Project as

Project as

CohStra (Lucia Babina, Emiliano Gandolfi, Gabriela Rendón and Miguel Robles-Durán)

Commissioned by

In collaboration with

Blackwood Gallery


Comfort Zones is a unique curatorial proposition. Strategically, it skips over the conventional presentation of an exhibition and replaces it with a year-long experimental research program designed to study the complexities and potentials of a university campus.
The first stage of Comfort Zones developed as a series of participatory workshops led by Lucia Babina and Miguel Robles-Durán at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus with students, staff, faculty, and community members. Through the lens of urban theory, the workshop included presentations on CohStra’s transdisciplinary approach to facilitating transformative social projects, physical explorations of public spaces on UTM campus, and roundtable discussions on how the potential for public engagement and collective use of these spaces can be re-examined and re-imagined.
The second stage of Comfort Zones took the form of four “behind-the-scenes” walking tours to trace the visible and invisible forces that have transformed the campus since its inception. The tours were led by a cross-section of UTM community members (faculty, students, and staff) who shared their professional knowledge and personal experiences of the campus, as well as their visions for its future. Each tour were followed by a mapping exercise facilitated by CohStra where participants reflected on the tour experience and collectively re-chart the campus through a congruency of personal and institutional narratives. The results of this group activity is compiled and translated into a single map.
Behind the Scenes is designed to explore the networks of social relations and the collective uses of space on campus and their combined potential for knowledge production and exchange.