About Dr. Sara Diamond

A Brief Biographical Note: Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University President

Dr. Sara Diamond is the President of OCAD University, Canada's university of the imagination. She holds a PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering from the University of East London, a Master’s in Digital Media theory from the University of the Arts London and an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in History and Communications from Simon Fraser University. She is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists, and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Digital Pioneer Award from the GRAND Networks of Centres of Excellence. She is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. In 2014, Toronto Life described her as one of “Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People.”

While retaining OCAD University's traditional strengths in art and design, Diamond has guided the university in becoming a leader in digital media, design research and curriculum through the Digital Futures Initiative, new research in inclusive design, health and design, and sustainable technologies and design. She also played a leading role in OCAD University's establishment of the unique Indigenous Visual Culture program. These initiatives have built strong partnerships for OCAD University with science, business and communities in Ontario and abroad. Currently, Diamond serves on the boards of Baycrest, ORION (Ontario's high-speed network), Women in Communications and Technology; and i-Canada; and is Chair of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto Advisory Committee. She has served the larger university community through: her membership on the Standing Advisory Committee on University Research (SACUR); as a current member of the Standing Advisory Committee on International Relations (SACIR) of the Association of Universities and Colleges; as Chair of the Standing Committee on Relationships with other Postsecondary Institutions for the Council of Ontario Universities (COU); and as a member of the COU executive. She was also a member of the 2011-2012 Council of the Canadian Academies' expert panel on the State of Science & Technology in Canada.

Diamond is a data visualization, wearable technology and mobile media researcher, artist, designer and scientist. A decade ago, she developed codezebra.net, a social media software and performance and responsive fashion environment. She is founding Chair of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (2007-2014) and was co-Chair of Mobile HCI (ACM) in 2014. She is co-principal investigator in the Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design, an OCAD U/York University initiative, and holds funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council and the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Diamond continues to write and lecture on the subjects of digital media history and practice, visual analytics, mobility and design strategy for peer-reviewed journals, and acts as a reviewer and evaluator for IEEE and ACM conferences and journals; SSHRC, CFI and the Canada Research Chair programs. Her artwork is held by prestigious collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, NYC and the National Gallery of Canada.

Diamond was Artistic Director of Media and Visual Art and Director of Research at the Banff Centre, where she created the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) in 1995 and led it until 2005. In this role, she assisted with the development, incubation and support of many of Canada's leading new media companies. Diamond created and was Editor-in-Chief of horizonzero.ca, an online showcase for new media art and design in collaboration with Heritage Canada and The Banff Centre. At the Banff Centre, she also created international think tanks and collaborations in ICT, digital media and science research with artists, designers and scientists from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Central and Western Europe and the U.S.A., as well as Canada. Her book (with Sarah Cook) Euphoria & Dystopia: The Banff New Media Dialogues, a history of the boom, bust and reset years of the first wave of digital media, is published by Banff Centre Press and Riverdale Architectural Press, University of Waterloo. She wrote Taking Ontario Mobile (with Vera Roberts), a study of the potential impacts of mobile technologies, networks and experiences for Ontario and Canada.

Dr. Sara Diamond's CV (PDF)