Dr Shauna Janssen
Associate 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)
Biography Teaching activities Research Projects Selected Publications Participation activities (peer reviewed conferences) Art & Curatorial Projects, Interdisciplinary Collaborations Visiting Research/ Scholar invitations
Dr Shauna Janssen
I am an interdisciplinary artist-researcher 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 interdisciplinary practices. My scenographic and performative explorations with and within cities includes site-responsive performances/installations, urban interventions, community engagement, and intersectional collaborative approaches to art making in the urban realm.
At Concordia I am Associate 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 served as the Quebec Representative for the Canadian Association of Theatre Research (CATR) between 2018 and 2021. Since 2019 I have been an associate artist with Imago Theatre (Montreal), focusing on feminist approaches to urban dramaturgy and performance creation.
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.
As part of my performance research-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 Quadrennial of Performance, Design, and Space.
My research is supported by the Social Sciences Humanties and Research Council, and 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, through themes of spatial agency, the public sphere, gender, class, race, migration, 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).
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 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 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 , 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.
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 projects on contemporary performance and spatial practices taking place within the city, the spatial politics of urban change, site-specific and intermedial performance creation, performance design and scenography, (histories of) art and urban activism, urban dramaturgy, queer and feminist spatial practices, interdisciplinary 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.
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
Current PhD supervision
Jacob Caines, PhD Individualized Program, "The Ontology and Culture of Queer Classical Performance, Urban Geographies, and Community Engaged Art." (research-creation)
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
Caroline Lauren Beaucage, MA Individualized Program, "Choreographing Collaboration:a multidisciplinary approach to somatic and site responsive art practice."
Anne-Audrey Remarais, MA Individualized Program, "I WOK UP LIKE DIS." (research-creation)
Jamie Woollard, MA Individualized Program, "Thins Walls/ Voisines." (research-creation)
Current Postdoc supervision
Maude Lafrance, "Montreal Women & Theatre, from 1950 to Today"
Distinctions & Awards
2021 Recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, Faculty of Fine Arts (emerging category)
Funded Research-Creation Projects
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. $60,000.
Co-investigator, with Dr Cynthia Hammond (Principle Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - La Ville extraordinaire. $200,000.
Co-investigator, with Laura Levin (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Grant - Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices. $2 million.
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 (Principle 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 (Principle 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
- urban scenographies
- theatre & architecture
- public space
- virtual environments and performance
- intermedial performance
- augmented reality & the public sphere
- scenography as research & method
- critical disability studies
- queer methods
- urban and spatial dramaturgy
- spatial politics of urban change (gentrification, right to the city)
Peer reviewed publications
Hammond, C., Shauna Janssen. (2016) Points de vue: Agency, Contingency, Community and the Postindustrial Turn. FIELD: a journal of socially-engaged art criticism, 3. http://field-journal.com/issue-3/points-de-vue-agency-contingency-community-and-the-postindustrial-turn
Monographs/ Exhibition Texts
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.
Janssen, S. and Anja Mølle Lindelof. Editors. 2022. Performing Institutions: Contested Sites & Structures of Care. Intellect Books. (forthcoming)
Crave, E., Hammond, C., S. Janssen. 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. (forthcoming).
Participation activities (peer reviewed conferences)
Urban Scenographics : partial perspectives and unsettling existing perceptions of place
Invited speaker. « COHABITER, Imaginer les médiations culturelles au 21e siècle » 1-3 June 2022. MONTREAL. IN PERSON.
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 NightPerformance 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
Curator. Public Art Installation. Performance Arcade, Welllington Aotearoa/New Zealand. 6 February - 6 March 2020.
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
"Urban Scenographies." DesignLab, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Santiago, Chile. Dates TBA, 2022
“The Scenographic City.” School of Performance and Cultural Industries University of Leeds, UK. 14 January 2022
Visiting scholar and public lecture
“Performative Urbanism.” Department of Communication and Arts, University of Roskilde, Denmark. 15 February – 1 March 2018.