities are spaces constantly occupied by complex and wholly different individuals – thus, it makes sense to have a lens informed by a range of disciplines or approaches.

 

I would recommend this seminar series to individuals who are both in a process of shifting their scope or interests, trying to (re)orient themselves, and those who are on their path but looking to deepen their discipline by engaging with a transdisciplinary lens – so, basically everyone!"

Laura Gallo 

After completing bachelor degrees in Literature and in Psychology at the University of the Andes in Colombia, I worked for several years in different social projects related to the Colombian armed conflict, notably at the National Center for Historical Memory. 

I am currently a second-year MSc student in Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. 

 

My research focuses on the intersections of gender and refugee mental health. I wish to bring a critical feminist lens to psychiatric epistemology and engage with anti-oppressive frameworks that recognize and validate the experience and agency of refugees and asylum seekers.  

 

I was a BLUE21 fellow in the summer of 2019. My project, "Listening and encountering others", allowed me to start developing a more embodied and artistic exploration of what it means to listen, not in the sense of an acoustic perception but as an ethical and relational disposition towards others. Since then, I have been involved in different research-creation projects that encompass participatory theatre, dance and improvisation. I am interested in exploring the crossroads between social sciences, humanities and art, especially in contexts of social conflict or tension. I also wish to bring elements of my formal and informal training together to foster healing processes in playful and creative ways. 

Marie-Ellen Houde-Hostland 

Marie-Ellen is a recent graduate looking to mend her studies in environmental thought with her personal interests in architecture and DIY biohacking. While completing her Bachelors in Sustainability, Science and Society and Urban Systems, Marie-Ellen has researched community-driven flood adaptation programs and urban habitat corridors as places for non-human agency. Independently, she also began imagining processes of architecture that enrich and cultivate stronger relationships between natural environments, buildings, and the diverse people that live and use them. Exploring bio-material design and locally based architecture from her own home, Marie-Ellen tinkers and experiments with organic processes to create her own materials and textiles. Currently, she is also pursuing ways of supporting biodiversity at the urban scale, working with the organization Nouveaux Voisins as they seek to transform the cultural imagination of the lawn as a place for more diverse forms of human and non-human life. During her time with the Indeterminacy Consulting Group, Marie-Ellen is looking to continue playing with bio-based architecture as a medium for encounter between different perspectives and bodies, both human and non-human.