OCAD University’s Faculty of Design is pleased to announce the hiring of five new tenure-track faculty members who self-identify as Black peoples of African Descent (including Africans and African heritage people from the Caribbean, North America and Latin America), as a special program under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Joining the University’s Faculty of Design, as of August 1,2020 are Angela Bains, Kestin Cornwall, Kathy Moscou, Michael Lee Poy and Marton Robinson.
The hiring of these five new faculty members is part of OCAD U’s dedication to the implementation of its Academic Plan that articulates a commitment to decolonization, diversity, and equity.
Under the leadership of Dr. Dori Tunstall, Dean, Faculty of Design at OCAD University, the Faculty sought candidates who could demonstrate how their lived experiences as Black people informed a deep commitment through their work to intersectional Black communities and whose theoretical, technical, and making/design expertise fulfilled one or more of the current areas of need within the Faculty.
“It brings real tears of joy to welcome these five Black faculty members to OCAD University and address the Faculty of Design’s 144 years of Black underrepresentation,” said Dr. Tunstall. “The overwhelming support of the Black communities in sharing the call and applying to the positions was crucial in making this Black Cluster Hire a success.”
“This is an important announcement within today’s context, given recent anti-Black racism protests and events. It shows how OCAD University is working towards structural change and to find ways to address the longstanding underrepresentation of Black faculty at our University,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University.
“OCAD U understands that valuing diverse creative practices and forms of knowledge are essential to, and enrich, the institution’s core mission and vision as an art and design university with a local and global scope,” added Dr. Diamond.
The hiring committee used Black Cluster Hire profile equivalencies to redefine profiles of excellence based on levels of historical exclusion from post-secondary institutions: Traditional Academic (fully embedded in postsecondary institutions), Praxis Star (limited access to or exclusion from post-secondary institutions), and Community Connector (experiences of exclusion from post-secondary institutions).
The International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015–2024, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in a Resolution (68/237) adopted on December 23, 2013. The theme of the International Decade is "People of African descent: recognition, justice and development."
Meet the newest members of OCAD U’s Faculty of Design:
Angela Bains is a co-founder and strategic director of TransformExp, an award-winning design firm. Originally from the UK, Bains has more than 25 years of experience in the design industry, working on social change causes, including the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign and commercial accounts including: BBC Television, Swatch Canada, Westinghouse Canada, and the Ritz-Carlton.
She has been invited to speak and host at the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) - International DesignThinkers Conference (Vancouver & Toronto). Most recently, her expertise was covered on CBC and CKNW 980. Bains has taught Strategic Design part-time at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
She has been honoured by her students through six consecutive annual nominations for the BCIT Teaching Excellence Awards which she has won three times and in addition, she was nominated nationally for the RGD - Canadian Design Educators Award of Excellence.
Kestin Cornwall grew up in the Windsor, Ontario area. His father is Grenadian and his mother is American. He spent much of his youth in Detroit Michigan with family. In 2001, he moved to Oakville, Ontario to begin his training at Sheridan College.
While completing the Art Fundamentals and Illustration programs, Cornwall’s focus and love for the arts grew quickly. He increasingly combined both classical drawing and painting with modern digital reproduction and screen-printing.
Over the past 10 years, Cornwall has focused on creating relevant progressive art. He uses images to explore the notion that culture and entertainment, including film and other media, shape the mass public perception of black people and people of colour in North American culture. Cornwall critically charts current political, social, and economic landscapes with compositions brimming with references to media, popular culture, music and art history.
He enjoys challenging what’s considered “common” and feels it is the duty of an artist to add beauty to the world while invoking the unending social responsibility to capture thought. Many of his influences include contemporary graphic realism, street art and old comics, with a complimenting factor of mystery. Each piece depicts an analysis of our obsession with beauty, age and change. Cornwall lives and works in Toronto.
Kathy Moscou’s background is eclectic and unique, merging visual arts and health. Her lived experience, born as an African-American, informs her art, focus on Black cultural aesthetics, contemporary design for social justice, commitment to the Black community and choice of research, which focuses on equity and empowerment of Black and Indigenous youth in Canada, the United States and across the African diaspora.
Moscou’s experience, contributing to the education of post-secondary students and exhibition history, spans more than 20 years. Her PhD research of pharmacogovernance and comparative health policy addresses equity in drug safety and governance to foster healthy communities.
The representative stories in her art, deeply rooted in Black cultural traditions, explore contemporary issues of racism and identity by challenging viewers to see and think beyond contemporary stereotypes, the framing they put on the world and which the world places on them. She uses design, colour, form, and symbols to communicate concepts of Kujichuglia (self-determination), Black cultural pride, resilience, agency and empowerment.
Her work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (Brandon); the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto); the M. Rosetta Hunter Gallery (Seattle) and the Bellevue Art Museum (Bellevue, WA).
Moscou embraces a human-centered philosophy of design that empowers individuals or communities seeking to address specific issues to contribute to or collaborate with the designer/design team in designing solutions.
Michael Lee Poy
Michael Lee Poy is an Afro-Caribbean artist-activist and architect in Trinidad and Tobago. His practice and interests are centered on post-colonial Caribbean design and fabrication in the festival arts – especially Carnival. A graduate of Pratt Institute of Technology in architecture (B. Arch.) and the Yale Graduate School of Architecture, Environmental Design (MED), Michael aims to use interdisciplinarity to augment the innovative, creative, and collaborative process of design.
Since 2015, Lee Poy has been teaching the Hero's Journey process as a design curriculum for graduate students in the Creative Design Entrepreneurship (CDEN) program in the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus.
By introducing the class to familiar and unfamiliar local icons, Lee Poy actively decolonizes learning, and deconstructs the “expert” paradigm. He does this in order to generate and inspire new and sovereign knowledge – allowing students from various backgrounds and disciplines to delve into both their historical and creative psyches.
For the past five years, Lee Poy has been incubating the Moko Jumbie Mas Camp workshops for children aged 7-17. The masquerade (mas) camps were designed and implemented as socially-conscious design/build and fabrication/studio/lab workshops. They operate like a small design incubator/facilitator – just like typical Carnival mas camps. The students learn leadership training, team building, and balance and acrobatics. Eventually, the older students become experts and mentors for the younger ones.
Lee Poy’s architectural and design portfolio includes two buildings at the UWI, St. Augustine campus, the Trinidad Hilton Conference Centre port cochère, in addition to numerous commercial interiors throughout the island. He was co-chair of the UWI Ministry of Design: From Cottage Industry to State Enterprise Symposium (2015); and his work has been featured in Caribbean Beat Magazine (January 2018).
Costa Rican artist Marton Robinson has an interdisciplinary background informed by his studies in both Physical Education and Art and Visual Communication. He completed an MFA at the University of Southern California.
Robinson’s art, which is informed mainly by African-American traditions, challenges the conventional representations of black identities in art history, mainstream culture, and the official national narratives, especially those of Costa Rica. With an often ironic and rhetorical take on the constructs of racism, this practice endeavours to confront the hierarchies and conceptions inherited from colonialism in order to subvert the mindsets and prejudices ingrained in our social experience. Robinson’s work exposes the nuances present in the Afro-Latino experience, enriching the critical discourse of contemporary works of the African Diaspora.
Robinson has participated in exhibitions in spaces such as: The Getty Center, California; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, Costa Rica; Vincent Price Art Museum, California; Fundación Ars TEOR/éTica, Costa Rica; Museo de Arte Costarricense; New Wight Gallery, California; X Bienal Centroamericana, Costa Rica; Pacific Standard Time LA/LA; Aidekman Arts Center, Boston; Le Palais de Tokyo, France; Bergen Kjøtt, Bergen, Norway; Centro de la Imagen, México; ARTBO, Colombia; Prizm Art Fair; Mandeville Gallery, New York; Gallery GVCC, Casablanca; Museo Amparo, México; 21st Biennial Contemporary Art Sesc Videobrasil.