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Urban Futures

Urban Futures 2017-18

The CISSC Urban Futures working group is geared towards facilitating dialogue and exchanges on research, creative, and pedagogical engagements with cities that open toward the possibility of alternative ‘urban futures’. The aims of this working group are to create a space for bringing together faculty, artists and researchers, as well as graduate students whose research and practice are tethered to urban issues writ large, including: sustainability, arts and culture, architecture, urbanism and design, and themes such as resilience, reconciliation, migration and urban transformation, the right to the city, media ecology, queer urbanisms, environmental humanism, citying, futurity, and more. The literature on these topics is broad, but what is relatively new is a shift in thinking about urban futures across disciplines. The CISSC Urban Futures working group will undertake a rigorous exploration of possible urban futures through cross-disciplinary collaborative research strategies and embedded and embodied urban explorations.

Our core team shares the facilitation of this working group and its activities. Our aim is to create mutually supporting structures (of which the working group is one) that will create a complex scaffold for advanced investigations concerning the urban fabric—its flows, resistances, and resiliencies—and ideas of futurism, speculative design, and fabulist site specific practice. This research and practice scaffold takes a particular and effective form in the Institute for Urban Futures, which has been significantly formed and fed through the work of the Urban Futures working group since 2016 with the support of CISSC.

In 2017-18 we will focus on five key “affinities” within our primary themes:

  • How culture can serve as leverage for urban resiliency and sustainability
  • How art and technology can enable citizen engagement of environmental concerns in urban contexts
  • Non-human urbanisms
  • Activist approaches to envisioning and realizing potential urban futures
  • Amplifying and diversifying the university’s role in engaging communities around issues of urban urgency

The working group will rigorously explore how these issues can be critically engaged through collaborative research and creative practices and participatory activities.



Carmela Cucuzzella, Department of Design and Computation Arts
Jill Didur, Department of English
Rebecca Duclos, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts
Clarence Epstein, Senior Director of Urban and Cultural Affairs
Cynthia Hammond, Department of Art History
Shauna Janssen, Departments of Theatre/Geography, Planning and Environment
pk langshaw, Department of Design and Computation Arts


Institute for Urban Futures


  • How can narrative, sensory and embodied experiences of urban wilds and the neglected brown and green spaces of the city raise awareness of environmental concerns such as climate change, biodiversity, toxicity and resilience?
  • How can locative media, mobile games and other interactive technologies orchestrate disjunctive and surprise encounters with imagined futures that envision more sustainable and inclusive relationships (human and non-human) to the environment?
  • How can the collective design of public space installations initiate innovative models for sustainable development and heighten community awareness of the issues, questions, or potential solutions to climate change?
  • What is a non-human point of view, and how can the desires and needs of non-human animals guide the playful transformation of everyday life through the design of architecture and urban spaces for multi-species co-habitation?
  • How can dialogues about the future of urban space make room for heterogeneous perspectives and knowledges about the city, especially those of children, citizens without domiciles, the urban poor, elders, and indigenous peoples?
  • What can we learn about urban speculations by looking at radical ideas about “the future” as they now exist in the past? (Expo ’67, for example.)
  • How can art, design, and performance radically sensualise our encounters with the city’s sonic, olfactory, and haptic dimensions so that we might boldly include these elements in our speculative designs for the future?
  • How can research and creative practice become modes of activism that initiate social action while provoking new ways of imagining and making the city?
  • As a means of supporting academic, institutional and community initiatives, how can public spaces in and around Concordia better serve as both laboratories and places for social engagement?
  • How might the Institute for Urban Futures continue to develop along horizontal lines to collectively define and engage issues of urban urgency through programs of outreach, education, research creation and community-based action?

Carmela Cuzuccella, Department of Design and Computation Arts

Jill Didur, Department of English

Rebecca Duclos, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts

Cynthia Hammond, Department of Art History

Shauna Janssen, Department of Theatre

Johanne Sloan, Art History

Nicola Pezolet, Art History

Rhona Richman Kenneally, Design and Computation Arts

pk langshaw, Design and Computation Arts

Rilla Khaled, Design and Computation Arts

Catherine Russell, Film Studies

Joshua Neves, Film Studies

Erin Manning, Film Studies

Jean-Claude Bustros, Film Production

Michael Montanaro, Dance

Angélique Willkie, Dance

Leila Sujir, Intermedia

Laura Endacott, Fibres and Material Practices

Linda Swanson, Ceramics

François Morelli, Painting and Drawing

Mark Sussman, Theatre

Ricardo del Farra, Music

Kathleen Vaughan, Art Education

Janis Timm-Bottos, Creative Art Therapy

Orit Halpern, Sociology and Anthropology and Computational Arts Department

Silvano De la Llata, Geography, Urban Planning and Environment

Norma Rantisi, Geography, Urban Planning and Environment

Julie Podmore, Geography, Urban Planning and Environment

Clarence Epstein, Senior Director of Urban and Cultural Affairs

City, Site and Memory: Santiago Through the Lens of Street Performance

Artist Talk by Marcela I. Oteíza Silva, Wesleyan University
Week of March 19, 2018 (Date, time and location TBA)
Event will include a screening of Oteíza Silva's documentary film on the Santiago À Mil Theatre Festival and a Q&A session with the artist. All are welcome.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Theatre.

The Future is Now: Urgent Urban Agendas
Urban Futures Graduate Roundtable

Week of March 12, 2018 (Date, time and location TBA)

A discussion of current projects by gradate students working in the urban realm, moderated by Shauna Janssen (Theatre/Geography, Planning and Environment).

Legado Public Sculpture Competition: Final Jury Presentations and Roundtable on Public Art as a Strategy of Sustainable Development

March 19, 2018 | 1-4 pm  |  EV-2.776
With Natalie Voland (Gestion Immobilière Quo Vadis), Carmela Cucuzzella (Design and Computation Arts), Shauna Janssen (Theatre/Geography, Planning and Environment,) and other Urban Futures Working Group members (final participants TBA)

Regenerating the Ecological Commons

Lecture by Dawn Danby and David McConville, Spherical
October 16, 2017 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm | EV-6.720

How can the city be understood as a living system within planetary ecologies, and how can design act regeneratively within the urban sphere?

Seminar by Dawn Danby and David McConville, Spherical
October 17, 2017 |  6-8pm | EV-6.720
An in-depth exploration of the city as a living system in relation to regenerative design strategies.

For more information visit event page.

Institute for Urban Futures presents
Temporary City // Ville temporaire

A workshop on vacancy and putting temporary use strategies to work in Montreal
Led by Jonathan Lapalme and Mallory Wilson
Entremise | Futurists in Residence, Institute for Urban Futures

October 13, 2016
4:30 - 6:30 pm
Temps libre Mile End
5605 avenue de Gaspé, Suite 106
BYOB reception to follow

Urban Action Items: Kitchen Conversations on Urgent Issues

September 25, 2017 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm
IUF launch event for 2017! An evening of talks on pressing urban issues.

For more information visit event page.

Linnaea Tillett
Friday, November 18, 2016
1:30-3:30pm,  EV 7.735

Dr. Linnaea Tillett is founder and principal of Tillett Lighting Design Associates, New York.  Tillett has worked with some of the world's foremost architects and artists on lighting design in public, private, and museal space.  Her firm's approach is informed by her research in environmental psychology, and her respect for the delicate ecology of the night, which includes many light-sensitive flora and fauna.  While responding to human need for illumination, her firm takes the stance that, when lighting the night, less is poetically, environmentally, and emotionally, more.

Invisible City

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

D.B. Clarke Theatre

Dijana Milosevic, founder and director of DAH Theatre Research Centre in Belgrade, will be giving a public artist talk about her internationally renowned activist site-based theatre project In/Visible City.  The talk will be moderated by Dr. Shauna Jansen, Department of Theatre, Concordia University.  This event is wheelchair accessible.


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