Janine Marchessault – 2024 Killam Prize


York University

 Janine Marchessault is a Tier One Research Chair in Media Arts and Community Engagement at York University and is one of Canada’s leading media and art activism scholars, specializing in community-based and site-specific public art exhibitions, research-creation and public outreach.

Marchessault is a recognized leader in fields of cinema studies, communications studies and contemporary art. Her projects impact how we think about and do the work of moving image heritage, promoting scholarship as well as producing active and engaged citizens.

Marchessault’s sustained focus on the power of the imagination to create better worlds for all beings serves as a model of what the academy and its scholars can aspire to achieve. Her groundbreaking research, writing and curatorial practices revolve around a materialist approach to history. Marchessault’s scholarship focuses on critical pedagogy, audio-visual archives, and new forms of public engagement through experimentation with public screens.

Marchessault is the Principal Investigator (PI) for Archive/Counter-Archive: Activating Moving Image Heritage (2018-2025 SSHRC Partnership Grant), an initiative that addresses the crisis facing Canada’s moving image heritage. This project focuses special attention on BIPOC, women, LGBT2Q+ and immigrant communities whose audio-visual materials are most at risk of disappearing. Her research explores the afterlife of moving image archives as art forms and new forms of historical knowledge.

Marchessault is a remarkably prolific and dynamic researcher, curator, collaborator, and teacher. At a time when our public, shared world is so fragile, citizen-scholars like Marchessault inspire us to invest our intellectual, creative, and material resources in the thoroughly democratizing work of active learning, bridge building, and sustainable dreaming.


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