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The Urban Night is the website of an interdisciplinary, inter-university research project concerned with the nocturnal life of cities.  This project was supported in its initial phases by an Insight Development Grant  from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  It is currently an activity of the James McGill Professorship in Urban Media Studies at McGill University, held by Will Straw, professor in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies at McGill University.  The members of the original SSHRC Insight Development Grant team were Kathryn Yuen, Michael Darroch, Janine Marchessault, Anouk Bélanger and Tina Piper.

The launch of this project was inspired by two relatively recent developments. One is the emergence of the night as a  focus of rich scholarship by historians, sociologists, anthropologists, art historians and others over the past two decades.  Another development has been a range of interventions which have sought to rethink the status of the urban night within economic, governmental and cultural discourse.  Governments at all levels across the world have commissioned studies on night-time culture and night-time economies over the last two decades.  Initiatives like Nuits blanches,  which challenge the normal time-sequencing of cultural events, have proliferated.  Citizens, activists and cultural creators have assembled to reflect upon the status of night in their communities.

While this project is rooted initially in Canada, we engage regularly in collaboration with scholars and networks based in other countries.

We acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, the McGill’s Arts Undergraduate Research Internship Award program, and the James McGill Professor program, all of which have supported this site and the research on which it rests.  We acknowledge, as well, the important work of Joseph Henry in setting up and designing this site and the research assistance of Kathryn Yuen.

Will Straw

For more information on “The Urban Night”, please contact Will Straw at william.straw@mcgill.ca. 

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