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The Visible City Project + Archive


Prof. Janine Marchessault, Canada Research Chair

How do we make cities into cultural communities? Urban research in Canada is now recognizing the central role played by the arts in creating new forms of citizenship that strengthen social bonds. The Visible City Project + Archive brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines - fine arts, architecture, urban planning and policy studies, as well as numerous public and non-profit arts organizations - to share information and examine common problems facing Canada's largest cities. As cities grow more complicated, there is an urgent need for creative research and interdisciplinary frameworks that raise social awareness and foster collective responsibility. Without them we cannot effectively address issues of social and cultural poverty in our cities, leaving those most in need out of the picture. For more information visit

For inquiries please contact the project team at

The Leona Drive Project -- a site specific exhibition featuring 23 artists in 5 Vacant bungalows in Willowdale Ontario. This project, which ran from October 22 to 31st, also featured two artists talks per day and a roundtable event at the Willowdale Library on Creativity and history in the Suburbs. The Leona Drive project is a unique contemporary art show featuring original installations that address the shifting space of the suburbs. Co-curated by York University film Professor Janine Marchessault and Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) Professor Michael Prokopow, the project aims to challenge and expand our understanding of suburban spaces.

To find more information, you may visit

The following are a list of presentations, publications and events that are related to project or have resulted from this research:

Special issue of the journal Public:Art/Culture/Ideas ( Issue # 43, March 2011) devoted to the Culture of Suburbs

Art Catalogue devoted to the Leona Drive Project (forthcoming).

Monthly talks by doctoral students will take place at the Swallow's Bookstore@ 283 Spadina, "Working Papers on the Visible City," will begin October 2010.

The 20th Anniversary Issue of Public: Art/Culture/Ideas (Issue #37, December 2008) was co-edited by Professor Janine Marchessault and two Visible City researchers, Aleksandra Kaminska and Jason Rovito. For more information visit

LOT: Experiments in Urban Research was formed in 2007 by a group of seven artists and urban researchers (including researchers associated with the Visible City Project). LOT (League of Tangents) produces small urban interventions (probes) to discern the phenomenologies of everyday life—such experiments are often mixed with theorizing, the process of thinking with and through theory to understand the present moment. For more information visit

The Visible City Project + Archive and PUBLIC Access present "Mourning the Suburb A Symposium on Dwelling, in Transition" Featuring: W. John Archer, Beatriz Colomina and Alberto Pérez-Gómez.
The event will take place on Friday March 5th, 2010, 10:30-6:30pm at the Prefix Institute for Contemporary Art
401 Richmond St. West, Suite 124, Toronto, Ontario.  For more information visit