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Initiatives fondation



New ways of engaging with the art community

Members from the PHI Foundation team lead a number of different long-term initiatives, special projects, and research projects, that are linked to the exhibition program. This section highlights these projects and will keep you informed on their development.


The Aura

Launched in 2020, The Aura is a podcast series that takes the listener inside and outside the work of art in discussion with those who create, curate, write, think about, and enjoy contemporary art.

In each episode, PHI Foundation curator and managing director Cheryl Sim speaks one-on-one with internationally celebrated artists and personalities to explore the work of art as an expression of the questions and preoccupations that inhabit the mind and soul. Through the sharing of stories, thoughts and impressions, The Aura opens up a discussion on the practice of art and life to underscore how artists of our time speak to the questions, concerns and subjects that reflect and touch our everyday lives.


Michaëlle Sergile: May 10, 2023
Manuel Mathieu: May 17, 2023
Moridja Kitenge Banza: May 24, 2023
Shanie Tomassini: May 31, 2023
Helena Martin Franco: June 7, 2023
Vahmirè (Ludmila Steckelberg): June 14, 2023

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Platform is an initiative created and driven jointly by the PHI Foundation’s education, curatorial and Visitor Experience teams. Through varied research, creation and mediation activities in which they are invited to explore their own voices and interests, Platform fosters exchanges while acknowledging the Visitor Experience team members’ expertise.

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Experimenting Interpretation: Gestures, Movements, Dialogue

Experimenting Interpretation: Gestures, Movements, Dialogue is a research project that Pohanna Pyne Feinberg, artist, educator and professor at Dawson College, and Marie-Hélène Lemaire, head of education at the PHI Foundation, co-led in the exhibition Jasmina Cibic: Everything That You Desire and Nothing That You Fear (2018-2019). In the spirit of accessibility and service, this project aimed at multiplying the possible approaches that participants can employ when interpreting artworks during a group visit by experimenting with sensory learning, gestures and movements.

→ Read:
Experimenting Interpretation: Methods for Developing and Guiding a “Vibrant Visit” (Journal of Museum Education, Volume 46, No. 3, September 2, 2021)

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Initially conceived in conjunction with the exhibition Lee Bae: UNION, the public engagement project Incandescences invited four artists who work in the fields of mediation or education to reactivate the Foundation’s archives through their research, proposing interventions that allow us to imagine other deployments of our past activities. These projects inspired a micro-publication that invites the public to reactivate their own archives through creative gestures.

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Contemporary Signing

Contemporary Signing is an educational programming project that began in 2022 for people from the Deaf and hard of hearing communities. The pilot project, initiated and led by educator Amanda Beattie, involved a guided visit in American Sign Language (ASL), an art workshop conceived by Deaf artist Pamela Witcher, and a celebration of the participants’ artworks at the PHI Foundation. The wonderful team at Seeing Voices Montreal were our partners for this pilot project. PHI Foundation staff members also embarked on learning some basic ASL, with the intention of following up with classes in Québec Sign Language as well (LSQ) in the Fall of 2023.

Read on Antenna:
Making Art Accessible: A Case Study with Contemporary Signing: The Language of Art
• Sharing a dot of love with Pamela Witcher

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PGLO Collaboration

The year 2020 marked the beginning of a collaboration between the Education Department of the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art and the Paul Gérin-Lajoie High School in Outremont in order to offer a long term arts project to recently immigrated young students in preparatory classes. This collaboration has taken the form of exhibition visits, virtual animations, as well as projects in theatre and French, where powerful works have been created by the students. Over the past two years, we have established a relationship of sharing culture, with the aim to diversify what an arts education can offer to young people learning the French language.

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Photo: Emily Gan

School at the Museum

During the 2022-2023 school year, we welcomed two classes from the alternative school le Vitrail to participate in the School at the Museum project in collaboration with the GREM (Groupe de recherche sur l’éducation et les musées). During the exhibitions Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP THE UNIVERSE and Terms of Use, the Fondation welcomed classes from le Vitrail to a series of repeated visits to the exhibition to explore in further depth the themes of the exhibitions as well as the role of the museum as a site of creative pedagogical potential.