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Dr Shauna Janssen

Assistant Professor, Theatre
Affiliate Professor, Geography, Planning and Environment
Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism, Fine Arts
Director, Institute for Urban Futures, Fine Arts

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

Dr Shauna Janssen
Office: S-GM 500-55 
Guy-De Maisonneuve Building,
1550 De Maisonneuve W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 4744
Availability: By appointment and zoom only.

Dr Shauna Janssen

My teaching, research and creative practice are consonant with performative, transdisciplinary, and intersectional collaborative approaches to art making, performative explorations with and within the urban realm, and include: site-responsive performances/ installations, urban interventions, and community collaborations. 

My transversal approach to teaching has been shaped by fifteen years as an educator and organizer in the field of theatre and twenty years experience working professionally, in the performing arts; devising, staging, managing and touring (internationally) contemporary 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 (New Scholar 2018-2023), a core member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and research associate with lePARC (Performing arts research cluster) housed at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. I am also a core working group member and researcher with the international research platform for Performance & Design, as well as I serve as the Quebec Representative for the Canadian Association of Theatre Research (CATR). 

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 a variety of artist run centres including La Fonderie Darling, Heritage Montréal, Centaur Theatre, Montréal Arts InterculturelLe 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 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 eight hundred artists, scholars, and activists from across the Americas.

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 is funded by two Social Sciences Humanities and Research Council grants (Insight Development and Partnership Engage), the Fond de recherche société et culture, as well as a Concordia University Research Chair (through the Office of the Vice President Research & Graduate Studies). My research focuses on performative urbanism and critical spatial practices 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. I am also a Co-investigator on a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - La Ville Extraordinaire, and a SSHRC Partnership Grant - Hemispheric Encounters: Developing transborder research-creation practices. 

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

Teaching activities

Teaching areas

Performance Creation
Urban Scenographies 
Expanded Dramaturgy - Contemporary Perspectives & Practices
Site Specific Performance Creation Practices 
Gender and Sexuality in Performance
Theatre and the City

Installation Art Practices & Public Space
Histories of Design for Performance and Scenography
Research-creation methodologies

Research Projects

Funded Research-Creation Grants

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

Principal Investigator
, FRQ-SC - Digital Performativity of Public Space: Scenographic Approaches to Augmented Reality and Place-based Storytelling

Co-applicant, with Dr Cynthia Hammond (Principle Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - La Ville extraordinaire

Co-applicant, with Laura Levin (Principal Investigator): SSHRC Partnership Grant - Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices

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

Principal InvestigatorOffice of Vice Provost Research & Graduate Studies - Aid to Related Research Events 

Principal Investigator
, SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant - Feminist Performance Creation and the City

Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Development Grant - Situating Critical Performance Design in the City

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" 

Current and ongoing research topics 

  • site-specific performance, expanded scenographic practices, environmental performance
  • performance creation and spatial politics, the role performance plays in shaping social, spatial, and gendered experiences of the built environment
  • digital creativity and new media in the public sphere scenographic practice and research; urban and spatial dramaturgy, performative urbanism, and the right to the city


Theatre Island - Urban Scenographies of Learning : A Performative Paradigm for Transversal Pedagogy

Janssen, S. (2020) Theatre Island - Urban Scenographies of Learning: A Performative Paradigm for Transversal Pedagogy. In Pedagogies of/and Performance-as-Research. PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research, volume 3, issue 2. Forthcoming.


Performance Design as Mnemonic Device for Critical Engagement with the Spatial Politics of Urban Change: The ARCADE Project.

Janssen, S(2019) Performance design as mnemonic device for critical engagement with the spatial politics of urban change: the ARCADE project, Theatre and Performance Design, 5:3-4, 195-211, DOI: 10.1080/23322551.2019.1690234

Points de vue: Agency, Contingency, Community and the Postindustrial Turn

Hammond, C.,  Shauna Janssen. (2016) Points de rue: Agency, Contingency, Community and the Postindustrial Turn. FIELD: a journal of socially-engaged art criticism, 3

“Reimagining anOther Public Space: Le Dalhousie, Griffintown.”

Janssen, S. (2013) Reimagining an Other Public Space: Le Dalhousie, Griffintown. On Site Review 30:10-12. 

Participation activities (peer reviewed conferences)

Ecologies of performing urban place in Montreal: the parking lot as dramaturgical infrastructure

Accepted paper, not presented. “Ecologies of performing urban place in Montreal: the parking lot as dramaturgical infrastructure.” Theatre Ecologies: Environment, Sustainability, and Politics, conference of the International Federation of Theatre Research, Galway. 13-18 July 2020. Conference postponed due to COVID-19.

Notes from the field: on urban curating, postindustrial ecologies, place, and critical posthumanism

“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

“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

Artistic Projects/ Research-Creation


Curator. Public Art Installation. Performance Arcade, Welllington 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

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

Visiting Research/ Scholar invitations

Visiting scholar and workshop leader

DesignLab, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Santiago, Chile. Dates TBD

Visiting scholar and workshop leader

“The Scenographic City.” School of Performance and Cultural Industries University of Leeds, UK. Dates TBD

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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