Promenade Parlante – Urban Witnesses

promenades-parlantes Wanda Potrykus performs her story of Shaughnessy Village in October 2018. Photograph © Lisa Graves

A curated memory journey through Shaughnessy Village

Promenade parlante: Episodes in a Changing Neighbourhood was an intergenerational, co-creative project about urban change, located in the Shaughnessy Village neighbourhood of downtown Montreal. Grounded in oral history, Promenade parlante produced a series of audio-visual installations and performances that communicated senior Montrealers’ experiences and knowledge of urban transformation. This project was a collaboration between the founders of the Living History oral history project (a group of five seniors: Wendy Allen, Ramsay Blair, Penelope Cumas, Lilian Harper, and Wanda Potrykus), Dr Cynthia Hammond (Concordia University), Dr Shauna Janssen (Concordia University), and Eric Craven (Community Development Librarian and coordinator of the Atwater Library’s Digital Literacy Project). Our two urban walks, short film, and resulting archive were made possible through a Partnership Engage Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as well as funding from Concordia's Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) and Janssen's Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism.

Latest news about this project

A 20-minute documentary film about the project details the working approach and foregrounds the experiences of the five aging Montrealers who were the beating heart of the work. In collaboration with three of these co-creators, in spring 2022 Hammond, Shauna, and Craven submitted a book chapter on the project, titled “Promenade parlante: Intergenerational Dialogue, Place-Based Memory, and Co-Creation”, which will be published in the Routledge International Handbook of Participatory Approaches in Ageing Research, eds. Anna Urbaniak and Anna Wanka (2023). Hammond has also given several public talks about the project, including at the 2018 Oral History Association annual conference, held in Montreal (with Shauna Janssen). The film was launched at a public event at Concordia’s 4th Space on 29 November 2019. The work has since been discussed in an article in Le Devoir.

For more information about this Project, visit Dr. Hammond's website.

Read the article in Le Devoir.


  • Cynthia Hammond, Principal Investigator (Art History, Concordia University
  • Eric Craven (Atwater Library)
  • Shauna Janssen (Theatre, Concordia University)
  • Wendy Allen
  • Ramsay Blair
  • Penelope Cumas
  • Lilian Harper
  • Wanda Potrykus
  • Doug Dumais
  • Gabrielle Castonguay
  • Eduardo Della Foresta
  • Dorian Bell
  • Ona Bantjes-Ràfols
  • Chloé Houde
  • Danielle Eyer
  • Isha Levy
  • Naya Salamé
  • Melissa Tamporello
  • Alessandra Tom
  • Jenn Townsend
  • Ella Williams


  • SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant
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