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OCAD U faculty members awarded nearly $2 million in research funding

A photo of a glass ball on a nature background.
OCAD U faculty members awarded nearly $2 million in research funding

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has announced the recipients of several grant competitions, including numerous OCAD University researchers, pursuing investigations in areas as varied as art and archives and end of life care. 

“The incredible range of research topics that this funding supports demonstrates just how multi-dimensional the faculty at OCAD U are and how creative research comes in many forms,” commented Dr. Ashok Mathur, Interim Vice-President, Research and Innovation and Dean of Graduate Studies. 

Awarded almost $2 million, researchers were successful in three SSHRC program streams including, the recently launched Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative as well as the Partnership Development and Insight Grants. Additionally, in May, SSHRC announced that Faculty of Design Associate Professor Sarah Tranum is among one of the three teams that received funding through the Imagining Canada’s Future Ideas Lab: Canada and the Circular Economy initiative. Learn more about the funded projects below.

Race, Gender and Diversity Initiative

Imagining Inclusion: Artists and Arts Workers on EDI in Practice 
Dr. Suzanne Morrissette 
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Science and Graduate Program Director Contemporary Art, Design and New Media and Art Criticism and Curatorial Practice 

This research project will investigate equity among creative practitioners working in Canada’s artist-run centres. Involving partnerships with non-profit arts organizations across the country, this initiative will help forge networks among racialized artists and arts workers at all stages of their careers. Project co-director Faculty of Arts and Science Assistant Professor Immony Mèn, co-applicant Dean of Graduate Studies and Interim Vice-President, Research and Innovation Dr. Ashok Mathur and collaborator Faculty of Arts and Science Assistant Professor Andrew Gayed, will collaborate with organizations including Hamilton Artists Inc., Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, South Asian Visual Arts Centre, grunt gallery, daphne and Trinity Square Video. 

ReLearn ReAct ReCreate: Youth Arts Advocacy for Equitable Cultural Policy 
Dr. Alia Weston 
Associate Professor and Acting Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science 

This project will investigate how QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) young people can more actively contribute to the development of cultural policy that affects them. In partnership with young artists and community-based arts organizations, this project will focus on community arts learning and creative advocacy in collaboration with Toronto-based organizations SKETCH Working Arts and Mass Culture. Miriam Kramer, Executive Director, Government & Community Relations at OCAD University will be a collaborator on the project. 

Partnership Development Grants

Crossing Fonds -- Pollinating Access and Interpretation 
Dr. Sara Diamond 
President Emerita, OCAD University  

This project envisions a replicable opensource digital archive ecosystem that allows interaction between non-profit, counter and institutional archives with a particular focus on British Columbia. Facilitating the interaction between archives will enable the individual and collaborative study of archival materials. 

Research-Creation for Birth Environment Design Knowledge Mobilization 
Doreen Balabanoff 
Professor Emerita, Faculty of Design 

This research project will investigate the spatial design of birth settings and how they impact birth processes and wellbeing during and beyond labour. Midwives, nurses and diverse practitioners focused on supporting normal or less medicalized birth have repeatedly found through research that birthing women's bodies are often objectified and their emotions deemphasized in conventional birth spaces. This initiative will collect information through a co-creation approach and an exhibition showcasing the project's material outputs. 

Insight Grants

Relationships, Reciprocity, Exchange: Indigenous and BPOC relationality and accountability within Indigenous territories 
Dr. Suzanne Morrissette 
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts and Science and Graduate Program Director Contemporary Art, Design and New Media and Art Criticism and Curatorial Practice 

Led by Dr. Suzanne Morrissette the research team, Dr. Alia Fortune Weston and York University’s Professor Lisa Myers, will collaborate with artists and non-artists to create tools and experiences that will support the cultivation of decolonial, anticolonial and non-colonial futures for BIPOC communities within Indigenous territories in Canada. The project asks, what does it mean to live ethically within and in critical dialogue with Indigenous people and their territories? This research will take place through the creation of four major artworks, each led by a member of the research team. Additionally, the research team will support three students each year in the production of artworks and curated exhibitions for a total of fifteen student-led research-creation responses.  

Public Participatory Explorations on End of Life 
Dr. Kate Sellen 
Associate Professor, Faculty of Design and Canada Research Chair in Design for Health 

Using a design research and realist approach, this project will explore how participatory installations on the subject of end of life might open dialogue on end of life choices. Arts-informed and arts-based approaches are increasingly being used in health research and many social scientists, artists, and designers have explored death and dying within their works. Participatory installations have a role to play in both uncovering and mobilizing knowledge on end of life.