Art Heals Earth

Claudia Biçen and Brian Isett on The Forgotten Teachers 🌳 A Collaboration of Poetry and Image | 010

September 21, 2020 Megan Reich Season 1 Episode 10
Art Heals Earth
Claudia Biçen and Brian Isett on The Forgotten Teachers 🌳 A Collaboration of Poetry and Image | 010
Show Notes

Brian Isett and Claudia Biçen chat with me about their book project, The Forgotten Teachers: How Life Learned the Story of Earth. The Forgotten Teachers is an illustrated true fairytale about Life on Earth. Through natural history and poetic contemplation, readers are introduced to twelve forgotten teachers that shaped our past and define our present. Among them: Sun, Moon, Ocean and Trees, each depicted in intricate and dream-like watercolor illustrations. Through these encounters, we re-learn the story of our past: our emergence from Oceanic depths, our colorful history in Trees, and the ancient celestial rhythms that still permeate our biology today. By reexamining Earth’s role in our evolution, The Forgotten Teachers begins to repair the lost but crucial connection between science and spirit.

Brian Isett is a published poet and neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University. While finishing his Ph.D. in neuroscience at U.C. Berkeley, his first book of poetry, Grid Poems Vol. I, reached an international audience (over 500,00 views on Ello) and quickly sold out through venues such as the New Museum and Printed Matter in New York, and Motto Books in Berlin. In the field of neuroscience, Brian has authored several high profile research articles in areas ranging from tactile perception to Parkinson’s disease. He won two competitive national awards, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship as well as the National Institutes of Health NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship. Brian received his B.S. at Cornell University in Biology, winning the George Harmon Coxe award for Fiction in 2009 and the Arthur Lynn Andrews Fiction Prize in 2008.

Claudia Biçen is a visual artist exploring the nature of mind and the construction of meaning. She has exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC), the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (London), and the National Arts Club (New York). Her projects have been featured in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle and displayed in hospitals and educational institutions around the world. Claudia is Creative Director at Project Wayfinder, where she designs curricula for fostering belonging and purpose that have been taught to more than 10,000 students worldwide. She is a lecturer at Stanford University, holds a BA in Philosophy & Psychology from the University of Oxford, and an MSc in Social Anthropology from University College London. Website:

In this episode, we discuss:

  • 3:10 – Claudia and Brian's journies 
  • 8:28 – Inspirations for The Forgotten Teachers book
  • 14:08 – The deeply collaborative nature of The Forgotten Teachers
  • 19:28 – The senses and embodiment as gateways into connecting with the Earth
  • 24:57 – The teachings of Plants
  • 31:34 – The teachings of Scale  
  • 37:00 – Ways that Claudia and Brian connect to nature
  • 45:44 – How art helps heal Claudia and Brian’s relationship with the Earth
  • 51:32 – Questions Claudia and Brian are asking right now
  • 56:16 – What gives Claudia and Brian hope right now 

Follow Claudia’s Instagram: @claudiabicen
Follow Brian’s Instagram: @brisett_writes 

🎧  Subscribe to Art Heals Earth on iTunes
🌟  Follow Art Heals Earth on Instagram:
🌎  Visit Our Website:

CC Megan Reich
Podcast Artwork: Alex Reich
Music: Kai Engel, "Scenery" (CC-BY)