International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation | College of Arts

International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation

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The International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) ( is a partnered research institute, funded through an SSHRC partnership grant and hosted at the University of Guelph, that investigates how improvisation can improve life. IICSI’s mandate is to create positive social change through innovative scholarship, impactful arts events, and community-oriented activities. Our Institute works with scholars, students, creative practitioners, and community partners to practise and study improvisation as a model for social change. This research has resulted in the development of new technologies for making sound; large-scale celebratory community gatherings; numerous publications, including hundreds of articles published through our Institute’s peer-reviewed journal; workshops for youth; artist talks; and academic conferences. Currently, the Institute is developing ImprovLab (, a cutting-edge, AODA-compliant, performance and research facility scheduled to officially launch in Fall 2023.

The project team for the Institute includes 75+ researchers and 65+ community partners around the globe, as well as several Student Research Assistants and core staff members. The Institute has key sites at the University of Guelph, McGill University, Memorial University, University of Regina, Carleton University, the University of British Columbia, Queen’s University Belfast (N. Ireland), and 17, Institute of Critical Studies (Mexico).

The University of Guelph offers a Ph.D. program  ( in Critical Studies in Improvisation, borne from years of award-winning, arts-based research and training by the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. Through study and experiential learning opportunities, students will gain broadly applicable practical skills in research and project development, management and implementation, leadership, and collaboration.


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For more about the Institute and a full list of partners, please visit the IICSI website at