Afaq Ahmed Karadia
Afaq Ahmed Karadia is a designer and a creative technologist who mingles fore front digital designs, installations and experiential design using new mediums including; interactions of design. After graduating with honors from National College of Arts Pakistan, he worked in numerous mediums within digitally enabled design processes, visualizations and interactive design in the context of traditional cultural aspects. Moreover, he worked independently to develop the Black Light Motion Creative Research Labs. Afaq was a visiting faculty at National College of Arts, where he taught exhibition design in the context of projection technology. Afaq is career-oriented and continually strives to improve his knowledge. He moved to Milan, Italy where he studied product design at Scuola Politecnica Di Design, focusing on the relation between humans and space. Traveling to Geneva, he was able to attend mapping festival in Geneva and a workshop on interactive arts derived from audiovisual technology and controlling audiovisual spaces. Afaq is very excited to begin his journey with OCAD University alongside with an exceptional faculty and talented peers.
Bijun Chen is a multimedia artist. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Arts from the University of Oregon, and her associate degree in computer science from Cascade College. She was responsible for creating and editing video during her career as a digital media specialist at Archaeological Legacy Institute. In 2011, her research on Cyber Security in China helped the Boeing company with their new project strategy. Bijun loves playing the saxophone, making desert, traveling and video games. She is excited to start her new study and research at OCAD University and her new life in Toronto.
April has worked in communications and project management across the cultural, corporate and community sectors. Prior to joining Digital Futures, April managed collaborations between national businesses and community organizations to raise youth employment in under-resourced neighbourhoods. Through Digital Futures, April looks forward to visualizing data behind complex social challenges, so they are more accessible for all. Her interests include impact evaluation, information design, urbanism both large and DIY, social enterprise, novel forms of storytelling, mindfulness meditation, and bad puns.
Katie Micak is a MA candidate in the Digital Futures program, focusing on robotics and ethics. Micak has been involved in art and cultural productions for oven ten years as a practicing artist, curator, gallery director, and technology specialist. She has worked at The Phillips Collection (DC), Propeller Gallery (Toronto), Moving Image art fair (NY), Art in General (NY), Spark Contemporary Art Space (Syracuse, NY), and was one the founding members of the Toronto based game art festival, Vector Game +Art Convergence. She hopes to continue working with moving images and cultural institutions and is very happy to have participated in the Family Camera at the ROM.
Yawen (Ginger) Guo, is a Toronto-based front end developer. Put simply, Yawen likes coding and art. Yawen expresses her art with both paint and pixel and loves to develop and execute a project from the research stage through to the creation of wire frames, concepts and production. Yawen is passionate about creatively solving our daily problems in a new ways.
Afrooz has completed her Bachelor's degree in Geomatics Engineering and has work experience as a 3D modelling artist and also a Math tutor. Her profound interest in Art and Science has motivated her to pursue her studies in an interdisciplinary field, so she can combine her technical and artistic skills, in order to create a successful product. Her prospective research area is Game and Mobile Design and Development, as she can challenge her programming skills along with her abilities to conduct research on UX Design and human-computer interaction.
Rana Zandi is an Iranian-Canadian Graphic designer & content creator. In 2009, as a female Iranian You-Tuber, Rana generated multiple viral videos with over 1 million views. In 2015, she completed her Bachelor of Design with a major in Graphic Design at OCAD University, while studying the Japanese language at University of Toronto. During her time at OCAD University, Rana became interested in the post-death management of digital assets. Events that occurred in her third year of undergraduate study were the catalyst for her academic interest in the post-corporeal identity of those we bereave. In her undergraduate thesis, Rana made a series of video-blogs addressing complications of mortality in the digital age within the context of social media. How might digital footprints be used to simulate one’s digital existence? With the help and inspiration from her peers & professors, Rana would like to answer this very question.
Mudit Ganguly is an artist and designer from Bombay who dabbles in multiple disciplines. Having completed his bachelor’s degree is mass media from Jai Hind College, he has freelanced for a wide range of clients ranging from street art festivals to voter campaigns. The past year he has initiated his own projects such as a series of re-imagined tarot cards, and an ASL guidebook for second-language English speakers. Outside of work Mudit is especially passionate about animation and gaming and hopes for his work to overlap with those fields some day. With his time at OCAD, he wants to branch out from his initial specializations in illustration and branding and explore new media.
Thoreau Bakker is an emerging multimedia artist, whose current practice seeks to both produce and understand monumental sculpture, the economies of scale in manufacturing, and the conceptual / cultural implications of gestalt toys. He holds an Honours BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and serves as Vice President on the board of directors at the Ed Video Media Arts Centre. In 2014, his short film, ‘Jump,’ was featured as an official selection of the Toronto Urban film festival. As a music producer and DJ for more than a decade, he has regularly toured the UK, Continental Europe, Russia, and sold over 10, 000 vinyl units internationally. A dual citizen who has lived and worked in Montreal & New York City, he hopes to build bridges between contacts old and new, and is most excited about the innovative and collaborative spirit championed by OCAD U.
Mahsa is a recent graduate from the University of Alberta, where she obtained an Honours, Bachelor of Design degree, majoring in Industrial and Visual Communication Design with a minor in Engineering. To Mahsa, “design” has opened up a path where she can use hard work and creativity towards what she truly considers her passion. It is through design that she would like to express and pass on her feelings of love, happiness and comfort to others. Holding a minor in Engineering in combination with a passion for aesthetics, problem solving and mechanics, Mahsa's work attempts to resolve complex problems into smart simple solutions that resonates human interactions and emotions. The diversity of Mahsa’s education has granted her a unique approach on interpreting the way people live and interact within our world. Her cultural background has enabled her to see design from different perspectives and needs.
Samaa Ahmed is a diasporic visual artist, maker, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur. She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology from Wellesley College in 2013. She has since worked as a policy analyst and researcher in Washington DC, New York City, and Toronto. She is currently working as a Site Research Associate for Mural Routes. In 2016, she founded ARTBOX Toronto Inc., a monthly subscription box service that promotes the works of emerging local artists and organizes networking events to connect artists and art lovers.
Samaa is a committee member of the Toronto Feminist Art Conference, Pakathon, and Wellesley Underground. Her artwork has been exhibited locally and internationally, and her works have been published in the Young Racialized Women’s Anthology and The Globalist. As a Master's in Design candidate in the Digital Futures program, she is interested in the intersections between policy and digital technologies, and exploring innovative approaches to tackle sociopolitical challenges.
Ania Elizabeth Medrek
Ania Medrek is an editorial designer and editor. Ania works at the National Post, which was named 'World's Best-Designed' newspaper by the Society of News Design in 2016. Ania completed an undergraduate degree in journalism at Ryerson University and is working toward an MDes degree at OCAD University in the Digital Futures program.
Orlando Bascuñán is a natural therapist and a self-taught creative coder and tinkerer that has been working as an interactive software developer for over 10 years. His work includes interactive installations, building and re-purposing hardware, video mapping, live visuals and 3d animation. His desire is to create experiences that are in-tune with our primitive being and that honour and re-validate our connection with nature. Orlando is excited to be attending the Digital Futures program as it gives him the opportunity to explore many of his interests alongside many inspiring people.
Nadine Lessio is a technologist and designer with a background in graphic design, development, art, and an on-going interest in the intersection of technology and the whimsy and subversive. She’s been a mentor, speaker, judge, game jammer, and maker of things. Currently, she spends her time experimenting with physical interfaces, and creative notifiers, and thinking about how those can shape our daily perceptions of technology. Her work has been part of festivals such as Vector, Indiecade, and GDC, and has been featured in the likes of The Hairpin, and Wired. She enjoys making experiences that are amusing, but also slightly notorious, and is curious to explore new ways to navigate a growing internet of strange and connected things.
Manik Perera Gunatilleke
Manik Gunatilleke is a strategist, entrepreneur, and emerging interaction designer who has dabbled in film, social service design, and communications before realizing her creative passions had evolved into multi-sensory immersive experience design at the intersection of art and technology. Manik is interested in the immersive nature of virtual and built spaces, collaborative design, ambient intelligence, and embedded fiction. En route to her current. adventure working towards a MDes in Digital Futures, Manik has lived in 7 countries and her experience includes leading a team that produced documentaries on youth activism in the Asia Pacific region, managing international development programs and campaigns for Oxfam GB, and managing communication and brand strategies for organizations in Asia and Canada. She directed and produced an independent documentary film, Raise as Fire, for the Sri Lankan Peace Process (2002), and her first art installation was exhibited at the Toronto Fashion Art Festival 2017.
1st Year Students
Savaya Shinkaruk is a digital designer with a well-rounded portfolio in lifestyle and fashion communication work. After graduating honors with a Bachelor in Communications majoring in Journalism, Savaya went on to work for Dote Magazine, a Calgary lifestyle publication as a freelance website designer in addition to running her own styling business. After attending multiple Society News Design conferences and having a passion for lifestyle topics, Savaya is interested in enhancing the online shopping experience for the fashion and interior design industries. Imagine a 3D or holographic experience when creating your dream kitchen. With an in-depth experience digital background, Savaya is looking forward to the new challenges and new opportunities that OCAD University will teach her in the digital design world.
Sana (Roxolyana) Shepko
Sana (Roxolyana) Shepko is a graphic designer and artist from New York and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Graphic Design from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Sana has freelanced for music organizations, nonprofits, small businesses, and is the principal designer for the Women’s Bandura Ensemble of North America. She has worked with various web design companies, and most recently interned with Moonfarmer, a creative digital studio specializing in custom website design and development. She manages and plays as a violinist and vocalist in the Ukrainian folk band Korinya and plays bandura (a traditional Ukrainian instrument) in several ensembles. Her cultural heritage has had a deep impact on her understanding of the world and has shaped her approach to graphic design and art. She is passionate about inclusivity in design, and believes in building and designing a digital environment in which all perspectives and voices are heard.
Roxanne Henry has had a longtime fascination with human nature, drawing and portraiture, and technology, -through computer science. Now, she has chosen to combine her interests and focus on the intersection of both in the field of human-computer interaction. Her goals are to research and develop systems, both in 2D and 3D/VR, which are powerful and intuitive to all users, as well as work on impactful projects. She hopes to refine her skills in the Digital Futures program in order to accomplish these goals.
Roxanne is a multidisciplinary research-creator and designer from Montréal. Their bachelor at Concordia mixed Sciences of Religion and Communications studies, a unique outlook to follow up in their master program at OCAD. They started making games after completing Pixelles' Incubator, a women in game initiative, after which they joined Concordia’s TAG, Montreal’s biggest academic game research lab. Their research on the aesthetic of confusion was presented during Canadian Game Study Association conference and they were published in First Person Scholar. Now focusing on digital embodiment, they will look into and create video games as experiences, in relation to the feeling of sublime. Coming from a background in fashion and graphic design, they are furthermore interested in the aesthetics of procedurality and computational arts, having always been fascinated by the unique affordances of virtual worlds.
Dikla is a graduate of the photography and multimedia department of the Hadassah College, Israel, and the National Manga Center in Osaka, Japan. Dikla has over 20 years’ experience with online marketing and products, including; SAAS products as Product Manager, UX/UI, GUI and CRO in a Start-up environment. She is married, has a German shepherd named Lola, and on her free time, she enjoys CrossFit, yoga, cross-stitch, cooking and Manga sketching. Dikla volunteer’s at "Common Ground" -an organization established to promote gender equality through the Academy-Community Connection. She hopes that her studies at OCADU will provide the opportunity to explore her research interests and get to know new and inspiring people.
Kylie Caraway is a media designer specializing in illustration, animation, video game development, and virtual reality systems. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin. She recently relocated to Toronto where she continues to work as an animator and teach immersive game design at the University of Toronto Mississauga. During her time at OCAD University, Kylie plans to explore the use of interactive media technologies to make complex topics more accessible for general audiences. She is interested in furthering our understanding of recent scientific developments, the history of urbanization, community development, environmental protections, resource conservation, and government policy.
Yiyi Shao considers herself as a young and promising digital artist who is looking to promote Chinese culture as part of her proud heritage through merging traditional Chinese arts with current technology. Her initial forte was in oil painting and art modelling, however she ventured into graphic design during her stint as a student in the United Kingdom. She is interested in China's social and environmental problems, such as air pollution, a project she has worked on previously drew some attention from design societies in China. A bubbly and amicable character, she loves spending time with her Airedale Terrier and creating new dishes in her free time. Her current research intent is to venture into areas of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, while looking to improve her knowledge and skills of programming.
Jad Rabbaa is an emerging multimedia strategist, digital designer and editor. His interdisciplinary background is the combination of his passion for communication aesthetics and his interest in digital technology.
Jad’s exposure to different fields keeps expanding, spanning over three different continents, two majors and five languages. Over the past decade, he has worked for a wide array of clients around the world, ranging from TV channels to SMEs and even the public sector. Lately, he has been involved with the United Nations working as a UX designer and strategist at the peacekeeping mission UNIFIL. His experience covers interactive design through web and mobile, incorporating illustrations, animations and video to serve a seamless user experience and communication.
Jad’s research at the Masters of Digital Futures will focus on creating innovative digital experiences and visualizing data through multi-sensory and wearable technology.
David is a digital photographic artist residing in Toronto, with a special interest in macro photography. Following a career in Information Technology, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from York University in 2017. David has volunteered and mentored students at the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part Time students. From the age of thirteen, David has enjoyed photographing people, places and things, as well as exploring other visual media. Influenced by his studies in visual art, particularly in digital photography, David became interested in exploring the visual process itself, including; various forms of human perception and how digital manipulation of visual data can modify or enhance our perceptions. Studying perception in this way may have an impact on urban, domestic, and industrial design and perhaps even accident and injury prevention.
Karo is interested in intimacy and relationships vs the internet and AI. His past work deals in net content, classical media, and robotically assisted works. His background of thought stems from Artificial Intelligence Research and Festivals. His intention for the future is to encourage people to explore and give to the world and people immediately around them via Augmented Reality and AI.
Feng Yuan, is a passionate multimedia designer who is devoted to creating eye-catching graphics, intuitive interactions, and innovative systems. She has worked as a UI+UX Designer for several years, starting from the concept up to the final result. With wide range of design background, such as web-design, creative computing, motion graphics, advertising, branding have equipped her with various skills to identify, analyze and solve design questions. Her ultimate goal is always to constantly create designs that truly help users.
Emilia is a Nicaraguan-Canadian content creator, maker and storyteller. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy and has experience working with community-based projects. Emilia was part of De Humo TV, a news outlet for youth in Nicaragua, focused on inspiring and informing Nicaraguan youth on human rights, democracy, active citizenship, sexual education, women’s health issues and gender equality. The show is a project by Kids News Network for Free Press Unlimited and is part of the Wadada News for Kids Network. The network is currently active in 20 countries, broadcasted in 12 languages and reaches over 100 million people. Emilia also lead the non-for-profit organization Movimiento Puente, with the purpose of developing and strengthening democracy, governability and human rights of young people in Nicaragua. Her work in these organizations have shown her the need, value and impact of art, technology and innovation as pillars for developing educational and social projects. She looks forward to exploring new fields and all the possibilities consciously designed technology may bring to society in the future.
Prior to joining the Digital Futures program, Tommy was a Production Coordinator at The Capture Lab, a motion capture studio at Electronic Arts Canada in Vancouver. He received BA (Hon) Photography from London College of Communication (UK) in 2012 and was an Associate Artist at Open School East, a free art school in London, UK that focuses on learning that is experimental and collaborative from 2013 to 2014. He has exhibited his projects at galleries and festivals both nationally and internationally such as Nanaimo Art Gallery (CAN), Peer Gallery (UK), Liverpool Biennale (UK) and Organhaus Art Space (CN).
Sean is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, with a BSc Hons in Product Design and Innovation. During his undergrad in his hometown of Glasgow, he worked on a wide range of projects that have all inspired him to further his education in this field. Some areas of expertise include visual communication, graphic design, and both physical and digital products and services. Since graduating, he has worked on a wide array of freelance projects, including branding and marketing design for a number of small-to-medium start-up companies. Sean is excited to return to his studies and approach his craft from a new angle while completing his Masters at OCAD.
Finlay Braithwaite is an emerging digital designer. Leveraging his passion and professional experience in audio production, Finlay endeavours to create a positionally aware microphone system. To achieve this, Finlay is actively engaging and exploring wearable technology, motion tracking, digital signal processing, and the principles of industrial design. Through his work, Finlay hopes to eke the benchmark of perceived quality of recorded audio higher.
Finlay's current and past practice focuses on sound production, design, and engineering for film, television, music, interactive, and installation. Recently, Finlay has focused on documentary film audio editorial & mixing. As Sound Supervisor, Finlay played a critical role in the Hugh Gibson's acclaimed documentary The Stairs, recipient of Canada's largest prize for the arts, the Toronto Film Critics Association award for Best Canadian Film.
Finlay also practices as a composer, musician, and performer. Most notably, Finlay was an anchor member of the experimental avant garde recording and performance group Gravity Wave.
In addition, Finlay has a passion for interactive installation art. His work has contributed to two successful Nuit Blanche installations in 2011 (Observer FX) and 2013 (Echo Chasm)
Finlay has taught as a contract lecturer since 2006 in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University. Finlay has taught at all levels in the sound production curriculum and has acted as a practicum thesis advisor for final year students. Finlay has become a leader in curriculum redevelopment, highlighted by his rebuild with Dr. Michael Murphy of the introductory sound course RTA104.
Finlay is a founding member of Victory Social Club, an interdisciplinary collaborative community in Toronto.
N. Maxwell Lander is a photographer, designer, game-maker and hedonist. His work often blurs the line between disgust and desire, and involves a lot of fake and real blood. He enjoys making things that engage with gender, kink, violence, and neon. In particular, his work critically engages with masculinity in ways that range from the subtle and playful to brutal and unnerving. He is part of the queer trash collective Only Dead Men and an active member of the feminist video game organization Dames Making Games. He is deeply interested in VR as a physically disruptive medium (plus it is f****** cool). He also enjoys making t-shirts that piss people off. Will take headshots for money.