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Toronto / Montréal / Lille conferences - History behind the biennials


This series of conferences and artistic exchanges, initiated by Pierre Tremblay and Don Snyder of Ryerson University, came out of several brainstorming sessions that began as early as 2001. The act of connecting and collaborating across geographical space and through virtual space was the focus for the biennials. Louise Poissant from the University of Quebec in Montreal became our partner in 2002. The first biennial at Ryerson University was called Quebec/Ontario: New Forms/New Works in 2003. The second biennial in 2006 was Toronto/Montreal: The Proliferation of Screens (2006), held in Montreal.


The project had wind in its sails from its inception, and we quickly discovered that there was much interest, goodwill and curiosity about the prospect of creating an opportunity for cultural exchange. The conferences featured presentations by specialists, academics, and artists from varied backgrounds in the arts and sciences.


For its third edition in 2008, the biennial associated itself with le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains (Lille) in France, thanks to its Director, Alain Fleischer. This addition contributed an international perspective and the conference became known as Toronto/Montreal/Lille. Together Elsewhere, as the 2008 biennial was titled, was held at Ryerson University. The partnership that Ryerson and UQAM have with le Fresnoy comes out of close to 10 years of dialogue, collaboration and exchange, including four visiting artist programs with Ryerson.

The three most recent biennial conferences were on the theme of light:

- Lille/Montreal/Toronto: LUMIERES DES LUMIERE (in France), 2011;

- Toronto/Montreal/Lille: LUMIERES DE LA VILLE (in Montreal), 2013; and

- Toronto/Montreal/Lille: THE INVENTIONS OF LIGHT in Toronto, 2016.

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