News

IICSI Announces Dr. Eric Fillion as its new Director

Dr. Fillion will work together with IICSI’s founder and current director, Dr. Ajay Heble, over the next two months to ensure a smooth transition and to get acquainted with the…

IF 2024: “Silence-Producing Machine”

Artists and scholars reflect on improvisation as a key resource for contemporary life during the colloquium and improvisation festival, “Silence-Producing Machine: Improvisation in and Beyond Music and the Arts” The…

Graphic for Live @ImprovLab: Susanna Hood Trio and Sarah Belle Reid. The poster features informative text over an orange background covered in polka dots and squiggles. Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 PM (ET) @ ImprovLab. Panel Discussion at &:30PM, Concert at 8PM

Live @ImprovLab

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) is thrilled to welcome the Susanna Hood Trio and Sarah Belle Reid for an inspiring evening of music and movement at ImprovLab, IICSI’s new state-of-the-art research and performance facility on the University of Guelph campus—“the best sounding room in Guelph” (Bry Webb). Tickets are $15 or PWYC and available online through IICSI’s Eventbrite page. While tickets will be made available at the door, attendees are encouraged to reserve tickets ahead of time.

Coloured text over an abstract black and white image: 2024-2025 postdoctoral fellowship, call for applications, Deadline, May 1, 2023. Acknowledgements are made to IICSI and SSHRC. Coloured text over an abstract black and white image: 2024-2025 postdoctoral fellowships, call for applications, Deadline, May 1, 2023. Acknowledgements are made to IICSI and SSHRC

Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2024 – 2025

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) invites applications for one (1) twelve-month residential postdoctoral fellowship position to be held at the University of Guelph. 

a colourful visual of a playing card with abstract shapes and designs

The Hand You Are Dealt: Improvising the Archive – IICSI Video Game Now Available to Play Online

In late 2022, IICSI approached Studio Oleomingus, a partner on their new SSHRC grant “Improvising Futures,” about creating a video game which showcases the last ten years of IICSI’s research findings. Enthusiastic and up for the task, Studio Oleomingus and IICSI set to work to determine the format, content, and technical specifications of the game, meeting monthly with an advisory committee to talk through ideas, troubleshoot potential issues, and narrow in on a delightful player experience. 

After almost a full year of collaboration, what emerges is a freeform digital toy: a collection of playing cards that contain within them a variety of media, including audio tracks, documentaries, short films, photographs, recorded performances, artwork, and more, from different research and creative outputs generated by IICSI and their network over the past decade. We proudly present to you, The Hand You Are Dealt: Improvising the Archive.

Graphic for IF 2023: Restless Imagination, Improvising the New Normal, featuring the artist lineup and sponsor images. Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith: A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke; Jesse Stewart & Douglas R. Ewart; Dancetheatre David Earle; Milo Tamez and Jerónimo Naranjo: Batería Suspendida; Marianne Trudel & John Hollenbeck: Dédé Java Espiritu; Endahl/Finley/Fraser/Robinson; Marshall Trammell & Truth Is...; Ed Sarath; Rhiannon: Swimming in the Vocal River; Judith Thompson & jashen edwards; Mali Obomsawin Quartet; with additional contributions from our partners: Sonic Arts Research Centre (Queen's University Belfast); the Guelph Comedy Festival; Audiopollination; LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore); Wavelength Music; Hillside Festival; UC Pogramming, University of Guelph; Upstream Music Association, and more. October 20-21. 24 hours.

IICSI Announces Lineup for IF 2023: 24-hour Festival of Improvised Arts

IF 2023 will feature world-renowned artists across all disciplines, including jazz legends Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith; acclaimed bassist/singer Mali Obomsawin performing with her quartet; visionary instrument builder and improvisational polymath Douglas R. Ewart with Juno award-winning percussionist Jesse Stewart; two-time Governor General’s award-winning playwright Judith Thompson with trumpeter jashen edwards; Guelph’s  spoken word artist Truth Is … performing in a world premiere context with drummer Marshall Trammell; Dancetheatre David Earle; pianist Marianne Trudel and percussionist John Hollenbeck; vocal improviser Rhiannon; and much more.

Graphic for IF 2023 Poster. Colourful lettering and an orange to blue gradient decorate the piece. IF 2023: Restless Imagination, Improvising the New Normal, October 20-21, 24 hours, ImprovLab, University of Guelph, Free.

IICSI Announces IF 2023: a 24-hour Festival of Improvised Arts

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at the University of Guelph is thrilled to announce the fourth annual edition of their 24-hour festival of improvised arts: IF 2023. Taking place October 21–22, 2023, this free festival will feature improvised performances in Guelph’s newest state-of-the-art performance space, ImprovLab, as well as arts events and installations in other venues across the University of Guelph campus and online through an all-night digital livestream. 

Event poster for the session IICSI's co-presentation at Hillside Festival 2023, taking place July 29, at 10:45 a.m. Headshots of the artists Will Butler, Owen Pallett, and Luna Lee are spotlighted left to right. The poster features images and texts advertizing the event sponsors.

IICSI Co-Presents Will Butler, Owen Pallett, and Luna Li at Hillside Festival 2023

IICSI is thrilled to announce our co-presentation of Will Butler, Owen Pallett, and Luna Li at Hillside Festival 2023—Saturday, July 29, at 10:45 a.m. The idea is that the three…

A group of people on a street corner following a procession of musicians on a summer day.

Summer Music Festivals Do More Than Entertain …

On July 13, 2023, Ajay Heble and Eric Fillion co-authored a piece in The Conversation about the social benefit of summer music festivals and wonder if they can impact actual changes in people’s behaviours, government policies and global institutions.

Colourful poster featuring an illustration of a sun, rock, and the ocean. Large font reads, "Musical Improvisation at Land's End presents: two concerts, July 16th and 21st in Gaspé."

Free Public Concerts at the Corner of the Beach Cultural Museum in Gaspésie

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI), a partnered research institute centred at the University of Guelph, presents another series of public concerts and events as part of its bilingual musical improvisation camp in the Gaspésie called Musical Improvisation at Land’s End (MILE) / Coin-du-Banc en folie.