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Introducing OCAD U’s

$1,500 BIG IDEAS Fund

Download the BIG IDEAS Fund Application Form (.doc)
If you would like to request an application form in an alternative format, please email or call Shamina Chherawala at 416.977.6000 Ext.3840

What’s your BIG IDEA to make OCAD U more inclusive?

We need you, OCAD U’s creative thinkers, artists and designers to make this happen.  You choose an equity issue that is important to the OCAD U community and come up with a creative response – and we will give you $1,500 and mentorship to bring your idea to life.

What types of Ideas will be considered?

Your idea could be anything (really, anything): an interactive installation, an event, a flash mob, a website, a design solution, a short film, an art exhibit, a data visualization, a zine… you tell us.

The only requirements are that it be feasible within the $1,500 budget, can be completed within three weeks in February 2014, and you can convey how it will advance equity or build a more inclusive community at OCAD U.

If you’re not sure about how something will be executed yet, that’s OK.  Just have a solid concept and initial thinking about how you would get it done.

What if I’m selected and then am struck by this feeling that I have no idea what I’m even doing, which then causes me to spiral into existential doubt?!

Winners will be matched with a staff or faculty mentor who can support you in realizing your project.  If there is a specific mentor you would like to work with, let us know.  If not, we will work with you to find the  right match.  Additionally, Diversity & Equity Initiative’s Student Advisory Committee will be available to help you problem solve if needed.

We will also be filming, photographing and meeting with you to capture the successes and challenges of your project. Winners will be featured in Woven, OCAD U’s annual spotlight on equity initiatives on campus.

Who can apply?

Open to all OCAD U students. Students from all disciplines and levels of study are encouraged to submit ideas.

Applications can be submitted individually, in a group, or as a class.  If you are applying as a class, please speak to your instructor first.  

Is it easy to apply?

Indeed. Just complete and submit the attached submission form by January 27, 2014, 11 a.m.  You can drop it off in-person at the office of Diversity & Equity Initiatives (115 mcCaul St, level 2) or email an e-copy to

The Office of DEI’s Student Advisory Committee will then review submissions and invite short-listed students for an informal meeting between January 27- 31, 2014.  This will be a chance to give more information about your idea and how you plan to spend the $1,500.

Three (3) Winners will be announced in the first week of February

When do I have to complete my project by?

You have February 10–28, 2014 to complete your project, which includes reading week.

What do I get again?

What can I use the $1,500 towards?

 Your $1,500 grant can be used towards almost any expense needed for your project – such as materials and artist fees for yourself and individuals assisting you.

What is the Diversity & Equity Initiatives (DEI) Student Advisory Committee?

DEI’s Student Advisory Committee is a group of OCAD U students who are committed to equity in art and design education. The committee brings a student perspective to OCAD U’s equity initiatives by participating in strategic planning and governance on campus.  The Student Advisory Committee is also leading the launch of the OCAD U BIG IDEAS  Fund.

Membership for the 2013-14 year is:

Bianca Channer, Advertising / Integrated Media
Olayide Madamidola, Environmental Design Major, Onyx Society Member
Shonda White, 1st year, BFA Indigenous Visual Culture
Geordie Graham, 1st year, M.Des in Inclusive Design. Academic interests: improving access to health care and information technology systems for marginalized groups. 
Hillary Cluett, 2nd Year, MAAD Jewellery Major. Student Union Executive
Juli Kim, 4th year, Drawing and Painting, International Student
Olya Levina, 4th year, Drawing & Painting Major

Big Ideas Fund - Community Grant

In addition to the student grants, one $1,500 grant is being awarded to the OASIS Skateboard Factory (OSF) – an alternative high school where courses are offered with a skateboard and street art focus. OSF’s class will be working alongside OCAD U students to prepare a project idea. 

For more information about OSF, visit

The OCAD U Big Ideas Fund is an initiative of the Office of Diversity & Equity Initiatives, in partnership with OPSEU and OCADFA, and made possible by generous donations from Christine Bovis-Cnossen, Vice-President Academic, the office of the Vice-President Finance & Administration, and Project 31 (contributions from Vladimir Spicanovic, JJ Lee & Hugh Martin). 

Ontario College of Art & Design 100 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario M5T 1W1 Canada Tel. 416.977.6000 Fax. 416.977.6000 © OCAD 2007