Skip to main content

Body

Image: Ice Cream Soda with Cookie (1963) by Claes Oldenburg.

 
Students reimagine the soft sculptures of late pop art heavyweight Claes Oldenburg

Graduate students at OCAD University are helping to ensure the legacy of Swedish-born American pop artist Claes Oldenburg, who passed away at the age of 93 in July, lives on, by giving viewers new ways to experience his soft sculptural work through the senses, beyond the visual. 

In May, Contemporary Art, Design and New Media alum Kyrie Robinson and Inclusive Design graduate student Parth Shah transformed Oldenburg’s delightful Ice Cream Soda with Cookie (1963) sculpture through sound, as part of the Inclusive Design Multisensory Museum class taught at OCAD U. 

Organized in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), students enrolled in the unique course consider how artists, designers, galleries and museums can create inclusive art experiences for audiences with diverse accessibility needs. Students, including Robinson and Shah, reimagine canonical visual artworks from the museum’s collection for visitors with disabilities and various forms of human difference using a range of high- and low-tech approaches including 3D printing, music composition, fragrance and even taste.  

Since the course was first offered in 2018, artworks and cultural objects, ranging from traditional landscape paintings, works of abstract expressionism, architectural features of the AGO itself and pop art sculptures have been re-presented by students using aural, tactile and olfactory perception methodologies facilitating a more inclusive gallery experience for all visitors. 

Through audio interviews and immersive sound experiences, Robinson and Shah offered alternative perspectives of Oldenburg’s cheerful pop art piece. Their project culminated as a video presentation that was shared online as part of the AGO’s Multisensory Moments series, just two months before Oldenburg’s passing on July 18, 2022.  

Shah and Robinson produced an audio description of the sculpture’s unique visual and tactile features, observing the tension created by its delicious appearance and frustrating inedibility. They also interviewed community consultants of varying ages (11 to 93) and professions (including an environmental designer and a medical doctor), recording their initial reactions to the artwork. 

The direct engagement of audience members or constituents for which a project such as this seeks to benefit is the foundation of co-design, a principle that is central to the Inclusive Design graduate program that the course is a part of. 

“The artwork brought up a lot of fond memories for people,” Parth notes in the project’s final presentation.  

“It was fascinating to see how this artwork transported people to the same place regardless of their age, gender, language, geographic location or culture,” Robinson adds. 

The multisensory translation also includes a soundscape Shah and Robinson have composed, capturing an imaginary diner, where the objects Ice Cream Soda with Cookie is composed of might be found. Sounds of clanking glasses, a waitress taking orders, a song playing from a jukebox in a distant corner, all capture the retro restaurant environment, transporting the listener to Oldenburg’s original place of inspiration. 

The AGO has a storied history collecting the pop artist's works, having acquired one of his most renowned pieces Floor Burger (1962) in 1967 for $2,000 (CAD). The sculpture, made of canvas filled with foam rubber and cardboard boxes, painted with acrylic paint, was met with controversy when it was first added to the museum’s holdings and gained renewed attention in 2012 when its restoration by AGO conservator Sherry Phillips was put on public display outside the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre on the museum’s second floor. Phillips carried out her preservation work in the open air of the gallery for visitors to observe and learn from.  

Multisensory objects created as part of the Multisensory Museum course often join the AGO’s tactile tours, which are led by Melissa Smith, Assistant Curator of Access and Learning at the museum. Smith, who was part of the development of the Multisensory Museum course along with former Inclusive Design Graduate Program Director and current Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD U, Dr. Peter Coppin, is now its primary instructor. Dr. Coppin and Smith discussed the course virtually in January, sharing with the community the course's creation and impacts.

Department
Keywords
News Summary
In a partnered course with the Art Gallery of Ontario students reimagine canonical artworks across the senses, beyond the visual.
Date
Banner Image
An ice cream float is visible in a glass on a white plastic tray with a metal spoon on a napkin to its right on a napkin.
Body
Faculty member Dr. Jutta Treviranus wins Women in AI award

Entrepreneurs, researchers, disruptors, innovators and social activists from across Canada, Mexico and the United States came together virtually for the Women in AI (WAI) Awards North America on May 13, 2022. The ceremony honoured top female leaders in artificial intelligence (AI) who are paving new ways in the field. 
 
Faculty of Design Professor Dr. Jutta Treviranus was among the eight recipients of this year's awards and was recognized with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) AI Leader of the Year Award at the prestigious event.  

“I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen from among such an amazing group of women from across North America,” Dr. Treviranus said of winning the award.  

“I need to acknowledge my team and the global community that helps in ensuring that human and machine decision systems treat people who are outliers and small minorities equitably,” she continued.    

Dr. Treviranus was celebrated, in part, for her work as the founder and director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre, an international community of open-source developers, designers, researchers, educators and co-designers who work together to proactively ensure that emerging technology and practices are designed inclusively.  

She has worked in the disability and digital inclusion field since 1979 and has since played a pivotal role in the development of accessibility legislation globally. Her first AI research project investigated the use of voice recognition and dysarthric speech in the 1980s. Dr. Treviranus established the Inclusive Design Research Centre in 1993, which helped to establish the practice of inclusive design that has since been adopted by large companies like Microsoft and the public sector internationally. In 2011, Dr. Treviranus led the creation of the Inclusive Design graduate program at OCAD U.  

“Designing with and addressing the complex challenges of people who are marginalized will benefit all of us. It will mean we are all better able to respond and adapt to unexpected change, detect emerging risks. It will help us reduce disparity, and it may help lift us out of current and future crises,” Dr. Treviranus commented. 
  
In 2013, she continued her work in AI research through a collaboration with the Government of Ontario’s Department of Transportation, evaluating automated vehicle machine learning models. She discovered that AI would amplify, accelerate and automate discrimination against outliers and small minorities and proposed AI systems that could address these inequities. She continued to address AI’s bias against minority groups and the implications for persons with disabilities in 2014, catalyzing a movement that has spread through talks, publications and research.  

Women in AI is a global network of female experts and professionals in the field of artificial intelligence working towards inclusivity in AI. The organization is led by some of the most prominent and influential women in the field and has more than 8,500 members across 140 countries.  

The WAI Awards are sponsored by iconic organizations in AI in Canada, including the Montreal-based machine learning research institute Mila, the Edmonton-based centre focused on industry applications of AI Amii and the University of Toronto partnered Vector Institute. 

The runner-up for the DEI AI Leader of the Year Award was Allison Cohen who is an Applied AI Project Lead, AI for Humanity at Mila. In this role Cohen works with AI researchers and social science experts on socially beneficial AI projects that have included a misogyny detection tool, an application that can identify online activity that is suspected of containing human trafficking victims and an agricultural analytics device that supports sustainable practices among farmers in Rwanda. 

The Canadian jury who selected the winners included University of Alberta professor Eleni Stroulia, engineer and IBM consultant Enikő Rózsa, co-founder of AltaML Nicole Janssen, University of Montreal postdoctoral researcher Taoli Cheng and engineering program manager AI and Special Projects at TELUS Ivey Chiu. Jury members assessed nominees’ innovation, research, leadership and global impact, as their criteria for selecting the award winners.

Department
Keywords
News Summary
A visionary in AI and accessibility, Dr. Treviranus has won Leader of the Year in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion category.
Date
Banner Image
Black and white composite image of eight women.
Body

When: April 12, 2022 10AM-12PM

Register here: https://bit.ly/PandemicDesign

The event will feature guest talks, discussion and a Q & A session with Dr. Gary Bloch, Tai Huynh and Sophia Ikura. The Q & A will be moderated by INCD Student Japjot Singh and DHEA student Beverly Freedman. An ASL interpreter will be present for accessibility purposes. If you have any questions or require any accommodations, please contact Josh Paglione jpaglione@ocadu.ca or Meichen Waxer mwaxer@ocadu.ca.

Dr. Gary Bloch, Family Physician with St. Michael’s Hospital and Inner City Health Associates

Gary Bloch is a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital and Inner City Health Associates, and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.  His clinical, program innovation, education, research, policy and advocacy interests focus on the intersection between primary care, health equity and the social determinants of health.  He is an AMS Phoenix Fellow and a Senior Fellow with the Wellesley Institute.

Tai Huynh, Creative Director, UHN OpenLab and Editor, The Local Magazine

Tai Huynh creative director at OpenLab, a design and innovation centre at the University Health Network. He’s also editor-in-chief of The Local Magazine and co-founder of Choosing Wisely Canada. Tai has an MDes degree from OCAD University.

Sophia Ikura, Executive Director Common Solutions Lab 

Sophia launched Health Commons to dedicate space to building practical solutions that address health disparities. The mission and vision for the Lab is the culmination of 18+ years of learning in health and social policy. Prior to this, Sophia was the Senior Director of Strategy and Community Engagement for health services planning in Toronto. She served as Senior Policy Advisor to three Ministers of Health and as Senior Health Advisor to the Premier of Ontario.

Date
-
Venue & Address
Online via Zoom: Register via Eventbrite for Zoom link. https://bit.ly/PandemicDesign
Cost
Free! All welcome!
Email
jpaglione@ocadu.ca mwaxer@ocadu.ca
Website
Type
Department
Keywords

Pandemic Design: Reflections and Paths Forwards. Sharing experiences of Pandemic related challenges, interventions, resilience, and success.

Banner Image
Health and Systems Equity Speaker Series
Event Display
Hide when event is over
Image
 Poster with light green background and abstract design with event title, date, names of guest
Body
Is AI increasing the disability hiring divide? 

Companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to screen job candidates, but how might this trend create bias in the hiring process, particularly for applicants with disabilities?

Microsoft and Kessler Foundation recently announced that OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) has received a joint planning grant from both firms to investigate the issue of AI screening bias in a project titled, “Optimizing Diversity with Disability.”

Part of the funding was awarded by Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility, a philanthropic program aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with disabilities. The program helps developers, NGO’s, academics, researchers and inventors to accelerate their work for people with disabilities, focusing on four key areas: the home, employment, education, and community.

The other grantor, Kessler Foundation, leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. The Foundation is a major non-profit organization in the field of disability, and a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve long-term outcomes -- including employment -- for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord.

Employers across Canada are currently missing out on the phenomenal range of abilities and skill sets candidates with disabilities have to offer. The one-year grant will support the IDRC’s research to identify how to improve the use of AI recruitment technology in order to make the hiring process more equitable, accurate and transparent.

“AI hiring apps that are frequently biased against employee diversification and applicants with disabilities are now deployed in more than 50 per cent of organizations. This leads to employee monocultures and increases the already high unemployment rate of individuals with disabilities who are ready to work,” says Dr. Jutta Treviranus, Director of the IDRC.

According to the Government of Canada, 59 per cent of Canadians with disabilities, aged 25 to 64, are employed compared to 80 per cent of Canadians without disabilities in the same age range. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened this disability divide.

In July 2019, the country's Accessible Canada Act came into effect, in a step towards a greater recognition of the importance of workplace disability inclusion.

The work of the IDRC continues this momentum and is part of a growing global community that proactively works to ensure that our increasingly digitally transformed world is designed inclusively. Through research, consulting, and training, the Centre identifies risks and catalyzes opportunities for equitable inclusion when new technical systems, such as AI-powered hiring systems, emerge.

Department
Keywords
News Summary
OCAD University has received funding to research the use of artificial intelligence in employee hiring.
Date
Banner Image
Close up photo of an eye
Body
Pui Yee Nikkie To
Pui Yee Nikkie To

OCAD U medal winner and Master of Inclusive Design grad, Pui Yee Nikkie To, has been awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s.

To was recognized for her innovative work to help the more than 74,000 children and youth with special needs in Ontario by ensuring complex sensory needs are met when designing children’s treatment centres — a first for the sector.

Mitacs, a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions, presented the award in a virtual ceremony held today.

To, who studied at OCAD University under Associate Professor Maya Desai, was recognized for her novel design guidelines that show how sensory considerations can be incorporated within children’s treatment centre environments to promote positive experiences for those dealing with sensory processing disorder. The results of her research are filling a gap in the industry, she said.

“Most building codes deal with mobility and physical access but fail to address sensory and cognitive needs,” said To, who found that as many as 90 per cent of children with autism spectrum disorder, and five to 16 per cent of neurotypical children experience sensory processing disorder, which can negatively impact their balance, motor coordination and response to stimuli.

“My goal is to promote independence, diversity and respect within these centres by allowing children who have different sensory abilities to access spaces and information equally,” she added.

What’s unique about To’s approach — which is based on literature, as well as observation, interviews, and co-designs conducted at the Grandview Children’s Centre in Oshawa — is that it applies sensory attributes such as sight, sound, smell, position and touch.

Targeting five main categories — wayfinding and navigation, public gathering spaces and amenities, transitional spaces, treatment spaces and recreational spaces — her design recommendations include details such as well-placed multi-sensory maps to augment signage in hallways, painted floor areas or movable maps to help associate specific activities to specific spaces, and sensory walls, colours and murals to create learning opportunities outside of treatment rooms and classrooms.

“When you walk into a children’s centre and you’re trying to get from point A to point B, it’s not just about including a sign with an arrow pointing right. It’s about ensuring the information is presented through a variety of modalities,” she explained, noting that a navigational sign might provide auditory or visual feedback, or use colour or touch to help get the message across.

This past summer, To presented her Sensory Design Guidelines to Grandview Kids, their design team B+H Architects and Colliers project managers, who are responsible for planning Grandview Kids’ newest centre in Ajax, Ontario, as well as to Empowered Kids Ontario, Infrastructure Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The guidelines will be incorporated as requirements for consideration in the new building's design. She is also working to create a simplified and more accessible version of her guidelines that can be used to inform the design of existing centres or construct future centres.

The Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s is presented to a Mitacs intern who has made a significant achievement in research and development innovation during their Mitacs-funded research.

To is one of eight Mitacs award winners nationally, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in Mitacs programs each year. The remaining seven recipients were recognized for outstanding innovation, commercialization or exceptional leadership in other areas of research.

In congratulating the winners, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director John Hepburn said Canada benefits from innovation derived from strategic partnership between industry, government and academia, ultimately helping to retain top talent on our home turf and spurring economic recovery.

“Whether our researchers study abroad and bring their expertise back to Canada, or develop groundbreaking ideas by tapping into resources across our country, their breakthrough work is changing the way we live and work,” Hepburn said. “Mitacs is honoured to play a role in supporting this important research and helping to advance innovation for the benefit of Canadians.”  

 

 

 

Department
Keywords
News Summary
A recent Master of Inclusive Design graduate, Pui Yee Nikkie To has been awarded the Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation — Master’s. Mitacs is a national innovation organization that fosters growth by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.
Date
Body

The 2021 Graduate class of Inclusive Design at OCAD University has worked hard this summer to create a virtual exhibition communicating their Major Research Projects (MRP). During an unsettling and unpredictable time, the class came together twice a week to explore what the gallery space is, what it has been historically, and what it entails post-pandemic. They heard from wonderful guest speakers working in a range of fields such as medical, accessibility (CNIB and Surrey Place), and curatorial. The guest talks and following discussions allowed the students to advance their own research projects, as well as collaborate and develop a virtual exhibition. Their work will be displayed in Pressbooks, a digital publishing site, beginning August 9th. Here, you will be invited to explore an array of projects, each with a unique inclusive position.

We hope you will join the Inclusive Design class for the opening of the exhibit, hosted on Zoom. Arrive online August 9th at 1pm EST to meet the designers and participate in live co-design sessions.

We strive to host an inclusive, accessible event that enables all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact erin.lee@student.ocadu.ca

Date
-
Venue & Address
Zoom
Cost
Free!
Email
erin.lee@student.ocadu.ca
Website
Type
Department
Keywords

Inclusive Spectrums: an inclusive digital exhibition featuring the major research projects from OCAD's Graduate class of Inclusive Design

Banner Image
Inclusive Spectrums: A Digital Exhibition.
Event Display
Hide when event is over

This year the one-day DEEP event will be the beginning of a series of challenge workshops that extend throughout the year. These workshops will address challenges that are important to all of us, but that don’t receive enough attention or investment because they are too complex or because the people that are most affected don’t have enough influence or power. We also hope you will get involved in many new and ongoing inclusive design projects. Our new projects are Code Learn Create and Project We Count. Code Learn Create is building inclusive educational coding tools, so that everyone can participate in this “new literacy”. We Count makes sure that people are not excluded from the data economy, and that data-based decisions are not biased against minorities, diversity and complexity. 

 

We are gathering our international partners to help us plan the next iteration of our Social Justice Repair KitFLOE and Platform Co-op Development Kit projects. 

 

The topics we will tackle are tough, but also personally relevant to everyone attending. Among the themes running through our discussions will be: 

  • ownership and agency in a data-driven world, 
  • how truth and value are determined, 
  • reversing rising financial disparity and political polarization, and 
  • the relationship between inclusion and sustainability.

We also intend to have fun and celebrate the opportunity to connect with old and new friends.

 

Cost
Free to register but please tell us if your plans change.
Email
deep@ocadu.ca
Phone
416-977-6000 x3967
Website
https://deep.idrc.ocadu.ca/
Date
-
Venue & Address
Location: Cooper Koo YMCA
461 Cherry Street
Toronto, ON M5A 0H7
Type
Department
Image
DEEP 2019, Designing Enabling Economies and Policies
Keywords

WAYFINDING AND COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FOR THE BLIND. PROMOTING INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTS AND NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEM FOR CHILDREN'S TREATMENT CENTRES. PROMOTING COMPASSION IN PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY CLINICS. AFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION THROUGH NON-WESTERN TYPOGRAPHIES. REDISCOVERING THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE OF CURSIVE INTHE DIGITAL AGE. ACTIVITYTRACKING FOR THE DIABETIC COMMUNITY.

Cost
Free
Date
Venue & Address
OCAD U Graduate Gallery 205 Richmond St. W.
Type
Department
Image
ocadu
Poster
WAYFINDING AND COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FOR THE BLIND. PROMOTING INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTS AND NAVIGATIONAL SYSTEM FOR CHILDREN'S TREAT
Keywords

Gallery visitors with vision loss have a new way to enjoy some iconic paintings at the AGO: using multisensory aids that allow them to “feel” the works on the wall.

The AGO already has multisensory tours that allow people with low vision to touch certain sculptures and listen to audio descriptions. Now, OCAD U students have designed 3-D replicas, or “translations,” of paintings to give visitors a sense of the mood and shapes in the images through touch.

Students in OCAD U’s Multisensory course chose four paintings for the project: Tom Thomson’s The West Wind, Otto Dix’s Portrait of Dr. Heinrich Stadelmann, La demoiselle de magasin by James Tissot and Jar of Apricots by Jean-Siméon Chardin. An electric fan, fruit and cold “slime” also help convey the experience of the paintings.  

The Multisensory course is offered to senior students (undergraduate or graduate), and is a partnership between the AGO and OCAD University. Lectures by various academic and museum experts, including Professors Peter Coppin and Beverly Dywan and the AGO’s Melissa Smith, teach students theories of sound and other senses for their translations.

“The translations are very effective for people with vision and other sensory impairments, but also helpful for others to find greater depth in their understanding of the chosen artworks. These provide better engagement from the visitors, which is a desirable quality for visitor experience at museums,” says Dywan.

You an read the Toronto Star's coverage of the project online. 

 

 

 

Inclusive Design (INCD)
Image
ocadu default
Keywords
Date

Pagination

of 0
Subscribe to Inclusive Design