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Research and innovation

Art, design and digital research and creative practices through a diversity of perspectives, methods and approaches

Photo of the e-Leo exhibit, a collaborative project between OCAD U's DFI program and artist Marina Abramović, 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.

As Canada's university of the imagination, OCAD University offers a depth and breadth of undergraduate and graduate programs in visual arts and design that combine studio-based learning with critical inquiry. The university engages in art and design research and creative practices through a diversity of perspectives, methods and approaches. Due to OCAD U's pivotal role in maintaining a community of existing artists and designers, as well as training the new generations of artists and designers, it also functions as a cultural institution within the City of Toronto, with influence nationally and internationally.

Strategic research plan

OCAD U's eight key areas of research serve the purposes of (1) prioritizing research initiatives for decision-making processes around institutional commitments and resource allocations; and (2) demonstrating to funding agencies how research proposal submissions fit into institutional priorities.

OCAD U supports its researchers through a vibrant office of research services, an experienced research ethics board and the strategic allocation of research lab spaces, infrastructure and operational funding.

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Art, Design, Education

Art & Design Education

Research in art and design pedagogy and cross-culture perspectives

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Critical Studies

Critical Studies

Critical research in the humanities and social sciences

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Creative Economies, Imagination Catalyst

Creative Economies

Interdisciplinary research in creative production, innovation studies and entrepreneurship

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Digital Futures, LevelUp

Digital Futures

Innovative research in new media, large data, gaming, wearable technology and DIY practices

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Healthy and Inclusive Environments

Healthy & Inclusive Environments

Trans-disciplinary research in inclusive design, ambient experience, health and wellness

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Aboriginal, Visual, Culture

Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre

Research in indigenous visual culture, art, media and design

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Material Innovation Aesthetics Communication

Material Innovation, Aesthetics & Communication

Research and hybrid art practice in aesthetics, communications, materiality and multi-sensorial experiences

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DMRII, OCADU, Research, Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures

Leadership projects negotiating environmental impact

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Digital Media, Research + Innovation Institute (DMRII)

The Digital Media Research + Innovation Institute (DMRII), founded in 2010, integrates applied and academic interdisciplinary research and innovation at OCAD University.

DMRII builds, collaborates, creates, develops, engages, participates, promotes and supports.


Ambient Experience Lab

Art Research Centre

A.N.Thill Lab

Data Materialization Lab

Digital Drawing & Painting Lab (DDPL)

game:play lab

Inclusive Design Research Centre

Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre

Mobile Experience Lab

Situation Lab

Social Media + Collaboration Lab

Social Body Lab

Strategic Innovation Lab

Super Ordinary Lab

Visual Analytics Lab

Zero Lab


DMRII Shared facilities

Black Box Lab

Digital Campus

Digital Salon

Fabrication Lab

Inclusive Meeting Room

Media Lab

Physical Hybrid Computing Lab

Rapid Prototyping Facility

Smart Material Resource Centre (and Lighting Studio)

Sound Production Facilities

The Open Space Gallery


DMRII Research groups

PHASE Research Group

Ayllu Intiwatana Research Group