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Shauna Janssen, PhD

Associate Professor, Theatre
Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (2018-2023), Fine Arts

On sabbatical July 1 2023-2024

Shauna Janssen, PhD
Office: S-GM 500.01  
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4555
Website(s): PULSE
Availability: On sabbatical July 1 2023-2024.
ORCID: 0000-0002-4602-5989

Dr Shauna Janssen

I am an interdisciplinary artist-researcher, curator, performance designer, and educator working and living in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal, on the unceded Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation. My teaching, research, and creative practice are consonant with performative, site-specific, intersectional, interdisciplinary, and collaborative approaches to art making. 

At Concordia I am Associate Professor of Performance Creation in the Department of Theatre, Creative Director of PULSE, and Studio Director of Immersive Storytelling housed at Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology.  Between 2018 and 2023 I was appointed a Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism, and from 2018-2020 I was the Director of Concordia's Institute for Urban Futures. 

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.

Current research-creation activities are focused on the dramaturgy and creation of new media performance, and site-responsive mixed reality scenographies that critically engage 3D visualization technologies in queer and feminist productions of space. My ongoing research and creation activities are focused on performative and curatorial engagements with the spatial politics of urban change, and often takes the form of site-specific urban interventions, feminist, collaborative art and community-engaged projects.  

In Montreal, I have collaborated with a variety of artist run centres including La Fonderie Darling, Heritage Montréal, Centaur Theatre, Montréal Arts Interculturel, Le 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 Mutek (2019), L'Observatoire des médiations culturelles (2022), and for 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). Between 2018 and 2022 I served as the Quebec Representative for the Canadian Association of Theatre Research (CATR). Since 2019 I have been an associate artist with Imago Theatre (Montreal), focusing on feminist approaches to urban dramaturgy and performance creation. 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. 

Internationally, as part of my performance design and research-creation activities I have led workshops, given scholarly/ artist talks, and participated in various artistic and scholarly 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;  Performance Design at Roskilde University, Denmark. I have staged site-specific artistic works and performance design collaborations locally in Montreal, Quebec, as well as at Città Invisibili, Teatro Potlatch, Fara Sabina, Italy (2018); for the XX Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, “Unpostponable Dialogues.” Valparaiso, Chile (2017); the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (2019 & 2023); and at Performance Arcade in Wellington New Zealand/Aotearoa (2020). For the International Federation of Theatre Research I am co-convenor of the Theatre & Architecture Working Group (2021-2025).

My writing on site-specific art, urban scenography, public space, performance pedagogy, and performative art practices have been published and translated (French, Spanish, German) in numerous essays, exhibition catalogues, art monographs, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journals, including with the Journal of Theatre & Performance Design, FIELD: a journal of socially-engaged art criticism, JAR (journal of artistic research), and PARtake: the Journal of Performance as Research. I am co-editor of the anthology Performing Institutions: Contested Sites & Structures of Care (Intellect, 2023).

My research-creation projects are supported by the Social Sciences Humanties and Research Council, the Fonds de recherché Québec - Société et Culture (FRQ-SC), and the Office of the Vice President Research and Graduate Studies, Concordia University.

I regularly supervise graduate researchers working across and/or at the intersections of contemporary performance creation, architecture and design, immersive and new media technologies, geography and urban studies, and studio arts - housed within Concordia's Individualized Program, and/or 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 projects on contemporary performance and spatial practices taking place within the city, artistic investigations with the spatial politics of urban change, site-specific and intermedial performance creation, immersive performance design, political approaches to making with extended and mixed reality scenographies, (histories of) art and urban activism, expanded and new media dramaturgy, queer and feminist performance practices, interdisciplinary and hemispheric performance research-creation methodologies, and open to working with adjacent fields of study. Research-creation applicants must have a strong commitment to critical theory and writing, as well as practice.

Teaching activities

Teaching areas

Undergraduate courses taught:
SCEN 411        Urban Scenographies (Studio/Field School Program)
PERC 412        Expanded Dramaturgy - Contemporary Perspectives & Practices (SEMINAR)
PERC 486        Site Specific Performance Creation Practices (STUDIO)
PERC 312        Gender and Sexuality in Performance (SEMINAR)
PERC 211        Theatre and the City (LECTURE)
ARTX 498        Site-Responsive Public Art (STUDIO ARTS)
DFTT 498        Installation Art Practices & Public Space (DESIGN STUDIO)
ARTH 354       Histories of Design for Performance and Scenography (ART HISTORY)

Graduate seminar and directed studies:
INDI  80I         Interdisciplinary Approaches to Performance Research Creation Methods                             

Primary Thesis Supervision

Current PhD supervision

Jacob Caines, PhD Individualized Program, "The Ontology and Culture of Queer Classical Performance, Urban Geographies, and Community Engaged Art."  (research-creation, SSHRC funded)

Kévin Pinvidic, PhD Individualized Program, "Matérialité urbaine augmentée." (research-creation, SSHRC funded)

Jamie Woollard, PhD Individualized Program, "Thins Walls/ Voisines." (research-creation)

Laura Acosta, PhD Humanities Program, "Other Futures: Dislocations and Augmented Fabulations." (research-creation)


Current Masters supervision

Milan Gervais, MA Individualized Program, "Élargissement des modes de création in situ
vers une drammaturgie immersive formalisée." (research-creation)

Maddison Schmitt, MA Individualized Program, "Performing Relations: Two-Spirit Dramaturgy for Research & performance Creation." (research-creation, FRQSC funded)

Current Postdoc supervision

Alex de las Heras, "Visions of Tomorrow: Exploring Fiestas, Data Visualization, & VR 

in Shaping Colombia's Post-Conflict Future", co-supervised with Dr Laura Levin

2024-2026 (Connected Minds Postdoc Fellowship, York University)

Steven Greenwood, "Queer Detective Fiction and the Montréal Postwar Criminal Underworld" - 2023-2025 (FRQSC)

Maude Lafrance, "Montreal Women & Theatre, from 1950 to Today" - 2020-2022 (SSHRC)

Distinctions & Awards

2021 Recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, Faculty of Fine Arts (emerging category)

Research Projects

Funded Research-Creation Projects

Principal Investigator SSHRC Explore program - "New Media Performance & Mixed Reality Scenographies." $5,000

Co-investigator, with Drs Jennifer Roberts Smith and Nicole Nolette
(Principal Investigators): SSHRC Partnership Grant, "Staging Better Futures/
Mettre en scène de meilleurs avenirs." $2.499,000.

Co-investigator, with Laura Levin (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Grant - "Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices." $2.499,000.

Principal Investigator 
Zù & Concordia University Creative Research Fellowship (Office of Vice President Research & Graduate Studies). $10,000


Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (New Scholar, Office of Vice President Research & Graduate Studies). $145,000.

Principal Investigator
, FRQSC - "Digital Performativity of Public Space: Scenographic Approaches to Augmented Reality and Place-based Storytelling." $74,000.

Co-investigator, with Dr Cynthia Hammond (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - "La Ville extraordinaire." $200,000.


Principal Investigator. Aid to Research Related Events, Exhibition, Publication and Dissemination Activities (ARRE) Program. (OVPRGS internal award). $5,000.

2020-2021 (extended to 2022)

Co-applicant. SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant: Déconstruction du pont Champlain : co-création de propositions de récupération des matériaux et engagement citoyen. Dr Alice Jarry PI. $25,000

Co-applicant, with Erin Hurly (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Connections Grant - Canadian Association for Theatre Research "Partition/ Ensemble" Conference. $25,000

Principal Investigator
- Office of Vice Provost Research & Graduate Studies - Aid to Related Research Events. $5,000. 

2019-2020 (extended to 2021)
Principal Investigator
, SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant - Feminist Performance Creation and the City. $25,000.

2018-2021 (extended to 2022)
Principal Investigator
, SSHRC Insight Development Grant - Situating Critical Performance Design in the City. $42,000.

Co-applicant, with Dr Cynthia Hammond (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant - "Urban Witnesses, Neighbourhood Change, Montreal's Elders, Oral History Performance and Research Creation." $25,000.

Current and ongoing research interests: 

  • site-specific performance creation
  •       interdisciplinary approaches to performance creation
  • feminist spatial practices
  • queer art and practices
  • mixed reality scenographies
  • theatre & architecture
  • performance design
  • art & public space
  • immersive storytelling & performance
  • intermedial theatre & performance 
  • augmented reality & the public sphere
  • scenography as research & method
  • critical disability studies
  • urban and spatial dramaturgy
  • spatial politics of urban change (gentrification, right to the city)

Selected Publications

Books/ chapters

Janssen, S. and Anja Mølle Lindelof. Editors. 2023. Performing Institutions: Contested Sites & Structures of Care. Intellect Books. 

Hammond, C., S. Janssen, Crave, E. 2023. "Promenade Parlante: Intergenerational Dialogue, Urban Scenography, and Co-Creation." Editors, Anna Urbaniak and Anna Wanka. Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Approaches in Ageing Research.

Janssen, S. "this space is for you: queer-feminist approaches to crafting site-specific mixed reality scenogrpahies." Editors, Greer Crawley and Carolina E. Santos, Women's Innovation in Theatre, Dance and Performance, Volume 3: Designers and Crafters. Bloomsbury. (forthcoming)

Janssen, S. and Joanne Paterson Kinniburgh. “‘Fantasy in the Hold’ : the Logistics of Container Architecture, Trans*ivity, and Queer Port Urbanisms.” Editors, Jill Didur and Nalini Mohabir. (Post) Colonial Ports: Place and Non-Place in the Ecotone. Routledge. (forthcoming)

Peer reviewed journal articles

Janssen, S., Jurjans, K., Perez, E., scott, c. (2022). Mediating a Performative Response to Contested Urban Landscapes: Gorilla Park. JAR - journal for artistic research. 

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, Journal of 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

Janssen, S. 2023. "Urban Scenographics: methods, practices and pedagogies towards unsettling existing perceptions of place.” In Espacios y Objetos Performativos. Rodrigo Tisi, ed. Ediciones ARQ, de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Janssen, S. 2022. “Urban Scenographics and Performative Mappings of Place in the work of Larissa Fassler.” Larissa Fassler: Viewshed. Ed. Diana Sherlock. Berlin: DISTANZ. In German, English, French.

Janssen, S. 2021. "Camouflaged Screams: Immersive and Scenographic Constructions of Wilding." Exhibition text for Camouflaged Screams. Artists Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera. Optica, Montreal. In English, French, Spanish.

Janssen, S., Hannah, D. 2017. PhoneHome: Architecture A/ Part. XX Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, “Unpostponable Dialogues.” Exhibition catalogue. Valparaiso, Chile. In Spanish, English.


Janssen, S. 2017. “‘Fantasy in the Hold’: PhoneHome: Architecture A/ Part”. Exhibition text. Architecture and Urbanism Biennial. Valparaiso, Chile. In English, Spanish.

Participation activities (peer reviewed conferences)

this space is for you/ cet espace est pour toi

"Mixed Reality Scenographics: towards performative and queer orientations."

Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ talks). 13 June 2023

Feminist Scenographies

Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ talks). 10 June 2023

this space is for you: the poetics of staging intermedial sites

Colloque: "Réinventer la scène". Montreal, 1-3 June 2023.

Urban Scenographics : partial perspectives and unsettling existing perceptions of place

Invited speaker. « COHABITER, Imaginer les médiations culturelles au 21e siècle ». Montreal. 1-3 June 2022. 

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

Art & Curatorial Projects, Interdisciplinary Collaborations

this space is for you

Artist. this space is for you/ cet espace est pour toi. Mixed Reality Scenography. With Kévin Pinvidic. For « Acts of Assembly. » Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design & Space 2023. June 8-18.


Artist-Curator. Public Art Installation. Collaboration with Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard. Performance Arcade, Wellington, Aotearoa/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. With Cynthia Hammond and Caroline Alexander. 2017-2023.

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 Researcher/ Artist-Residencies and Scholarly Invitations

Visting artist-researcher

Matters of Activity. Cluster of Excellence Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. October - December 2023.

Visiting scholar and public lecture

"Urban Scenographies." DesignLab, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Santiago, Chile. December, 2022. ONLINE

Invited speaker

“The Scenographic City.” School of Performance and Cultural Industries University of Leeds, UK. 14 January 2022. ONLINE.

Invited researcher - workshop leader

"Dramaturgy of virtual environments and storytelling atelier.” Utrecht, Netherlands. 12 April 2021. ONLINE

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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