Art in the city

How does art react to becoming part of a city's public space? And how do cities adapt to the transformation of their environment into artistic expression?

The research team Média et vie urbaine à Montréal (Media and Urban Life in Montreal), directed by William Straw from Université McGill, works in collaboration with several of the city's cultural institutions. Together, they are investigating the place held by the many forms of cultural expression in the city. More specifically, they observe the conditions under which art, public expression and information come together in the city's public spaces. The research team is taking a close look at newspapers, literature, advertizing, posters and many other forms of public communication.

In September 2009, research team member Annie Gérin, was one of the organizers of a conference on public art that led to the creation of a book, Œuvres à la rue : pratiques et discours émergents en art public. Published in collaboration with the Galerie de l'Université du Québec à Montréal and the Bureau d'art public de la Ville de Montréal, the book deals with theoretical and practical aspects of the role of art in Montreal public life. It addresses questions such as the role of public art in criticism of government, the role of festivals and parades in the dissemination of culture in the city, the notion of "city-museum" and the circulation of public works of art created following the adoption, by the Quebec government, of policies concerning artistic investment in new public buildings.

In addition to these scholarly works, the research team publishes texts in gallery catalogues and papers on public policy, in order to ensure the transfer of knowledge towards a public that is less exposed to university publications.


Équipe de recherche Média et vie urbaine à Montréal


William Straw, Université McGill

Regular members

  • Anouk Bélanger, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Jennifer Burman, Université McGill
  • James Cisneros, Université de Montréal
  • Jean-François Côté, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Annie Gérin, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Louis Jacob, Université du Québec à Montréal