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Calling all volunteers: the Encuentro is coming

In June, more than 750 scholars, artists and activists are coming to Concordia for a major conference. Here’s what you can do to help
April 7, 2014
By Sara DuBreuil

From June 21 to 28, more than 750 scholars, artists and activists will descend on Concordia for the Encuentro, a week-long conference and festival that explores the intersection of performance and politics through workshops, discussions and exhibitions.

The biennial event is organized by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. This year will mark the first time the conference is held in Canada.

June’s event — entitled Manifest! Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas ­— promises to explore a range of political ideas and movements through dozens of workgroups and events.


Behind the scenes, a dedicated group of Concordians will be working hard to make the sprawling conference come together. And whether you’re a faculty member, employee or student, you can get involved, too.

“Participating in the Encuentro is an excellent way to see the work of some of our guest artists from across North and South America,” says Mark Sussman, associate dean of Academic and Student Affairs in the Faculty of Fine Arts. “Volunteers will have the unique opportunity to expand their knowledge and meet a diverse group of artists.”

Right now, the Encuentro planning committee is looking for volunteers to help with all aspects of the event. By joining the crew, you’ll be part of a unique educational and artistic experience.

You’ll also receive a free pass to exclusive performances. And if you’re a student, you’ll be able to add the work you do to your Co-Curricular Record.

“Volunteers are essential to the success of any major events on campus and they are part of the overall huge logistic that as to be put in place,” says Marie-Josée Allard, director of Hospitality Concordia and a member of the event’s steering committee. “Whatever skill you may have, there is a need for your help!”

Here are seven ways that students, staff and faculty can get involved in Encuentro 2014.

Volunteer opportunities at the Encuentro

1. Be a wayfinder

Do you know Concordia and Montreal well? Wayfinders will be stationed on campus and around the city to direct visiting participants to workshops, plenary sessions, performances and other events during the conference.

2. Work at an information kiosk

Throughout the Encuentro, information kiosks will be set up on campus and at hotels. Kiosk-tenders will be called upon to answer questions that may range from “Where is this exhibition?” to “Where can I exchange my money for Canadian dollars?”

3. Serve as an usher

As an usher, you’ll assist participants and audience members at various performances held at the Hexagram Black Box (Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex) and Théâtre Outremont. Your duties will include checking name badges, directing people to their seats, distributing programs and answering general questions.

4. Be a shuttle service coordinator

Help coordinate the special Société de transport de Montréal (STM) shuttle buses transporting delegates from Concordia to Théâtre Outremont almost every night of the congress. In this role, you’ll work closely with the STM in case of delays or problems. You’ll also provide participants with general information on the shuttle bus services.

5. Lend a hand at the airport welcome kiosk

The Encuentro is nothing if not a national — and even international — event. On June 20 and 21, participants from around the world will be arriving at the Montréal-Trudeau Airport. In serving at the Encuentro kiosk, you’ll welcome them and provide information on transportation to the city, be it taxi services or the STM’s 747 bus, and answer questions on accommodations, currency exchange and the event’s program.

6. Be a monitore

Volunteers are needed to act as “monitores,” or hosts, for artists coming from outside of Montreal and Canada. As a monitore, you’ll assist artists in navigating the city and purchasing specific materials for their performances and exhibitions, as well as with banking and health services in case of an emergency. You’ll also help participants communicate by translating for them. A good knowledge of Montreal, in addition to the ability to speak French, Spanish and Portuguese, is required.

7. Assist the production team

As a production assistant, you’ll assist the production team in organizing outdoor performances in the city.

You’ll also help artists set up visual, performance and multimedia exhibitions throughout the week, and lend a hand to production interns and crews working on the back end of theatre performances. Depending on your skill set, this may include specific technical work.

As a production assistant, you may also be called on to help document and record performances and exhibitions, so an understanding of audio and visual equipment is definitely an asset in this position.

As Sussman says, “For volunteers with technical skills, the Encuentro is a great opportunity to gain experience, network with professionals in the field, and see how an event of this magnitude comes together.”

Encuentro 2014 will take place from June 21 to 28. For more information on volunteering, email

Register to volunteer at Encuentro 2014.


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