Date: March 1 – 31, 2017
Partner: Campbell House
Venue: Campbell House Museum – map
Project Members: Emily Berg, India Burchell, and Jane Campbell
Look Both Ways: Life at Queen & University brought together public space theory and urban aesthetics to prompt visitors to take a second look and notice their city. This exhibit uncovered a vibrant past and offered a contemporary perspective through Sam Javanrouh’s new photographs of the intersection. Look Both Ways presented histories of contended space, compelling archival photos, and new perspectives on a familiar intersection. An interactive window station encouraged mindfulness and curiosity. Look Both Ways invited visitors to rethink the spaces they move through, and explore the layered history of Toronto’s iconic intersection of Queen Street and University Avenue.
Look Both Ways was created for the engaged urban citizen – the exhibition’s exploration of urban history and mindful practice speaks to the imagination of contemporary Torontonians. Toronto boasts an engaged and active base of urban-minded citizens, with whom we connected to. Persons interested in street photography were also included in our intended audience, with the inclusion of photographer Sam Javanrouh’s original works.
Look Both Ways was held at the iconic Campbell House Museum, looking out from the house’s second-floor ballroom at the very intersection the exhibition explored. Campbell House is located on the northwest corner of the Queen and University Avenue intersection in downtown Toronto.
Look Both Ways was sponsored by The Myseum of Toronto as part of the 2017 Intersections Festival, Campbell House Museum (with support from the City of Toronto, The Advocates’ Society, and Farrow & Ball), and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Additional funds were also secured from a private donor. Two stereographic prints were loaned from the private collection of Robert G. Wilson.
Planning Look Both Ways began in September 2016 and finished in April 2017. Over these seven months, the curatorial team developed the exhibition from the initial grant proposal as written by Liz Driver, Director/ Curator of Campbell House Museum, for the Myseum of Toronto’s Intersections Festival. Planning the exhibition scope spanned from September to November 2016. Content development and exhibition design took place from December 2016 to the end of January 2017. Printing and installation were executed in February, with the soft opening on March 1, 2017. On March 11th, the opening reception for Look Both Ways was held in the exhibition space, with close to 100 visitors in attendance. The exhibition closed on March 31, 2017.
Look Both Ways featured seven didactic panels, archival images, original photographic works by Sam Javanrouh, and an interactive binocular station and post-it note wall. Panels were organized into the following themes: the privatization of University Avenue, parades and protests at the intersection, the aesthetic history of the intersection, the history of street photography in Toronto, and urban mindfulness.
Given the exhibition’s intended audience of active urban citizens, Look Both Ways was primarily marketed through an ad placed on Spacing.ca. Spacing Magazine’s blog network covers Canadian urbanism issues and sees over 20,000 visitors a day. Marketing was also secured through the Myseum Intersections general publicity for the festival, as well as through the Campbell House and curatorial team’s professional contacts. A press release was distributed to all major news media outlets in the Greater Toronto Area. Social media outreach included a Facebook event page as well as a cross-promotion with artist Sam Javanrouh’s personal Instagram account. Eventbrite was used to advertise and register guests for the opening event.
Look Both Ways: Life at Queen & University saw a total of 612 visitors, with 93 in attendance at the opening reception, and 519 visitors over the month of March. On its last day, over 65 people visited the exhibition. Visitor feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and participation in the exhibition’s interactive post-it note wall demonstrated genuine engagement. Campbell House staff were able to collect verbal feedback, all of which confirmed visitor enjoyment and connection with the exhibition’s broader themes of urbanism, mindfulness, and Toronto history. One visitor commented that their understanding of the city intersection has been forever changed and rendered more meaningful.
The curatorial team behind Look Both Ways would like to thank all of our sponsors, particularly Liz Driver – Director/ Curator of Campbell House Museum, the Myseum of Toronto, Matthew Brower – Assistant Professor and Director of Museum Studies, and Rebecca Noone and Hillary Walker Gugan – Teacher’s Assistants. Special thanks to Sam Javanrouh – photographer, and Loren Aytona – graphic designer.