About VESPA

Presentation of VESPA

VESPA was founded in 2006 with the financial support of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Presentation of VESPA 

VESPA is… an international and multimedia exploration of mobility, of discourses on fear and insecurity, of emotional responses to the city, and of political processes. 

VESPA is… where the work for the Canada Research Chair in Urbanity, Insecurity, and Political Action

The trailer :

For an Epistemology of Urbanity

Contemporary processes of urbanization are characterized both by powerful global interdependencies and by overwhelming sensory stimuli, often channelled through multimedia technologies. VESPA seeks to reproduce these two defining elements of urbanity in its methodology by : (1) creating international networks for comparative research ; and (2) utilising multimedia for ethnographic purposes. The VESPA research team thereby contributes to the development of an “epistemology of urbanity”.

The current state of intensified and accelerated global urbanisation compels VESPA to ask questions about the impact of this conjuncture on political processes and the production of knowledge. Namely, how do such profound lifestyle changes affect the way societies manage conflicts, distribute decision-making power, and organise daily life ? In an attempt to answer these questions, VESPA has singled out three types of repercussions that urbanization has on socio-political relations : (1) the structural remodelling of political institutions ; (2) the emergence of a new logic of political action ; and (3) the diffusion of new worldviews, which are brought about by changes in human relations to time, space, security, and sensory stimulation.

Accordingly, VESPA centres its research projects on two primary characteristics of urbanization – the intensiveness of urban mobility and the emotional overload of life in the city and thereby requires that its researchers be equally mobile and sensitive to the urban experience. It is for this reason that VESPA puts forth innovative instruments and methods for data collection, which interdependently capture the essence of real-time movement and feelings. The use of these tools for data collection and processing offers researchers new perspectives and opportunities to ask questions differently and to appreciate major social challenges under a new light – thus facilitating the search for new solutions. Ultimately, at the heart of VESPA’s approach is an international comparative strategy, focused more specifically on North-South relations, and based on a dialogue and networking of researchers across the world. 

Resources and Approaches

The VESPA research laboratory is a multimedia space equipped with the software and equipment necessary for collecting, processing, archiving, networking and diffusing multifarious data (photographic, video, audio, etc.). With these assets, VESPA aspires to be a creative crossroad for qualitative and comparative research methods. VESPA invites you to explore its multiple research projects through the Photo Bank found within this Website.

Beyond its research facilities, VESPA offers activities such as seminars, workshops and conferences on multimedia research methods and diverse research topics. VESPA also organizes major events such as the international colloquium on fear, political mobilisation, and cities that took place in April 2007 (Atelier international sur la peur, la ville et la mobilisation politique).

Moreover, VESPA proposes research projects that are distinguished by their social relevance and methodological originality and rigour based on multimedia and networking tools. Indeed, VESPA recognizes the growing importance of audio-visual, spatial and sensory technologies in qualitative research (data collection, analysis and processing) – yet still retains a strong sense of responsibility with regard to the ethical issues raised by such research methods.

VESPA in 360 News


04.2012 | 2009 | Ongoing Projects

Appréhensions et opportunités face à la mobilité des jeunes. Le cas montréalais

Espoir, rue St-Denis, Montréal

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04.2012 | Epistemological reflections

Presentation of VESPA. For an Epistemology of Urbanity

Pour une épistémologie de l’urbanité, Tokyo

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03.2013 | Publications en ligne [WWW]

Nathalie Boucher co-écrit : " 100, Somerville"

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