Concordia University

Dr Shauna Janssen

Assistant Professor, Theatre
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment
Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism, Fine Arts
Director, Institute for Urban Futures, Fine Arts

Concordia University Research Chair - Performative Urbanism (New Scholar, 2018-2023)

Office: S-GM 500-55 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4744
Availability: By appointment only.

Dr Shauna Janssen

My teaching, research and creative practice are consonant with interdisciplinary practices and performative explorations with and within the urban realm, and include site-responsive performances/ installations, urban interventions, and community collaborations. In my teaching, curatorial work, and research I move in a constellation of organizational, pedagogical, critical, material, spatial, performative and social practices. 

My teaching practice has been shaped by fifteen years of teaching in the field of theatre and twenty years experience working professionally, in the performing arts; devising, staging, managing and touring (internationally) contemporary Canadian works in theatre, opera, and dance.

At Concordia I am the Director of the Institute for Urban Futures, a Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (New Scholar 2018-2023), a core member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and research associate with le Parc (Performing arts research cluster) based at Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. I am also a core working group member and researcher with the international research platform for Performance and Design.

In 2010, I founded Urban Occupations Urbaines, a curatorial platform for artists, communities and the public to creatively and critically engage with cities and urban change. In Montreal, I have collaborated with La Fonderie Darling, the Griffintown Horse Palace Foundation, Heritage Montréal, Centaur Theatre, Montréal Arts InterculturelLe Corridor culturel de GriffintownLe Sud-Ouest de Montréal, Parks Canada, and the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. I am a founding member and formerly co-director of Points de vue, a Montreal based community-engaged art, research, and urban activist platform. I have given public lectures and presentations at cultural institutions such as the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Ephemeral City, 2010), Articule (“Would you be my curator?” 2012), SBC Gallery, and The McCord Museum (City Talks, 2013). I have created and staged collaborative site responsive works and installations in Quebec, Germany, Australia, Italy, Chile, and New Zealand. For more information about these projects and others please visit my personal website:

My current research is funded by two Social Sciences, Humanities and Research Council grants (Insight Development and Partnership Engage Grant), as well as a Concordia University Research Chair (through the Office of the Vice President Research & Graduate Studies). The research focuses on performative urbanism as a critical spatial practices that rethink urban sites, discourses, and themes such as spatial agency, the public sphere, gender, class, race, migration, gentrification, and the right to the city. 

If you are a potential graduate student and would like to work with me, I am interested in supervising research on contemporary performance and spatial practices taking place within the city, site-specific performance creation, performance design and expanded scenography, (histories of) art and urban activism, urban dramaturgy, queer and feminist spatial practices, artistic research practices, and open to working with adjacent fields of study.

Teaching activities

Teaching areas

Selected Undergraduate Courses:

PERC 498 Urban Scenographies (Field School in Copenhagen)
PERC 312 Dramaturgy II - Contemporary and Expanded Practices
PERC 322 Gender and Sexuality in Performance
PERC 211 Theatre and the City
PERC 498 Site Specific Performance Creation Practices 

Research and teaching Interests

Research and Research Creation Grants

Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (New Scholar, $100,000)

Principle Investigator, SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant ($25,000) - Feminist Performance Creation and the City

Principle Investigator, SSHRC Insight Development Grant ($42,000) - Situating Critical Performance Design in the City

SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (Co-applicant) with Dr Cynthia Hammond (PI): "Urban Witnesses, Neighbourhood Change, Montreal's Elders, Oral History Performance and Research Creation" ($25,000)

Current and ongoing research topics 

  • expanded scenographic practices, environmental performance, and the practice of spatial dramaturgy and performative urbanism
  • the role performance plays in shaping social, spatial, and gendered experiences of the built environment
  • the role of digital creativity and new media in the public sphere in relation to expanded scenographic practices, concepts such as spatial dramaturgy and performative urbanism, and the right to the city


Performance Design as Mnemonic Device for Critical Engagements with the Spatial Politics of Urban Change: The ARCADE Project.

Forthcoming. Theatre Architectures special issue of Theatre & Performance Design journal (Volume 5, Issue 3 & 4, Fall/Winter 2019)

“Points de vue: Agency, Contingency, Community and the Postindustrial Turn.”

“Points de vue: Agency, Contingency, Community and the Postindustrial Turn.” Co-authored with Dr Cynthia Hammond for FIELD: a journal of socially-engaged art criticism. Issue 3 (March 2016).

“Reimagining anOther Public Space: Le Dalhousie, Griffintown.”

“Reimagining anOther Public Space: Le Dalhousie, Griffintown.” On Site Review 30 (2013): 10-12.

Participation activities

Desiring the Dark: Feminist Scenographies, the City, and the Night

Performance lecture with Dr Cynthia Hammond for "The Thrill of the Dark" Heritage conference, University of Birmingham, UK. 25-27 April 2019

From Vagrant Scenographies to Urban Speculative Gestures: a Feminist Turn

Performance lecture with Dr Kristine Samson for the Prague Quadrennial. 10 June 2019.

Urban Scenographies: SmArting the City

Co-workshop leader with Dorita Hannah, "Urban Scenographies: SmArting the City." Prague Quadrennial Studio Series. 13-15 June 2019

Artistic Projects/ Research-Creation

Les Voisines

Dramaturge. Les Voisines. Urban audiowalk. Created by Arianna Bardesono. Produced by IMAGO Theatre. Montreal, May 2019.


Artist and co-creator with Dorita Hannah. Sabina. Multimedia performance installation. Citta Invisibili at Teatro Potlatch, Fara Sabina, Italy. June 2018.


Multimedia Installation. Co-curator with Dorita Hannah and Jo Paterson Kinniburgh. XX Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, Valparaiso, Chile. October-November 2017.

Feminist City Light Capers

Artist. Spatial Interventions. Montreal, November 2017

Islandness: Spatial Histories of Longing

Artist. Installation Performance. Collaboration with Jo Paterson Kinniburgh. “Performing, Writing” Symposium, University of Massey, New Zealand. 9-19 March 2017.      

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