We, Liz Miller, and MJ Thompson, initiated WasteScapes with a field course entitled “WasteScapes” (2020). The course was a response to an open call at Concordia University in Montreal to teach an inter-disciplinary course in response to a “wicked problem.” With environmental justice as a key critical lens, we proposed to explore the many scales of waste from individual to institutional, from local to global, and to consider the role of policy and governance in addressing the complex and inevitable place of waste in our lives. Our initial idea was to lead a cycling tour through our city of Montreal that would stop at waste sites, and would combine our passion for embodied pedagogy and discard studies. While COVID forced us to re-structure the course from a group tour to individual tours– cycling remained core to our mission. The following year we taught a variation of the course with an emphasis on writing in place, “Place Under Pressure” (2021). We then developed the WasteScapes App to be able to work with other Montreal educators. Creative media technologist and professor Kim Grinfeder generously invited us to re-skin his code from his walking tour in Miami, “Know Your Grove.”
The 41 sites and six tours that make up the WasteScapes App were developed with the talent and support of many graduate and undergraduate students at Concordia.
Miller, Elizabeth, & Zimmerman, Patricia R. (2022, August 25). How Augmented Documentary Illuminates the Politics of Place. The Edge.
Miller, Elizabeth, & Thompson. (2020, October 28). Seeing Double, Biking Upstream. Heliotrope.
Miller, Elizabeth. (2022). WasteScapes: Using Locative Media to Augment Waste Pedagogies in Place. Spectator, 42(2).
Elizabeth (Liz) Miller is a professor at Concordia University (Montreal) and a documentary maker with an expertise in environmental media. She uses collaboration and interactivity as a way to connect personal stories to larger social issues such as water privatization, gender & climate change. She is the co-author of Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice (2017 website.)
MJ Thompson (PhD., New York University 2008) is a writer and professor working on performance and embodiment. Her articles have appeared in Ballettanz, Border Crossings, The Brooklyn Rail, Canadian Art, Dance Current, The Globe and Mail, and more. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies, including Performance Studies Canada (McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017).
WasteScapes was created by students and faculty at Concordia University in Tioh:tiáke/ Montréal with additional support from a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Connection Grant