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.

colourful image with white outlined drawings of figures, objects, and cartoon designs. White text reads, super her0 0pera.

University of Guelph Students Put the O in Opera

asuperher00pera is an original, improvisation-based opera created in collaboration with Upper Grand District School Board elementary students and presented by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.

Ajay Heble

Dr. Ajay Heble wins the 2023 Killam Prize

Our Director, Dr. Ajay Heble, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Killam Prize for his work as a “globally renowned scholar, visionary arts leader and innovative community builder”.

A black graphic with green, blue, and orange writing on an abstract black background. 2023 postdoctoral fellowships. call for applications. deadline May 1, 2023.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2023 – 2024

The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) invites applications for two (2) twelve-month residential postdoctoral fellowship positions to be held at the University of Guelph. One of the fellowships is co-hosted by the Guelph Institute for Environmental Research (GIER). 

Apply Now: MA / PhD in Critical Studies in Improvisation

Come research—and practice—arts-based community-making with us in the Fall of 2023! IICSI offers interdisciplinary MA and PhD programs in the field of Critical Studies in Improvisation at the University of…