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OCAD U hosts Night of Ideas with Consulate General of France in Toronto, Alliance Française

A square graphic that reads “LA NUIT DES IDEES” “Plus?” and “” in pale yellow, against a dreamy backdrop of a starry night sky, and pink and yellow line drawings of clouds, books, music notes and more.

OCAD University faculty, thought leaders from across Toronto and artists and scholars from France will come together for an evening of idea-sharing, networking and festivities in February.

The feature event of the 2023 Night of Ideas – Toronto will take place on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, from 8 p.m. to midnight in The Starlight Room at the legendary El Mocambo, located at 464 Spadina Ave. The public is invited to join this important discussion and celebration of knowledge and ideas between countries and cultures around the world, embracing all disciplines in the arts and sciences. This will be the eighth edition of the Night of Ideas in Canada.

“OCAD University is excited to host the thought-provoking 2023 Night of Ideas on February 1,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. “The expert speakers are leaders and catalysts in their fields, who are unafraid to confront the issues and complexities of today, exemplifying OCAD U’s mission to advance interdisciplinary art and design education and research.”

Initiated in 2016 by the French foreign ministry, the Night of Ideas/La Nuit des Idées has quickly become a fixture on the French and international agenda. Each year, the French Institute invites all cultural and academic institutions in France and on five continents to celebrate the free flow of ideas and knowledge by offering, on the same evening, conferences, meetings, forums and round tables, as well as screenings, artistic performances and youth workshops, around a theme that each institution chooses to explore in its own way.

The 2023 theme, More? (Plus?), will explore the global trend of acceleration, accumulation and overexploitation through the lens of global warming and consumerism, aiming to reflect together, on ways of doing that privilege the diverse, the humble, the human and the earth.  

“This year’s theme of More? is a wake-up call to the devastating impacts of unbridled production, over-consumption and wanton exploitation that we’ve been witnessing as a society, of late,” says Serrano. “We’re at a tipping point. Artists and designers are essential to this conversation on how we can collectively engage with the planet to cultivate the profound cultural shifts and creative design solutions that we now need to meet this critical moment.”

“Faced with the organizing principle of the continuous replaceability of individuals and thingsthe predatory concept of More?the ‘Night’ will be a time and space to discuss practices of repair, improvement and care for people, places and things,” adds Hadrien Laroche, philosopher and Cultural attaché from the French General Consulate of Toronto and co-curator of the event, alongside Serrano.

Experience presentations from OCAD U faculty, including Ranee Lee, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design; Ésery Mondésir, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Art; and Ian Clarke, Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The lineup of expert speakers also includes Aurélie Brette, Partner Marketing Manager at Too Good To Go; Dr. Leïla Marie Farah, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, Department of Architectural Science at Toronto Metropolitan University; Emmanuel Pont, engineer and author; and Carolina Reis, artist, designer and curator.  

Presentations will be followed with an audience discussion, moderated by Charlène K. Lau, art historian, critic and curator at Evergreen Brick Works. Also moderating a panel will be Victoria Ho, Sustainability Advisor, Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability, OCAD U. Throughout the evening, enjoy the rap stylings of OCAD U staff member and entertainer, Les Seaforth.

This event is hosted by OCAD U in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Toronto and Alliance Française. Admission is free and food and drink will be available for purchase. Those interested in attending are asked to register on Eventbrite.

Learn more about the 2023 Night of Ideas.

Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m. student and alum showcase

Join Experimental Animation (EXAN) Chair Philippe Blanchard for an evening of short animations by OCAD U students and alums on the theme of "More with Less". The screening will take place on January 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Alliance Française, located at 24 Spadina Road. 

Artists include current students Derya Ozparlak, Charlotte Rose and Olivia Wilyman, IAMD graduates Eli Schwanz, Isaac King and bekky O'Neil, and EXAN graduate Joan Nuguid. The films propose diverse perspectives on sustainability, contemporary consumer culture and our relation to land and the natural world.

Night of Ideas poster