Strategic Research Plan

Research themes

OCAD University’s eight key areas of research serve the two 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 within 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.

OCAD U complies fully with Tri-Council policies, including its policy on responsible conduct of research.

Learn more about OCAD U's research in the Strategic Research Plan here:


1. Art and Design Education

Exploring values and methodologies in contemporary art and design education and their relationship to culture, technology, cross-cultural perspectives in art and design teaching.

2. Critical Studies

Engaging in humanities and social sciences research through thematic interests: networks, localities and global studies; cultural movements and social change; bodies and embodiments; history, theory and criticism of art, media, and design; technologies and digital culture.

3. Digital Futures

Conducting innovative and pioneering research in fields such as new media, large data, game design, wearable technology and DIY practices through research across the digital media field with partnerships that span disciplines.

4. Creative Economies

Analyzing economic activities through constructive lenses in the areas of strategic foresight and design thinking; media and entertainment design; and art and entrepreneurship.

5. Healthy and Inclusive Environments

Leading transdisciplinary research in health-care design; healthy environment design; inclusive design; ambient experience; and health care and visual art.

6. Indigenous Visual Culture Research 

Fostering debate and research in Aboriginal visual culture, media, and design to expand the literature in this vital aspect of Aboriginal identity and social and economic development.

indigenous, studies, research, ocadu, dmrii, culture

Indigenous Visual Culture Research Centre

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7. Material Innovation, Aesthetics and Communication

Contributing knowledge to the fields of visual communication and visual studies through examining and redefining the materiality of art-making in response to the world mediated by digital aesthetics and technological innovations.

8. Sustainable Futures

Providing leadership in the reconciliation of environmental, social and economic demands of our environment through research in urban ecology; bio-inspired design; and sustainable materials and product research.