Bring Down The Walls: Migrant Rights

Free admission, limited places
Date and time
Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 1 PM to 6 PM

As part of the Phil Collins exhibition, the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art presents four events within the framework of the installation Bring Down The Walls. The public is invited to take part in "school day" informative sessions and workshops on prison abolition, followed by "club nights" organized by Montreal-based and international music collectives.

Our third School Day will address migrant incarceration in Canada and the construction of a new immigration detention centre in Laval. Gabriella Den Elzen will present a research project that studies the architecture of the immigration detention centre in Laval.

1 PM – Introduction
1:15 PM – Stephanie J.  Silverman
2:15 PM – To be confirmed
3 PM – Break
3:30 PM – Stefan Christoff
4:30 PM – Gabriella den Elzen
5:30 PM – Group Discussion

About Bring Down The Walls
Organised in May 2018 in New York City by artist Phil Collins, Creative Time, The Fortune Society, and over 100 collaborators, Bring Down The Walls was a three-part public art project which turned an unconventional lens on the prison industrial complex through house music and nightlife.

Originating as a public art project, Bring Down The Walls consisted of a communal space that functioned as an open school by day and dance club by night, as well as a benefit album of classic house tracks re-recorded by formerly incarcerated vocalists and electronic musicians. For the exhibition at the Phi Foundation, Collins proposes Bring Down The Walls (2019), an installation version of this project reconfigured specifically for the Montréal context and the space at 465 Saint-Jean Street, with corresponding public programming that will build on the discussions and relationships that began in New York.

Bring Down The Walls Montreal Schedule
November 9, 2019
December 7, 2019
School Days: 1 PM to 6 PM
Club Nights: 11 PM to 6 AM

February 8, 2020
March 7, 2020
School Days: 1 PM to 6 PM
Club Nights: 9:30 PM to 3:30 AM


Stephanie J. Silverman
Dr. Stephanie J. Silverman is a detention, immigration, and asylum researcher living in Toronto. A research associate at the Centre for Refugee Studies, she is also a founding partner at Thinking Forward, a human rights consultancy. Until May 2019, Stephanie was a faculty member at Trinity College and, in 2018, completed her tenure as the national Bora Laskin Fellow in Human Rights Research. Stephanie earned a DPhil in Politics and International Relations from the University of Oxford in 2013, and also holds degrees from the University of Toronto and York University. In addition to her book Immigration Detention: The Migration of a Policy and Its Human Impact (Routledge, 2015, 2017), Stephanie has published more than 45 contributions to peer-reviewed journals, scholarly and government reports, book chapters, working papers, and articles in the popular press. McGill-Queen’s University Press will publish her new book, The Detention Estate, in fall 2021.

Gabriella den Elzen
Gabriella den Elzen is an architectural designer and artist based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Working predominantly in modes of architectural representation such as drawing and model making, she explores the role of architecture in relation to justice. Her current work centres on the use of visual representation as a method for unveiling the punitive nature of migrant detention facilities. Gabriella holds a BAS from the University of Waterloo and a MArch from McGill University. While completing her graduate thesis, she was supervised by Ipek Türeli, the Canada Research Chair in Architectures of Spatial Justice.

Stefan Spirodon Christoff
Stefan Spirodon Christoff is a media maker, community activist, and artist living in Montreal. As a media worker, Stefan has collaborated with media institutions around the world including the Pacifica Radio Network, Al Jazeera, and Democracy Now! He hosts the program Free City Radio every Wednesday at 11 AM on CKUT 90.3 FM. Stefan makes music and has contributed to various documentary and creative films, including works by Puck Lo, Jesse Freeston, and Samer Najari. He has released multiple albums, including duets with the composer Sam Shalabi, and has an album coming out in 2020 with Seattle-based cellist Lori Goldston. As an activist, Stefan organizes locally on various issues, including migrant justice struggles and on confronting unconstitutional aspects of “anti-terrorism” legislation post-9/11. He has also organized locally and internationally as part of the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of Palestinian human rights, working in direct coordination with the BDS national council in occupied Palestine. Locally, Stefan regularly organizes cultural events, involving music, film, and poetry, through Howl! Arts. You can find Stefan at

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