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 Masters in Digital Media theory from the University of Arts  London and Honours Bachelors 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. 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, as well as in sustainable technologies and design. She also played a leading role in OCAD University's establishment of the unique Aboriginal Visual Culture Program. These initiatives have built strong partnerships for OCAD University with science, business and communities, in Ontario and abroad. Currently, she serves on the Ontario Ministry of Culture's Advisory Council on Arts & Culture, ORION (Ontario's high-speed network), SHARCNET, IO (Interactive Ontario), Canadian Women in Communications; i-Canada; is Chair of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto Advisory Committee. Diamond has served the larger university community through her membership on the Standing Advisory Committee on University Research (SACUR) and currently is a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on  International Relations (SACIR) of the Association of Universities and Colleges and as Chair of the Standing Committee on Relationships with Other Postsecondary Institutions for the Council of Ontario Universities and is a member of the COU executive. Diamond was a member of the 2011-2012 Council of the Canadian Academies' expert panel on the State of Science & Technology in Canada.

She is a data visualization, wearable technology and mobile media researcher, artist and designer. She developed http://www.codezebra.net/, a social media software and performance and responsive fashion environment. Diamond is founding Chair of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre and current co-chair (with RBC). She is co-principal investigator on the Centre for Information Visualization/Data Driven Design, an OCAD U/York University major initiative and sits on the board of the National Centre of Excellence GRAND and is the holder of 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, strategic foresight; 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 the 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 the Editor-in-Chief of http://www.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 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 currently available; published by Banff Centre Press and Riverdale Architectural Press, University of Waterloo. She has recently completed Taking Ontario Mobile (with Vera Roberts), a study of the potential impacts of mobile technologies, networks and experiences for Ontario and Canada (available November, 2012).

Dr. Sara Diamond's CV (PDF)


  • PHD Computing, IT and Engineering, University of East London, SMARTLab, 2009, CodeZebraOS, A Tool for Online Collaborative Dialogue
  • Masters in Performative New Media Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London, SmartLab Centre, 2007
  • Bachelor of Arts, Honors, History and Communication, Simon Fraser University, 1980, 1990


  • 2005-Present: President, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD University), Renewed for second term in 2010
  • 2003 – 2005 Director of Research, The Banff Centre.  Responsible for the leadership of all research projects in the Banff New Media Institute; responsible for the development of research across The Banff Centre, in mathematics, the arts, leadership and mountain culture departments. Responsible for the recruitment and supervision of all researchers and all research students.
  • 1994-2005: Founding Director, Banff New Media Institute
  • 1994-2004:  Artistic Director, Media and Visual Arts, Executive Producer, New Media and Television.  Responsible for the leadership of all activities in Media and Visual Arts, including the Banff New Media Institute (summits, workshops, co-productions of large scale new media and arts television works, research in media and visual art); the Walter Phillips Gallery and Banff International Curatorial Institute (Director reports to me); Visual Arts residencies (Director reports to me).  Department of over twenty full time employees and ten to fifteen fellows and work-studies.
  • 1992-1994:  Director of Television and Video, The Banff Centre.
  • 1990 -present: Adjunct Professor, UCLA, Design/Media.
  • 1985 -1992: Instructor, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Art, Foundation, Media Arts and Critical Studies Depts.
  • 1990 -1992: Instructor and Program Leader, California Institute for the Art, Video Program, Art Dept.
  • 1983 -1990: Instructor, Capilano College, North Vancouver, Canada, Labour History. 
  • 2001 – Ongoing: Principal owner CodeZebra Inc.
  • 1980 – 1995: CEO: WLHP Productions.