Rendering a neighbourhood queer

A.L. Bain, W. Payne, J. Isen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper traces, and is the traces of, a collective project to render a neighbourhood queer. It is a project that emerges from queer social relations. Academic research and knowledge generation are approached collaboratively by working with queer-identified residents from west-central neighbourhoods in Toronto, Canada who volunteered with the Queer West ShOUT Youth Program. Within the context of two participant-facilitated discussion events, we discursively and artistically investigate queer world-making in the neighbourhood of West Queen West. Through collective mental mapping and photovoice renderings we interpret the queering of urban space as a queer utopian impulse. We critically examine the ‘concrete utopia’ of Queer West Village and question its resonance in the lives of ShOUT volunteers. Theoretically inspired by Muñoz, our ‘a/r/tographic’ mode of inquiry and critical praxis are a rendering of ‘queer futurity.’ We draw on our past to critique our lived present so as to imagine future potentialities. We do so in order to argue that it is vital that the queerness we individually and collectively strive for at the spatial scale of the neighbourhood, such as the process of place-making itself, is grounded in material experience yet remains provisional and an ideality that motivates us.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1080/14649365.2014.991750
Pages (from-to)424-443
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • queering neighbouhoods
  • queer utopia
  • queer futurity
  • community-based research
  • mental mapping
  • photovoice


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