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Three faculty members recognized for outstanding achievements in research

3 portraits of OCAD U faculty members from left to right, Dr. Gerald McMaster, Dr. Alexis Morris and Professor Ilene Sova.

Image caption: The 2021-22 recipients of distinguished research awards are Dr. Gerald McMaster, Dr. Alexis Morris and Professor Ilene Sova.
 

Three faculty members recognized for outstanding achievements in research

Three faculty members are being recognized for their innovative contributions to research with the presentation of awards that celebrate distinguished and early stage research activities at OCAD University.  

Dr. Gerald McMaster, Canada Research Chair (Tier I) of Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice, is the 2021-22 recipient of the OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. 

This award recognizes faculty members for their outstanding portfolio of research, scholarship and creative activity, and the impact that this activity has had on the broad spectrum of art and design research and practice internationally. The award also recognizes contributions toward undergraduate and graduate research and scholarly training.  

This year, the OCAD University Award for Excellence in Early Stage Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity is being shared by Dr. Alexis Morris, assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Ilene Sova, assistant professor in the Faculty of Art and Chair of the Ada Slaight Contemporary Drawing and Painting program. 

This award recognizes promising, recently appointed faculty members for their outstanding promise to be distinguished researchers, scholars, artists and designers within a university context. 
 

OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity 

Dr. Gerald McMaster

Dr. Gerald McMaster is a curator, artist and Canada Research Chair (Tier I) of Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice. He is also a professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and director of the Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge at OCAD University.  

With more than 40 years of working internationally in contemporary art, critical theory, museology and Indigenous aesthetics, Dr. McMaster has worked at institutions that include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.  

He was selected as the Canadian curator to the 1995 Venice Biennale and 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. He served as the Canadian Commissioner to the 2010 Biennale of Sydney and the Artistic Director to the 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012. His most recent book is entitled Iljuwas Bill Reid: Life & Work for Art Canada Institute (2020). Dr. McMaster is a nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) and a citizen of the Siksika Nation.  
 

OCAD University Award for Excellence in Early Stage Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity 

Dr. Alexis Morris

Dr. Alexis Morris is the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in the Internet of Things and the director of the Adaptive Context Environments (ACE) Lab. His research transforms the way we interact with information, each other and the world by interweaving mixed reality and artificial intelligence.  

Dr. Morris is currently leading the talented ACE Lab team of OCAD U students, local researchers and collaborators in the design of mixed reality human-computer interfaces for the Internet of Things – one of the pillars of exponential change connecting our physical and informational worlds.  

An interdisciplinary computer scientist and a passionate techno-optimist, Dr. Morris hails from the Caribbean (Bahamas) and brings an eclectic international background and expertise in computer science to the OCAD University community. 
 

Ilene Sova

Professor Ilene Sova is the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting in the Faculty of Art at OCAD U. She identifies as mixed race, with white settler, Afro-Caribbean and Black Seminole ancestry. She is also an artist who lives with the disability of epilepsy.  
 
She passionately identifies with the tenets of intersectional feminism and has dedicated her creative career to art and activism. Sova is also the founder of the Feminist Art Collective and Blank Canvases, an in-school creative arts program for elementary school students.  

With extensive solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad, Professor Sova’s work has been most notably shown at the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, the Department of Canadian Heritage and Mutuo Centro de Arte in Barcelona.  

In her academic career, Professor Sova has trained educators on diversity and equity in the arts at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Harbourfront Centre. She also presented on decolonizing art curriculum with her colleague Nadia McLaren at Pratt University, the University of the Bahamas and the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design conference. In 2020, she was lauded in the national press for her development of a third-year studio cross-disciplinary course entitled COVID-19 Responsive Art.