Annual Report 2012 Graphic Ad

20121003 Strategic Plan
Canada's 'University of the Imagination


Sara Diamond. Photo: Tom Sandler Photography

Photo: Tom Sandler Photography.
Thank you for joining us at the online home of Canada's “university of the imagination,” located in the vibrant city of Toronto, the cultural capital of Canada. OCAD University is the single largest and most comprehensive art, design and media university, or set of art, design and media programs in Canada. Inspired by the value of a specialized education, Canadian artists founded this institution independently, in 1876. Today we continue to draw from our legacy of the Group of Seven and from almost 135 years of groundbreaking achievements.

As well as our historical focus on art, design, media and cultural and social theory, OCAD University bridges these fields, engaging our most compelling contemporary themes and knowledge sets: digital media and design, sustainability, health and wellness, cultural diversity and Aboriginal cultures. We do this through cross-disciplinary programs and research within OCAD U and in concert with industry, not-for-profit, university and college partners, at home and abroad. OCAD U has forged strong ties with industry leaders in the creative, information and communication technology sectors, in healthcare and in sustainable green technology. This has positioned us as a key player in Ontario’s innovation economy as well as Canada’s.

Our alumni are independent artists and designers and serve as leaders in business, social enterprise, research labs and government. I was recently asked to share my thoughts on the value of art, design and media education on The Agenda, with Steve Paikin. You can view that interview here.

In 2010, the Government of Ontario passed new legislation changing our institution’s name from the Ontario College of Art & Design to OCAD University. The name change adds value to what we offer our current students and our alumni, whose successes comprise our legacy and foster positive change.

Our new name acknowledges our history, the expanded wealth of our undergraduate and graduate degrees and our accelerating research capabilities. At OCAD U we retain a focus on studio-based learning and integrate research into undergraduate and graduate education. Students entering the university continue to engage in acute creative, aesthetic and technical learning; they also have access to a dynamic set of critical, theoretical, scientific and historical knowledge and methods.

OCAD U offers six undergraduate programs each in Design and Art, leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Design degrees. In 2012, OCAD U launches its newest undergraduate program — Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA), leading to either a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Design. The institution also offers six graduate studies programs, which culminate in a Master of Arts, a Masters of Fine Arts or a Master of Design.

Our annual report highlights our strategic plan, program, research and capital acquisition highlights, and can be viewed here. Please explore our website to learn about our programs and activities.

Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ord. Ontario; RCA


Dr. Diamond in conversation with TVO's Allan Gregg (November 2012)

"We need artists to solve the challenges of this century" (The Creativity Gap series by The Globe and Mail, June 13, 2012), by Dr. Sara Diamond.

President Diamond reflects on one of the dates of the recent Association of Universities & Colleges of Canada's Presidents' Mission to Brazil, during which OCAD U signed partnership agreements with several Brazilian institutions.

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, 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, 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)

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