OCAD University

OCAD receives $636,720 to expand

Aboriginal Visual Culture Program

(Toronto—January 20, 2010) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) will receive $636,720 through the Aboriginal Post-secondary Education and Training Action Plan, a program of the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The Honourable John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities announced the new funding for postsecondary institutions today at First Nations House at the University of Toronto.

The grant, to be delivered over three years, will support OCAD’s Aboriginal Visual Cultural Program (ABVC). Aboriginal Visual Culture encompasses historical and contemporary work by visual artists, designers, media artists, critics and curators. It is a territory of imagination and memory as well as geography, straddling the differences that challenge us through the core values that unite us. The ABVC program at OCAD provides an interdisciplinary education in art, design and curatorial practice through undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programming. In collaboration with Aboriginal communities, other post secondary institutions and individual Aboriginal artists and scholars, the program seeks to create a foundation of undergraduate studies and a basis for graduate research while removing barriers to learning through the development of culturally appropriate curricula and a significant range of options in Aboriginal content.

This funding announcement recognizes and supports the role that OCAD plays in the ongoing development of Aboriginal programming and services. OCAD recognizes the intrinsic cultural, social and economic value of developing relationships and programs that support and promote Aboriginal students and the community at large. OCAD’s strategic plan underscores the value a healthy diversity of knowledge and culture in Ontario, and acknowledges the need to create specific programs and spaces for Aboriginal cultural learning.

“We thank Minister Milloy for today’s announcement, and for the leadership shown by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities,” said OCAD President Sara Diamond. “We commend the province’s commitment to enhancing programming for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal learners in postsecondary education and training. With this support OCAD will be able to continue our leadership through our Aboriginal Visual Culture Program.”

“This funding is essential to the ongoing development and implementation of the program,” said ABVC Academic Director Bonnie Devine. “It will allow us to continue to engage meaningfully with Aboriginal peoples to ensure a healthy diversity of knowledge and culture in Ontario and at OCAD.”

OCAD will use the funds to expand its recruitment and outreach activities; facilitate access, participation and retention; develop an innovative graduate studies program aimed at fast-tracking mid-career professionals to masters degrees; expand OCAD’s Aboriginal mentor/advisor services; and hire a clinical professional to provide Aboriginal students with culturally specific counselling services. The funding will also support the continued development of OCAD’s Aboriginal curriculum, including the addition of a major in Aboriginal Visual Culture, the addition of Aboriginal fields of study in existing graduate programs, the development of co-op and internship programs, and the development of distance learning initiatives.

To learn more about OCAD’s Aboriginal Visual Culture Program, visit www.ocad.ca.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

For more information and images please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

© OCAD University