Concordia University

Dr Shauna Janssen, PhD

Assistant Professor, Theatre
Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism
Director, Institute for Urban Futures

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

Office: S-GM 500-55 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4744
Availability: My office hours for the fall 2018 term are Tuesday's 10:30am-12:00pm. Drop in, no appointment.

Dr Shauna Janssen

My teaching, research and creative practice are consonant with interdisciplinary practices and performative explorations with and within the urban realm, and include site-responsive performances/ installations, urban interventions, and community collaborations. In my teaching, curatorial work, and research I move in a constellation of organizational, pedagogical, critical, material, spatial, performative and social practices. My teaching practice has been shaped by ten years of teaching in the field of theatre and twenty years experience working professionally, in the performing arts; devising, staging, managing and touring (internationally) new Canadian works in theatre, opera, and dance.

At Concordia I am the Director of the Institute for Urban Futures, a Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (Emerging Scholar 2018-2023), a core member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and research associate with le Parc (Performing arts research cluster) based at Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. I am also a core working group member and researcher with the international research platform for Performance and Design.

In 2010, 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 La Fonderie Darling, the Griffintown Horse Palace Foundation, Heritage Montréal, Centaur Theatre, Montréal Arts InterculturelLe Corridor culturel de GriffintownLe 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). I have created and staged collaborative site responsive works and installations in Quebec, Germany, Australia, Italy, Chile, and New Zealand. For more information about these projects and others please visit my personal website:

My current research, funded by SSHRC and a Concordia University Research Chair (through the Office of the Vice President Research & Graduate Studies), focuses on performative urbanism and working with artists and researchers to create critical spatial practices and site responsive performances, interventions, installations, and collaborative community projects that rethink urban sites, discourses, and themes such as spatial agency, the public sphere, gender, class, race, migration, gentrification, and the right to the city. 

If you are a potential graduate student and would like to work with me, I am interested in supervising research on contemporary performance practices taking place within the city, site-specific performance creation and expanded scenography, (histories of) art and urban activism, urban dramaturgy, queer and feminist spatial practices, artistic research practices, and open to working with adjacent fields of study.

Teaching activities

Teaching areas

Selected Undergraduate Courses:

PERC 312 Dramaturgy II - Contemporary and Expanded Practices
PERC 322 Gender and Sexuality in Performance
PERC 211 Theatre and the City
PERC 498 Site Specific Performance Creation Practices 

Research and teaching Interests

Research and Research Creation Grants

SSHRC Insight Development Grant

Concordia University Research Chair (Emerging Scholar) in Performative Urbanism

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

Current and ongoing research topics 

  • expanded scenographic practices, environmental performance, and concepts such as spatial dramaturgy and performative urbanism
  • the role performance plays in shaping social, spatial, and gendered experiences of the built environment
  • the role of digital and new media in the public sphere in relation to expanded scenographic practices, concepts such as spatial dramaturgy and performative urbanism, and the right to the city


Participation activities

Artistic Projects/ Research-Creation

Islandness: Spatial Histories of Longing

Installation Performance. Collaboration with Jo Paterson Kinniburgh. “Performing, Writing” Symposium, University of Massey, New Zealand. 9-19 March 2017.      

Feminist City Light Capers

Spatial Interventions. November 2017

Back to top

© Concordia University