Concordia University

Q & A with Shauna Janssen

Meet new faculty member Dr. Shauna Janssen, an Assistant Professor and Theatre Academic Advisor Performance Creation Program, Theatre.

New tenure-track faculty member, Dr. Shauna Janssen. She is an Assistant Professor and Theatre Academic Advisor Performance Creation Program, Theatre. New tenure-track faculty member, Dr. Shauna Janssen works out of the Department of Theatre.

Can you give us a general description your artistic practice?

My artistic practice is a social one, and also a transdisciplinary one in that I bring together artists and people working across a diverse section of practices, mediums, discourses, and research. I love to build community and connections between people around shared concerns that may eventually express themselves collectively through performance, installations, and public art engagements.

What is your primary area of research (or research-creation) and what sparked your interest in it?

I have a background working professionally in the performing arts, mainly in theatre, new opera, and contemporary dance, and much of this work was tethered to the collective creation, devising and production of new work. This work led me to ask questions about the kinds of spaces artists are working in, the relationship between performance, urban space, and the built environment. One of my primary research questions examines how and what performance can contribute to critical urban issues.

Tell us about some work of art that you read, saw, or experienced this summer.

The performative-installation work of Hannah Hurtzig is what stands out for me. While I was in Hamburg participating in the Performance Studies International conference this past June I was able to witness one of Hurtzig’s more recent works called The Immobilized, or Salle des Pas Perdus. Part of what I loved about my experience of this installation was how she invited the audience to participate in the making of the performance. It was real exercise in negotiating my own physical place and presence in the work and asked me to think about the economies of listening.

Why did the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia seem like a good fit for you?

Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts is a rich source in terms of community for me. What excites me about the fine arts faculty are the manifold ways that artist-researchers are generating a pedagogical and research ethos for working across the disciplines, both within and outside of the fine arts.

What was the best advice you ever received from a mentor as an artist or a scholar?

A few years ago, when I was in the middle of writing my dissertation, I was reminded that it would not be the most important thing that I would do.

What classes are you teaching this year?

This year I have taken on the role of academic advisor to the Department of Theatre’s Performance Creation Specialization. It’s a real privilege to be part of leading a team of artists and researchers to shape and nurture this program. Part of that shaping takes place in my classroom and through a cross section of seminar and studio courses that I teach which include: Site Specific Performance, Expanded Dramaturgy, Gender & Sexuality in Performance, and Theatre in the City.

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