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Dr Cynthia Imogen Hammond, PhD

Professor, Art History

On medical leave

Dr Cynthia Imogen Hammond, PhD
Dr Hammond in her studio, 2023


Dr Cynthia Hammond was born in 1969 in Hamilton, Ontario, on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinabewaki nations, near the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve. Hammond studied painting, sculpture, and art history at McMaster University in Hamilton, and went on to do her MA in Art History at Concordia (1996). She then graduated from Concordia's Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program (2002), winning the Governor-General's Gold Medal for her dissertation. After teaching at the University of Western Ontario and Carleton University, Dr Hammond held the first SSHRC-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the School of Architecture, McGill University (2004-06). She joined Concordia's Department of Art History in 2006, and became Chair from 2013-16. From 2017-20 Dr Hammond was Lead Co-Director of Concordia's Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS). She is an active member of research centres and institutes at Concordia and elsewhere.

Feminisms are central to Dr Hammond's interdisciplinary practice, and the way she researches and teaches histories of the city. Dr Hammond's research and creation address the roles of women, animals, and biological life in shaping designed landscapes and the built environment. Her publications explore a range of topics within or adjacent to the history of architecture, including the history of gardens, installation art, photography, built heritage, public memory, and Canadian women artists. Much of her work has been interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community-oriented. Methodologically, Dr Hammond grounds her research and research-creation practices in the specifics of a given site, which she aims to illuminate through the situated knowledge and spatial practices of occupants of different kinds. She explores this method in her 2012 book, Architects, Angels, Activists, part of which may be downloaded below.

Dr Hammond's art focuses on gardens and other kinds of living landscapes, the women who create or care for such spaces, and the non-human life that these landscapes support. Her most recent solo exhibition, Les Jardins des femmes, was shown at the School of Architecture at McGill in 2019. In April 2023 Dr Hammond was selected as one of 10 Canadian artists-in-residence at La Napoule Art Foundation in France. Dr Hammond works with various creative collectives on projects that connect Montreal's residents with urban history, directly engaging citizens' own interest in processes of development and change (see

Distinctions & Awards

2018-19 Concordia University Research Award, Category B, The Person and Society
2017 Faculty of Fine Arts Distinguished Teaching Award - Established FT Faculty Member
2015 Concordia Council on Student Life - Outstanding Contribution Award
2006-07 Nineteenth Century Studies Association, Emerging Scholar Award
2002 Governor General’s Gold Medal for Doctoral Dissertation

Dr Hammond speaking about her art practice at La Napoule Art Foundation, France, April 2023
Photo credit: Raneece Buddan, 2023
The 2018 University Research Award Ceremony
Photo credit: © Concordia University
Collaborators in the Promenade Parlante public art walk, 13 April 2019. Left to right: Lillian Harper, Penelope Cumas, Wanda Potrykus, Eric Craven, Cynthia Hammond, Wendy Allen, Shauna Janssen, Ramsay Blair. Not pictured: Doug Dumas.
Photo credit: Lisa Graves, 2019

Theorizing research-creation and place-based, site-responsive art

Hammond's first book, Architects, Angels, Activists and the City of Bath, 1765-1965: Engaging with Women's Spatial Interventions in Buildings and Landscape (Ashgate 2012) explores cultural memory and public history in the world-renowned city of Bath, England, one of the few UNESCO World Heritage-designated cities. Hammond approaches the past with the methods of the architectural historian and the site-specific interventions of the contemporary artist. Looking beyond and behind Bath's strategic marshaling of its past, and its reiteration of male architectural heroes, Hammond presents the ways in which women of all classes shaped the built environment and designed landscapes of one of England's most architecturally significant cities. This book is also, as research-creation, an intervention into this city's urban, public memory. The author uses site-specific works of public art as strategic counterparts to her historical readings. Through them, she aims to transform as well as critique the urban image of Bath. At once a performative literature, an extensively researched history, and an alternative guide to the city, Architects, Angels, Activists engages with struggles over urban signification in Bath and beyond.

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Teaching activities

Recent undergraduate courses:
ARTH 374 Montreal's Vernacular Architecture
ARTH 355 Spaces of Restorative and Transitional Justice
ARTH 450 Advanced Seminar in the History of Architecture: space, experience, architecture

Recent graduate seminars:
ARTH 668 Feminisms, Oral History, and Art History
ARTH 803 Thematic Questions: Spatial Practices, Spatial Stories

Recent thesis supervision:
Vanessa Sicotte, PhD in Art History (in progress)
Olivia Vidmar, MA, Art History (2023), "Possibilities of Public Art as an Agent of Renewal and Resistance in Pointe-Saint-Charles" 
Elizabeth Robinson, MA Art History (2023), "Reframing the Occult-inspired Paintings of Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo with Anti- Essentialist Methodology"
Vanessa Sicotte, MA, Art History (2022), "Resistant Materiality in Interwar France: Charlotte Perriand's Table basse manifeste pour Jean-Richard Bloch (1937), and Other Manifestos"
Lisa Massa, MA, Art History (2022), "Navigating Bella Figura: Inside the Childhood Homes of Six Second-Generation Italian- Canadian Women in Montreal"

Peer-reviewed and other publications since 2019

For the full list of Dr Hammond's publications, please see her CV.

2024. With Shauna Janssen and Eric Craven. “Promenade parlante: Intergenerational Dialogue, Place-Based Memory, and Co-Creation.” In The Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Approaches in Ageing Research. Ed. Anna Urbaniak and Anna Wanka. Routledge. 125-140.
2023. Special co-edited issue of 
RACAR (Revue d’art canadien/Canadian Art Review): The Sources of Research-Creation: Historical and Multiple Perspectives. Eds. Isabelle Pichet and Cynthia Hammond. 48, 2 (Fall 2023). 169pp.
2023. "Unearthing Feminine Legacies: Cynthia Hammond’s immersive exploration of historic and hidden gardens" (interview). Art Seen: The Curator’s Salon Magazine, Ed. Gita Joshi, 9 (Fall 2023): 31-37.
2023. With Diana Marcela Torres Molano, 
Greg Labosse, and Vanessa Sicotte. “From caseta to cuarto: The spaces of transitional justice in Colombia before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.” In Interiors in the era of Covid-19: Interior Design Between the Public and Private Realms. Ed. Penny Sparke et al. Bloomsbury Press, 2022. 113-126.
2022. “A Feminist Arcadian Landscape: The Later Work of Joyce Wieland.” For a special issue of The Journal of Canadian Art History on Joyce Wieland. Ed. Johanne Sloan and Mark Clintberg. 70-99.
2021. “Architecture, Photography, and Power: Picturing Montreal, 1973-74.” In Photogenic Montreal: Ruins and Revisions in a Postindustrial City. Ed. Johanne Sloan and Martha Langford. Montreal, Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 217-245.
2021. “Glacier, Plaza, and Garden: Ecological collaboration and didacticism in three Canadian landscapes.” Sustainability. Special issue: “Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm.” Ed. Carmela Cucuzzella, Jean-Pierre Chupin, and Cynthia Hammond. Vol. 13 (May 2021): 1-19.
2020. With Carmela Cucuzzella (lead author) and Jean-Pierre Chupin. “Eco-didacticism in Art and Architecture: Design as Means for Raising Awareness.” Cities (July 2020). Online: 8794 words.
2019. “‘The Gardens will be Illuminated’: Gendered and Georgian Pleasures in Sydney Gardens, Bath.” Bath History XV (September 2019): 9-33.
Les Jardins des femmes (exhibition catalogue). Gallery of the School of Architecture, McGill University, 15-25 June. With an introduction and text by Annmarie Adams. Montreal: Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, 2019.

Peer-reviewed conference presentations and invited lectures since 2019

Conference presentations:

2022. “La ville extraordinaire: Heritage, Community, Conservation.” Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada. UQAM, 28 May
2022. "La ville extraordinaire: Memories of Urban Change and Diversity in Montreal.” Small Modernisms symposium. Carleton University, 12 May
2021.  With Annmarie Adams. “Outside in the Garden.” Canadian Women Artists History Initiative conference, Modernism: Inside and Out (online). 30 September-2 October
2021. "A Landscape in Three Acts: Montréal’s Notman Garden.” 46th annual conference of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada (online), 30 May
2019.  With Shauna Janssen. “Desiring the Dark: Feminist Scenographies, the City, and the Night.” Thrill of the Dark: Heritages of Fear, Fascination and Fantasy. University of Birmingham, Birmingham UK. 25-27 April

Invited lectures:

2023. “Oral History and Art History.” As part of the online event, Growing Canadian Art Histories, Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, 29 March
2022. Panelist, “Art, Research-Creation, and Aging.” Public panel organized by engAGE: Concordia’s Centre for Research on Aging, 2 November
2022. "The Spaces of Restorative and Transitional Justice.” As part of the webinar, “Restorative Justice and the Design of Intentional Spaces.” Zehr Institute (online), 20 April
2022. "Restorative Landscapes in an Anthropocentric World.” As part of Healing, Well-Being, and the Visual Arts, public panel co-organized through Speaking of Photography, Afternoons at the Institute, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture (CISSC), Concordia University, April 6
2021. Guest lecture for ARCH 680.16 Special Topics in Architecture: New Histories of Canadian Architecture (course instructor: Dr David Monteyne), School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape, University of Calgary), 5 November
2021. "Landscapes.” Guest lecture for ARCH 251 Post-War Architecture (course instructor: Dr Annmarie Adams), School of Architecture, McGill University, 12 February 
2020.  “Promenade Parlante: Oral History, Research-Creation, and Older Montrealers' Knowledge of  the City.” For the Librarians’ Research Forum Committee Brown Bag Lecture series, Concordia University, 20 January
2019. “Co-Creating with Sensitivity: Promenade Parlante.” Round table: “Curating and creating with sensitive memory,” as part of Listen, Explore and Learn: The Living Archives of Rwandan Exiles and Genocide Survivors, conference, Concordia University’s 4th Space, 10 December
2019. “Layered Landscapes: The Notman Garden in Milton-Parc, Montréal.” As part of History and Memory: A Journée d’étude to mark the retirement of Ronald Rudin. Centre for Oral History & Digital Storytelling, Concordia. 15 November
2019. Artist’s talk for Les Jardins des femmes, for the Crossing Boundaries and Constructing Linkages: The History of Montreal’s Golden Square Mile in National and International Context conference, McGill University, 20 June
2019 With Alex Tigchelaar. “An Architecture of Catastrophe: Montréal’s Red Light District.”Lieux et rituels de l’utopie et de la dystopie (Architecture de la catastrophe) : Séminaire annuel du LEAP et colloque international :, Université de Montréal, 16 May
2019. "Working-class women’s activism, the right to the city, and intergenerational storytelling.” International Women’s Week Festival, Vanier College, 5 March

Art practice and interdisciplinary collaborations

Much of my art is site-responsive and focused on creative collaboration with a given place. Over the past 10-15 years I have developed an approach in which I study the history of a given garden and the woman or women who brought it into being. I then work “in place” as much as possible, in order to learn from the flora and fauna that inhabit the landscape today. My 2023 artist residency at La Napoule Art Foundation, for example, allowed me to work with a garden designed by American ex-patriate, Marie Clews (1880-1959). Between the two world wars, Clews created a microclimate in the grounds of a medieval castle on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. My paintings drew from the design richness of Clews' garden, as well as hundreds of historic photographs in the Foundation’s archive. During the garden’s golden era a menagerie of all-white birds lived on the castle grounds. White peacocks and white flamingos rubbed shoulders with white swans, fantail doves, egrets, and one lonely marabout named Don. My paintings aimed to represent these avian residents as being in-relationship with the human keepers of the garden, while pointing to the complexities at the heart of the garden: Marie Clews' creative freedom was contingent upon the captivity of these beautiful creatures. Other residencies have resulted in works that addressed the micro-ecosystem of a garden designed for elderly women (Notman Garden, 2019), one woman’s journey from oppression to creativity (the edge of her garden, 2017), and the “floral universe” of three generations of women in rural Québec (Abundant with Bloom, 2018). Overall, my work seeks to "make visible" (Elizabeth Grosz) the ways in which women and animals shape gardens and other interspecies landscapes.

For an up-to-date list of Dr Hammond's art and creative collaborations, please visit  her online portfolio at

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