Concordia University

Student Research Fellows

In 2018 the IUF implemented a Student Research Fellow Program to support and amplify the research/ research creation activities of one outstanding Concordia graduate student, and in 2019 we implemented a fellowship for undergraduate students. Calls for nominations and proposals for candidates will be circulated on February 15th Submissions should include a one page letter of intent, outlining a project and stating how the applicant will benefit from the fellowship, an up to date CV, and one letter of support from the candidate’s supervisor, or in the case of an undergraduate student, a course instructor. Submissions should be sent to the Director by March 15th . The Director will work in consultation with the IUF Advisory Board to select one graduate and undergraduate candidate per year with the fellowship beginning on September 1st.

2018-19 Graduate student Research Fellow

Eduardo Della Foresta

iuf research fellow

Eduardo Della Foresta is an artist and MFA candidate in Studio Arts at Concordia University. As a sculpture student, he is concerned with the distance between spheres of social engagement and shaping space to elicit discourse and open dialogue.

He concurrently works as a caseworker with Projet logement Montréal (PLM), an organization committed to social integration and inclusion. PLM is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness which centres on moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing. The project has assisted and provided subsidized housing to 250 men, women and young people suffering from episodic or chronic homelessness.

Eduardo’s research considers various ways in which imagination can help reduce the painful effects of isolation and disaffiliation. His research has been support by the IUF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program which further allowed for the launch of Atelier Mobile Montreal (AMM). AMM is a mobile workshop that provides tools and supplies for those who are excluded from cultural exchange due to socio-economic factors. Marginalized communities are at a higher risk of seclusion and need access to alternative creative spaces.

The goals of AMM are to provide marginalized urban communities with resources that offer a pragmatic approach to making and sharing, and reduce sustained social isolation through creative expression.

AMM’s mobile truck provides services across Montreal that promotes creative expression by providing tools, supplies, and instruction free of charge. The Atelier facilitates making and fabricating based on the interests and projects of our participants.

Photos of the AMM mobile truck


2018-19 Undergraduate student Research Fellows

The Gravel to Grass Project

How can we intentionally deregulate the design of an urban space in order to create an environment that is gradually shaped by those who use it? How do we design a space that encourages personal interpretation?

As designers, how can we reintroduce the natural world into our cities and promote a symbiotic relationship between both? Do cities and the natural world really need to be antithetical?

        The Gravel to Grass is a design research-based project that seeks to transform a vacant lot on Mackay Street, located in downtown Montreal, adjacent to the Sir George Williams (SGW) campus of Concordia University. The project originates from a class assignment in which undergraduate Design students Auguste Courvoisier, Thomas Heinrich and Judith Maltais were tasked with studying a space in the city of Montreal designed in a “less-than-desirable” manner and to come up with a proposal to improve it. Addressing the importance of cohesion among a student body and student’s emotional attachment to their learning environment (in regards to architecture and space), the team drafted a critique of the SGW’s campus that highlighted the absence of large communal areas and the difficulty for students to develop personal relationships with those that exist today. Combining experience design principles and Jonathan Chapman’s theory of emotionally durable design, the team sought to imagine a space that could be organically shaped by its users over time in order for them to develop a stronger emotional bond with it. Their design proposal at this time offered the transformation of a littered gravel parking lot on Mackay Street near Saint-Catherine Street West. The initial proposal for the future of the site offered a vision of transforming the abandoned parking lot into an unfurnished, entirely vegetated green space that offered both the possibility to be interpreted gradually and naturally by its users (students or any downtown resident) as well as psychological benefits of ‘well-being’ through encountering natural landscapes in the built environment.

        As futurists in residence at the IUF, Courvoisier, Heinrich and Maltais will continue to pursue the Gravel to Grass project and focus their research on the site’s history, the spatial politics of the neighbourhood, urban ecology and biophilic design. From their research, the team hopes to acquire the tools and knowledge necessary to produce a series of design proposals for a public space on Mackay Street that encourages creative and social exchange, that utilizes the multidisciplinarity of a university campus and that promotes a rewilding of the urban environment.


Judith Maltais

        Judith Maltais is a second-year undergraduate Design student. She views design as a way to strengthen the relationship between the individual and its surroundings on large and small scales. Her main interests reside in print media, infographics and graphic design. Drawing, illustration and woodworking additionally play a distinctive role in her creative work. She works towards making sure that the artistic and technical qualities of a project are synchronized with the environment and its people.

Thomas Heinrich

        Thomas Heinrich is an undergraduate student in his second year in the Design program at Concordia University. Over the past year, his work has been guided by a growing interest in the behavioural effects of urban environments, in particular vacant lots, abandoned buildings and organically created spaces. His work also focuses on sustainable architecture, bio-materials and upcycled materials with the purpose of designing beyond an anthropocentric (or human-focused) framework. 

Auguste Courvoisier

        Auguste Courvoisier is a Montrealer who discovered her love for design while working as an event space manager and curator in Hong Kong. Now completing her undergraduate design degree at Concordia University, she is passionate about print media, photography and queer theory. She continuously explores her creativity through a fusion of disciplines using any medium available in order to produce a multi-faceted identity to an object, space or visual work. She hopes this project will further expand on these notions in order to create a free and inclusive urban environment.

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