Milieux is an institute for research-creation at the intersection of the fine arts, digital culture and information technology. It is a platform for creative experimentation, interdisciplinary training and progressive imagination in the middle of Concordia University in downtown Montreal. At Milieux we examine, co-create and share ideas, technological prototypes, experiences and practices that challenge assumptions about what is possible to be, to do and to imagine in a rapidly changing digital world. Our main focus is on creative and critical articulations of new technologies and the production of tangible, playable and accessible research that can be useful to generate new meaning and inform participation, engagement and innovation across culture, economy and civil society. Milieux breaks down barriers that have separated researchers, designers and artists in the university to work with communities, industry and the cultural sector to explore new solutions to pressing problems through core research on the interaction between people, technologies and culture.
In 2001, Hexagram Institute, a non-profit organization, received significant support from Valorisation-Recherche-Québec (VRQ) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). This investment allowed for the creation of a research technology infrastructure and a platform for new media arts at Concordia and UQAM, in partnership with l’Université de Montréal. Over the years, the researchers and students working at Hexagram-Concordia gained an International reputation for cutting edge work in Interactive Textiles, Performance and Immersion, Indigenous New Media, Image arts and more. From 2010 and onwards, these strengths were enhanced and expanded by new initiatives in Game Studies and Design, Media History and Differential Mobilities. The infrastructure and networks built over many years had created a constellation of highly successful labs, studios and research groups but the need for a new mandate at Concordia in the context of our networks in Quebec and around the world became clear. In 2015, with more students and researchers from more departments converging on a common set of collaborative interests and ambitions across the digital arts, culture and technology, a new organizational model was created. The Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University officially launched in March 2016. The rest will be history… Eventually.