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Dr Shauna Janssen

Assistant Professor, Theatre
Affiliate Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment
Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism, Fine Arts

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

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

Dr Shauna Janssen

My teaching, research, and creative practice are consonant with critical and interdisciplinary spatial practices, scenographic and performative explorations within public spaces, and include site-responsive performances/installations, urban interventions, and intersectional collaborative approaches to art making in the urban realm.

My transversal approach to teaching has been shaped by twenty years as an educator and organizer in the field of theatre and twenty years experience working professionally, in the performing and live arts; devising, staging, managing and touring, nationally and internationally new contemporary Canadian works created for theatre, opera, and dance. In Canada, I have worked with companies such as Volcano Theatre, Theatre Columbus, the Tarragon and Factory Theatres, Queen of Puddings, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, among others, as well as toured with theatre projects to the Belfry Theatre, Citadel Theatre, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and the National Arts Centre.

At Concordia I am Assistant Professor of Performance Creation in the Department of Theatre, a University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (New Scholar 2018-2023), and research associate with lePARC (performing arts research cluster) housed at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. I was the Director of the Institute for Urban Futures from 2018-2020. I am co-convener of the international research network for Theatre & Architecture(s) (2021-2025 - International Federation of Theatre Research), and have been serving as the Quebec Representative for the Canadian Association of Theatre Research (CATR) since 2018. I am also an associate artist with the Montreal based Imago Theatre, focusing on feminist approaches to urban dramaturgy.

As part of my doctoral project (Concordia, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, 2014) 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 a variety of artist run centres including La Fonderie Darling, as well as Heritage Montréal, Centaur Theatre, Montréal Arts InterculturelLe 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). In 2014, I was the Associate Producer and Production Director for Manifest: Choreographing Social Movements in the Americas, the 9th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University, which was hosted by Concordia and attended by over eight hundred artists, scholars, and activists from across the Americas.

As part of my research and performance creation activities I have been invited to lead workshops, give scholarly/ artist talks, and have participated in various artist residencies hosted by institutions such as the Zentrum fur Kunst und Urbanistik, Berlin; the School of Art, Design & Architecture Creative Exchange Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia; the Department of Spatial Design, Massey University, New Zealand; the DesignLab, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Santiago de Chile; Città Invisibili, Teatro Potlatch, Fara Sabina, Italy; Performance Design at Roskilde University, Denmark, and the Prague Qaudrennial of Performance, Design, and Space. For more information about these projects/ engagements 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), the Fond de recherche société et culture, as well as a Concordia University Research in Performative Urbanism, which focuses on the performance and design of urban scenographies as critical spatial practices (Rendell) that rethink contested urban sites, discourses, and themes such as spatial agency, the public sphere, gender, class, race, migration, gentrification, and the right to the city. I am also an active Co-investigator on a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - La Ville Extraordinaire (led by Dr Cynthia Hammond, host institution Concordia University), and a SSHRC Partnership Grant - Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices (led by Dr Laura Levin, host institution York University). 

I regularly supervise graduate researchers working across the fields of contemporary performance creation, theatre, architecture and design, geography and urban studies, and studio arts, housed within Concordia's Individualized Program, and the Humanities PhD - Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. 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, the spatial politics of urban change, site-specific performance creation, performance design and scenography expanded, (histories of) art and urban activism, urban dramaturgy, queer and feminist spatial practices, artistic research practices, research-creation methodologies, and open to working with adjacent fields of study.

Teaching activities

Teaching areas

Performance Creation
Urban Scenographies 
Expanded Dramaturgy - Contemporary Perspectives & Practices
Site Specific Performance Creation Practices 
Gender and Sexuality in Performance
Theatre and the City

Installation Art Practices & Public Space
Histories of Design for Performance and Scenography
Research-creation methodologies

Thesis Supervision

Current PhD supervision

Jacob Caines, PhD Individualized Program, "The Ontology and Culture of Queer Classical Performance, Urban Geographies, and Community Engaged Art."

Amanda Gutiérrez, PhD Humanities Program, "Walking inside the soundscapes of four immigrant diasporas: a media study on place-making."

Kevin Pinvidic, PhD Individualized Program, "Matérialité urbaine augmentée." (research-creation)

christian scott, PhD Individiualized Program, "Play-Driven Urbanism: critical approaches to placemaking through play as a tool to conceive of more resilient, just, and diverse cities." 

Current Masters supervision

Jamie Wollard, MA Individualized Program, "Thins Walls/ Voisines." (research-creation)

Anne-Audrey Remarais, MA Individualized Program, "I WOK UP LIKE DIS." (research-creation)

Caroline Lauren Beaucage, MA 
Individualized Program, "The Dramaturgy of Contemporary Dance & Public Space." (research-creation)

Current Postdoc supervision

Maude Lafrance, "Montreal Women & Theatre, from 1950 to Today"

Research Projects

Funded Research-Creation Projects

Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (New Scholar, Office of Vice President Research & Graduate Studies)

Principal Investigator
, FRQ-SC - Digital Performativity of Public Space: Scenographic Approaches to Augmented Reality and Place-based Storytelling

Co-applicant, with Dr Cynthia Hammond (Principle Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - La Ville extraordinaire

Co-applicant, with Laura Levin (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Grant - Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices

Co-applicant, with Erin Hurly (Principle Investigator): SSHRC Connections Grant - Canadian Association for Theatre Research "Partition/ Ensemble" Conference

Principal Investigator
- Office of Vice Provost Research & Graduate Studies - Aid to Related Research Events 

Principal Investigator
, SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant - Feminist Performance Creation and the City

Principal Investigator
, SSHRC Insight Development Grant - Situating Critical Performance Design in the City

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

Current and ongoing research topics 

  • site-specific performance creation
  • urban scenographies
  • theatre architecture
  • environmental performance
  • spatial politics of urban change (gentrification, right to the city)
  • critical art-led approaches to repurposing postindustrial spaces and urban landscapes
  • performance design, augmented reality & the public sphere
  • scenographic practice and research
  • urban and spatial dramaturgy


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Janssen, S. (2021). Theatre Island and Urban Scenographies of Learning: A Performative Paradigm for Transversal Pedagogy. PARtake: The Journal of Performance As Research(2).


Janssen, S(2019) Performance design as mnemonic device for critical engagement with the spatial politics of urban change: the ARCADE project, Theatre and Performance Design, 5:3-4, 195-211,

Hammond, C.,  Shauna Janssen. (2016) Points de vue: Agency, Contingency, Community and the Postindustrial Turn. FIELD: a journal of socially-engaged art criticism, 3

Janssen, S. (2013) Reimagining an Other Public Space: Le Dalhousie, Griffintown. On Site Review 30:10-12. 

Monographs/ Exhibition Texts

Author. 2021. "Camouflaged Screams: Immersive and Scenographic Constructions of Wilding." Exhibition text for Camouflaged Screams. Artists Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera. Optica, Montreal. EN, FR, ES.

Author. 2021. “Urban Scenographics and Performative Mappings of Place in the work of Larissa Fassler.” Larissa Fassler Monograph. editor, Diana Sherlock (Forthcoming, Berlin: DISTANZ) EN, DE.

Co-editor with Dorita Hannah. 2017. PhoneHome: Architecture A/ Part. XX Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, “Unpostponable Dialogues.” Exhibition catalogue. Valparaiso, Chile. EN, ES.


Author. 2017. “‘Fantasy in the Hold’: PhoneHome: Architecture A/ Part”. Exhibition text. Architecture and Urbanism Biennial. Valparaiso, Chile. EN, ES.


Co-editor with Anja Mølle Lindelof. Book. Performing Institutions: Contestations and Structures of Care. Intellect Books. (under peer-review)

Participation activities (peer reviewed conferences)

Post-pandemic perspectives on ecologies of performing urban place in Montreal

Theatre Ecologies: Environment, Sustainability, and Politics, conference of the International Federation of Theatre Research, Galway. 13-18 July 2021. Online.

Notes from the field: on urban curating, postindustrial ecologies, place, and critical posthumanism

University Art History Association Canada, Quebec City, 24-26 October 2019

Fantasy in the Hold: The Queer Logistics of Critical Mobilities and Container Architecture

Post/Colonial Port Cities: Place and Nonplace in the Ecotone. Concordia University, Montreal. 24-26 October 2019

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 & Curatorial Projects/ Research-Creation


Curator. Public Art Installation. Performance Arcade, Welllington New Zealand. 6 February - 6 March 2020.

Les Voisines

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

Promenade parlante: Episodes in a Changing City

Curator. Janssen, S., C. Hammond. (2018-19)Promenade parlante: Episodes in a
Changing City. Public art walk co-created with the founders of the Living History Project, and Eric Craven.,12 October.


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. Site-specific installation. Collaboration with Jo Paterson Kinniburgh. “Performing, Writing” Symposium, University of Massey, New Zealand. March 2017.      

Visiting Research/ Scholar invitations

Visiting scholar and workshop leader

DesignLab, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Santiago, Chile. Dates TBD

Visiting scholar and workshop leader

“The Scenographic City.” School of Performance and Cultural Industries University of Leeds, UK. Dates TBD

Visiting scholar and public lecture

“Performative Urbanism.” Department of Communication and Arts, University of Roskilde, Denmark. 15 February – 1 March 2018.

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