Performative Urbanism is a research cluster of

Institute for Urban Futures 

Shauna Janssen

Creative Director

& Principal Investigator

Shauna is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre at Concordia University, where she is also Director of the Institute for Urban Futures, and holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Performative Urbanism (2018-2023).Her teaching, research and creative practice are consonant with urban humanities, critical interdisciplinary spatial practices, and performative explorations with and within the urban realm, including: site-responsive performances/ installations, urban interventions, and community collaborations. 


In 2008 she founded Urban Occupations Urbaines (UOU), a research and curatorial platform for engaging artists and researchers, communities and the public, in creative and critical responses with the contested and unresolved architectural and spatial conditions of cities.  She has been commissioned to create artistic and curatorial public art projects for the Centre d’Histoire de Montreal, La Fonderie Darling, and has collaborated on community events and cultural exchanges with cultural institutions such as Mutek (2019) Heritage Montréal, Montréal Arts Interculturel, Le Sud-Ouest de Montréal, and Parks Canada.  Her contributions to research and the advancement of knowledge in critical urban spatial practices beyond academic audiences include a number of university-community collaborations, and invitations to give public lectures at cultural institutions in Montreal such as the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Ephemeral City, 2010), the artist-run centre Articule (“Would you be my curator?” 2012), and the McCord Museum (City Talks, 2013).


Internationally, she has given presentations about her research and urban curatorial work, as well as participated in various interdisciplinary and research-creation activities, events, and artist residencies hosted by institutions such as the Centre for Art and Urbanism, Berlin; the School of Art, Design and Architecture Creative Exchange Institute, University of Tasmania, Australia; the Department of Spatial Design at Massey University, New Zealand; the XX Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, Chile (2017); Performance Design at Roskilde University, Denmark; and Prague Quadrennial (Czech Republic (2019).


Her current research and creation projects employ spatial dramaturgy, feminist methods, and expanded scenography to engage with questions of care and the right to the city and the critical role performance design can play in mobilizing the development of more just urban futures. Her research is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, as well as a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant.

Ella Williams

Research Assistant


Ella is an undergraduate student finishing her BFA in Concordia’s Performance Creation specialization. Before she moved to Montreal she studied playwriting at The Theatre School at DePaul University where her works were performed at the Wrights of Spring Festival, as well at Playhouse NOLA in New Orleans. Her practice is especially informed by Chicago storefront theatre and the new play development work she was exposed at Chicago Dramatists. She is interested in immersive, site specific, interdisciplinary, and feminist theatre and theatre practices. She likes to consider herself a playwright and aspiring dramaturg and actor, and is also a classically trained cellist.

Joanna Donehower

Research Coordinator

(on leave January - August 2019)

Joanna has been working in professional theatre in Montréal and in the United States since 2005, and, since 2012, has been artistic director of a theatre company in Montréal which features site-responsive performance collaborations between university students and theatre professionals.  Her dissertation Performing Curiosity: A Research-Creation Inquiry into Urban Performance in Montréal explores the relationship between performance and its city of situation, putting into practice a spectrum of historical and contemporary performance techniques for engaging critically and creatively with contested urban spaces. Curiocité, the creative component of her doctoral research, is a multimodal urban research platform and theatrical device, based on the curiosity cabinet and popular street theatre forms.  Abattoir de l’est is the street performance event issuing from the Curiocité platform, an urban fable that engages the histories and presents of Montréal’s rue Ontario and the east end district of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, where Joanna lives.

Naya Salamé

Research Assistant


Naya is an interdisciplinary Lebanese-Canadian artist, currently enrolled in Concordia University’s BFA in Performance Creation. She has recently moved to Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal from Beirut where she was a sexual and reproductive rights activist. As a feminist, she has been involved in projects concerned with the reshaping of public spaces for women and queer persons in Beirut. In her artistic practice, she is interested in exploring questions of hope, recovery and transformation in a violent, patriarchal, colonial world. 

Allison Peacock

Research Coordinator

Allison has developed an artistic practice committed to expanding the possibilities of dance and choreography, experimenting with forms of presentation, representation, potentiality, and imagination. She holds a BA from the University of Toronto in Political Science and Visual Studies, is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Dance Training Program, and completed her MA in Solo/Dance/Authorship at the UdK/HZT Berlin.


Allison has trained, taught, and performed internationally. Her solo and collaborative works have been presented at the Canada Dance Festival, Dancemakers, Fabrica de Pensule, Movement Research at the Judson Church, National Dance Centre Bucharest (CNDB), Salonul de Proiecte, Uferstudios, and numerous non-traditional performance spaces.


From 2006-11, Allison worked as a gardener in Toronto, with a speciality in topiary, hedge, and knot garden clipping. She is currently a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program at Concordia University, researching performance and contemporary physicality through local gardens and gardening practices.

Eduardo Pérez

Research Assistant


Eduardo Perez trained as an architect at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). His work explores the intersection of architecture, design, performance and new media through research-creation projects and territorial actions oriented to generate critical spatial ecosystems. Perez is co-founder of the architecture collective TOMA, with whom he has exhibited his work internationally, and been awarded with the Graham Foundation Grant for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (2016). He has collaborated extensively with cultural and educational institutions in Chile, and has lectured at the Faculty of Architecture at UDLA, Santiago. Currently, he is pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. 

Caroline Laurin-Beaucage

Research Assistant


Caroline is undertaking her MA in Concordia's INDI program. She has been active as a choreographer, performer and teacher for 20 years. She has danced for choreographers such as Ginette Laurin (O Vertigo), Jacques Poulin-Denis, Paul-André Fortier and Jean-Pierre Perreault. In 2001, she began her own choreographic process and created several pieces such as: Hit and Fall (2009), SOAK  (2011), Entailles (2013) and Matière blanche (2015). Her choreographic work has been presented in Montreal at Tangente, Agora de la danse, OFFTA, Festival TransAmériques, as well as in France, Hungary, Germany and South Korea. In 2016, Caroline Laurin-Beaucage created Habiter sa mémoire, an outdoor performance which has been presented in more than 15 different cities and will continue its tour in Canada, Europe and China until 2020. In 2018, she presents the ambitious diptych Ground and Rebo(u)nd in collaboration with Montreal Danse. Caroline Laurin-Beaucage graduated from The School of the Toronto Dance Theater. She has been teaching contemporary dance technique at Montreal’s Concordia University since 2005.  She is the founder of Lorganisme and has served as the company’s artistic director since its creation.

christian scott

Research Assistant


christian scott is fascinated by the ability of people to transform cities with playful actions. With an academic background in urban sociology and professional expertise in community planning and socioenvironmental projects, they use poetry, music, field recordings, body/movement, and urban intervention/installation as mediums of exploration.


christian is undertaking a PhD in Playful Cities, feminist/queer placemaking, performance art, and the relationship between memory/identity/body/space.


They grew-up between Montreal/Tio'tia:ke and Guadalajara (MX), and currently inhabit the H2T 2Y2 postal code.


Becca Redden

Research Assistant



Becca is an MA student in the Media Studies program at Concordia University. She’s a filmmaker and organizer, focusing on uplifting under-heard stories in both documentary, narrative fiction, and through community programs. Her work centers around the ways to use media to talk about issues in social and environmental justice, representation, feminism, queerness, anti-racism, and access. She is currently developing a climate change impact map of Montreal, in order to explore ideas on environmental embodiment and the social justice implications of the future.

Katrina Jurjans

Research Assistant



Katrina is currently completing a Master of Design at Concordia. Both within and outside of academia, notions of boundaries, transformation, memory, and transition have informed her practice. Whether solidified into the more concrete language of colour and pattern in painting, used as a way to incorporate a more temporary, emotional and unstable understanding of space within architecture, or thought of in relation to the body in installations, these ideas remain a consistent driving force to think about space and spatial experience. 


Currently, she is interested in exploring the potential in poetic analogies as a way to set up relationships between things that rarely come in contact with one another - painting, body boundaries and spatial borders - to merge questions of transformation and thresholds that emanate from the body with those characteristic to larger-scale spatial borders and boundaries. 

Mira Baba

Research Assistant


Mira completed her MSc in geography and urban studies at Concordia University. With a background in landscape architecture she is interested in the urban aspect of the field, and influenced by the question of 'Whose city?' She works with people-centered approaches to design  that respect locale . During her graduate study, she became interested in exploring cultural landscapes and community/informal planning, particularly the indeterminate spaces of the post-industrial landscape, and in how they can act as spaces of opportunity and potentiality. Her research bridges  these interests as it explores indeterminate spaces as sites of tension between gentrification and appropriation.