Deconstructing prejudice and stigma with the exhibition (IN)VISIBLE: Design through the Prism of Homelessness, presented at the UQAM Design Centre


Dates: May 23 to June 16, 2024
Opening night: May 22 at 6 pm
Curator: Collectif Architecture + Itinérance

May 9, 2024 ─ The housing crisis in several cities in Quebec and other Canadian provinces, in the United States and elsewhere in the world, remains one of the triggers that accentuates homelessness, an increasingly visible phenomenon.

Often invisibilized by urban strategies such as hostile design or the dismantling of urban camps, homelessness will be at the heart of the exhibition (IN)VISIBLE: Design through the Prism of Homelessness, presented by the UQAM Design Centre, in collaboration with Architecture Without Borders Quebec (ASFQ), professor Carolyne Grimard of the École de travail social at the Université de Montréal, and with the participation, among others, of Anne-Marie Broudehoux, professor at the École de design at UQAM.

a+i , l’Anonyme and the participants of the 2024 homeless night, HEL-P (2023) Photo credit : Elizabeth Prince

The exhibition is the result of research conducted over two years in collaboration with community organizations and people who have experienced homelessness.

(IN)VISIBLE: Design through the Prism of Homelessness proposes a reflection on how to make visible the spatial claims of homeless people without harming them. This takes shape by borrowing several tools from the fields of design: critical mapping, photovoice, a visual method that uses photography as a voice, participatory design and critical design. These tools draw on various types of experiential, artistic, practical and expert knowledge.

The exhibition

The exhibition presents works created by artists and researchers, with or without experience of homelessness, that offer a new perspective — human, political, militant — on the phenomenon of homelessness.

Sarah Ross, Archisuits (2005)

Among the creations are an Archisuits by American artist Sarah Ross, designed to enable people to be comfortable on hostile urban structures, thanks to its foams that follow the forms of the furniture. The artist uses both photography and installation to assert rights and raise public awareness of homelessness.

Documentary photographs from the Assez d’espace à l’intérieur series will also be added by Quebec artist Kassandra Reynolds, who spent several months in the Notre-Dame camp in 2020.

Natalia Martini, Gosia Spasiewicz-Bulas, Fundacja ZUPA, ŻyWa Pracownia, Kraków Bezdomny

Several works created during the research in collaboration with people who have experienced housing precariousness will also be presented. 

Photographs and urban stories of research partners who have experienced housing insecurity will be exhibited, as well as models made by members of the collective Dehors de dehors representing desired development projects.     

Finally, a critical mapping produced through a collaboration of the collective a+i, the organization l’Anonyme and people participating in the Nuit des sans-abri 2024 will be displayed.

An international design workshop integrated into the exhibition

Professor Anne-Marie Broudehoux at the École de design at UQAM has been involved in the exhibition project (IN)VISIBLE: Design through the Prism of Homelessness since its inception in 2021. For the occasion, she is organizing an international design workshop with American artist Sarah Ross from May 11 to 18, 2024. Twenty-five third-year students from UQAM’s bachelor’s program in Environmental Design will travel around the city to carry out works that will be incorporated into the exhibition.

Works created by:

The Dehors de dehors collective is made up of several committed members with experiential knowledge in homelessness and collaborative research. Artifacts produced during a creative process with homeless people are at the heart of the exhibition’s production. Originally, the collective was formed by the F.A.C.E (Force. Action. Changement. Équité) research team of the Université de Sherbrooke, a research by/for/with the people who live on the street, co-constructed with researcher Caroline Leblanc. 

Alison Grittner is a professor of social work at Cape Breton University, a field she pursued after studying architecture. She participated in a pan-Canadian research (Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal) on the elements that promote or hinder the ability of homeless or insecure seniors to “age in the right place”. Several of the photos from this research will be part of the exhibition.

Caroline Leblanc is currently completing her PhD in Community Health at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Université de Sherbrooke. She is a member of the Scholars with Lived Experience (LivEx) – Making the Shift (MtS) Steering Committee, a network that works in the areas of mentoring, training and peer-to-peer learning for people who have experienced housing exclusion (LivEx). She is a research advisor at Architecture Sans Frontières Québec (ASFQ) and offers added value in guiding and supporting a participatory research approach.

The #OnNeLaissePersonneDerrière (ONLPD) Collective, made up of community actors and actresses, is mobilizing to support people living in camps. A photovoice approach of the ONLPD, in collaboration with Élizabeth Prince of the a+i collective, is presented in the exhibition. 

Natalia Martini obtained her PhD at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. She is a researcher at the Georg Simmel Centre for Metropolitan Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin and is closely interested in urban everyday life and creative methodological approaches to study its diverse spatialities and temporalities. Her work intersects sociology and human geography and emphasizes an activist approach to research. Her ethnographic work Kraków bezdomny will be part of the exhibition.

Marie-Hélène Mathieu is a social worker and a master’s student in social work at the Université de Montréal. As part of her internship, she collaborates with Architecture Without Borders Québec (ASFQ) where she participated in the establishment of a community of practice on the inclusion of people with experiential knowledge in development processes and projects. With Véronic Lapalme of the a+i collective, she created the artefact Porter des regards féminins sur la ville de nos rêves with participants of the Auberge Madeleine.

Mossy Society & Comm-Un is a collective of artists and activists seeking the participation of indigenous communities and cultural minorities in their projects. Comm-Un is an organization based in Milton Parc involved in efforts to support people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, mediation and caring cohabitation. The exhibition includes a reinterpretation of a banner that was installed in Milton-Parc in 2022 to challenge the construction of fences with the message “Too many walls. Not enough homes.”

Passionate about ethnography, storytelling, social mobilization and teaching, Karoline Truchon leads three projects as Associate Professor of Communication – Digital Media and New Technologies – in the Department of Social Sciences at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, Co-initiator and Scientific Director of Amplifier_les_voix in Montreal and SSHRC-funded emerging researcher in New York. She participated in the creation of the interactive work entitled Conversation de rue with Sonia Blank and Olivia Daigneault Deschênes. 

Sarah Ross is an American artist and assistant professor of art education at the School of the Chicago Art Institute, whose work focuses on spatial policies of social control, particularly in public spaces and in places of incarceration. Since 2011, she has also worked closely with local artists, activists, lawyers, survivors of Chicago police torture. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Copenhagen, and Rio de Janeiro.

Kassandra Reynolds graduated in photography from Cégep de Matane. She specializes in documentary photography, a practice often aimed at highlighting certain social issues. Solitude, resilience and the question of identity are some of the themes that she exploits, and with which she wishes to foster the emergence of a new perspective on others and ourselves. The artist has presented her work in several solo and group exhibitions in Quebec and Europe. 


Collective architecture + homelessness

The a+i Collective was created in 2021 from a collaboration between the urban solidarity program of Architecture Without Borders and the professor of social work Carolyne Grimard of the Université de Montréal. The collective’s activities focus on the links between the development and the well-being of homeless people in the city. The group has already published the catalogue Architecture + Itinérance: pratiques inclusives pour une ville solidaire (2023), several development projects in collaboration with local community organizations and continues its research in the field. The team is composed of Sonia Blank, architect and researcher – Urban Solidarité urbaine at Architecture Without Borders (ASFQ), Olivia Daigneault Deschênes architect at ASFQ, Carolyne Grimard, professor at the École de travail social at the Université de Montréal, Maira Gonzalez, designer and project manager – Urban Solidarity at ASFQ, Véronic Lapalme, PhD candidate in social work at the Université de Montréal, lecturer and research collaborator at ASFQ, Élizabeth Prince, research associate at ASFQ and Sarahlou Wagner-Lapierre, research associate at ASFQ and PhD student in philosophy at the Université de Montréal.


Study day

(IN)VISIBLE: Design through the Prism of Homelessness 

The aim of this conference is to establish an interdisciplinary reflection on the potential of architectural and visual methods (models, maps, drawings, photographs, urban installations, mapped audiovisual portraits) to make visible issues related to urban homelessness without making homeless people even more precarious. It is also about seeing homelessness as a different, but legitimate, way of living in the city.

Date: May 23, 2024
Time:  9:30 am to 4:00 pm
Location: UQAM Design Centre


Organized by the Collectif architecture + itinérance under the direction of Carolyne Grimard in collaboration with Architecture Without Borders – Québec


Exhibition in the hall of the UQAM School of Design

Create proximity

Professor Thomas-Bernard Kenniff, co-founder of the Bureau d’étude de pratiques indisciplinées (BéPI), in collaboration with undergraduate and graduate students in environmental design, presents the exhibition Aménagement la proximité. It will consist of the results of a research-design project on the development of city halls and municipal courts in the regional context. The exhibition presents a reflection on proximity through the analysis of forty cities through drawings and photographs at the scale of the building, the urban core and the municipality. 

Dates: May 21 to June 21, 2024
Schedule: Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 11 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm
Location: Hall of the UQAM School of Design

Free admission

Link to the exhibition website and the program of the study day.

A study day is also organized as part of this exhibition. Twenty-two people from research, creation, professional and municipal sectors will participate in four round tables on the role of design in the production of a public space close to home. 

Date: May 21 
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Location: Design Pavilion, 1440 Sanguinet Street

The event is open to the public upon registration.

The project received financial support from SSHRC, the VRM network and LEAP, and logistical support from the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ).

Address and opening hours

UQAM Design Centre

1440 Sanguinet Street


Metro Berri-UQAM

Wednesday – Sunday, 12 pm – 6 pm

Free admission

Guided tours of the exhibitions for groups

Available upon request

Reservations required at


Tel: 514-987-3395

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Source :
Julie Meunier
Communication Officer
Press Relations and Special Events Division
Communications Service
Tel.: 514 987-3000, ext. 1707
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