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Promenade parlante: episodes in a changing neighbourhood, 2018-19

Promenade parlante: Episodes in a Changing Neighbourhood is a series of audio-visual installations and performances that communicate senior Montrealers’ experiences of urban change in Shaughnessy Village. This project is a collaboration between a group of seniors, myself, Eric Craven (Community Development Librarian and coordinator of the Atwater Library’s Digital Literacy Project), and Dr Shauna Janssen (Director of Concordia University’s Institute for Urban Futures), and has been made possible through a Partnership Engage Grant, from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

In fall 2018 our team created a version of this walk as part of the Oral History Association’s international conference, jointly hosted by Concordia University and the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. This 90-minute walk featured performative episodes and new media installations along six sites in Shaughnessy Village, starting at Concordia University and ending at the Atwater Library. The participating artists included senior Montrealers (Wendy Allen, Ramsay Blair, Lilian Harper, and Wanda Portrykus), Concordia students also participated as artists (Gabrielle Castonguay) and project assistants (Doug Dumais, Dani Eyer, Alessandra Tom, Jenn Townsend). Isha Levy, an intern at Atwater Library over the summer of 2018,  also assisted.

A new version of the walk is planned for 13 April 2019. Please contact for more information on how to participate.

All photos below © Lisa Graves.

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Project assistant Doug Dumais shows participant Leyla Vural how to use the mp3 player

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Ramsay Blair, “Promenade parlante / crazy walk”

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Participants watch Ramsay Blair’s animated video about Shaughnessy Village at Concordia University’s Welcome Centre

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Maisa Mrewal (far left) and Katherine Vaughan (far right), “Le chiffonier”

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Gabrielle Castonguay, “I want to cover the city with white berries”

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Wanda Portrykus, “La Fameuse”

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Participants with apples from Wanda Portrykus’ performance.

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Wendy Allen, “Cabot Square Project”

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Inuit throat singers, Niap Saunders and Lucina Gordon perform as part of Wendy Allen’s episode on the spatial politics of Cabot Square.


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Lilian Harper, “History of Atwater Library”

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Wanda Portrykus shares her urban research with a participant

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