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Winter 2022 President’s Speakers Series

Curated by President Ana Serrano, the President's Speakers Series showcases leaders in art and design who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) in conversation with OCAD U faculty members, sharing their international experience with our community. The series is presented by The Sherman Foundations.  
 

Sustaining Black Creativity: A conversation with Dr. Zoé Whitley 

January 11, 2022, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
Registration is now open for this virtual event 

The first event in the series, Sustaining Black Creativity features Dr. Zoé Whitley, one of the UK’s most influential art curators.  

Dr. Whitley, whose work as an exhibition maker and art historian focuses on contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora, will discuss the future of Black art with Associate Professor in the Faculty of Art, Dr. Andrea Fatona. 

The free-ranging conversation will focus on sustainability in the arts community, specifically, how to build a future where BIPOC artists thrive.  

Los Angeles-born, London-based Dr. Whitley began her career examining representations of Blackness in creative industries. Today, she is a Black leader in the arts and is at the forefront of empowering diverse voices.  

In 2007, while a curator at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, she presented Uncomfortable Truths, an exhibition that commemorated the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade and examined traces of this history in contemporary art and design. 

She went on to curate Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power in 2013, which showcased artworks by more than sixty artists in the United States, responding to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. She is currently the Director of Chisenhale Gallery.  

Moderator, Dr. Andrea Fatona is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Canadian Black Diasporic Cultural Production and is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Black Canadian Diaspora. Dr. Fatona's expertise focuses on issues of equity and representation in the arts. 
 

How to Dress a Terran Emperor:  
A Respectful Dialogue with Costume Designer Gersha Phillips 

Postponed. Check back for new scheduled date/time (formerly scheduled for February 11, 2022 at 10 a.m

The second event in the series, How to Dress a Terran Emperor: A Respectful Dialogue with Costume Designer Gersha Phillips features the award-winning costume designer in conversation with the Dean of the Faculty of Design, Dr. Dori Tunstall.  

The discussion will be rooted in Phillip’s experience working on a range of film and television productions including, Star Trek: Discovery and the role 3D printing and other advanced technologies play in her design process.  

Born in England to parents of Caribbean and African descent, Phillips and her family moved to Canada when she was 12 years old. Since then, she has worked in costume and wardrobe design with Hollywood's A-list including, Angela Bassett, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dwayne Johnson. She is currently working on the film, The Woman King, starring Viola Davis, set to be released in 2022.  

Her costume design work has been shown in exhibitions including Otherworldly: The Art of Canadian Costume Design at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2011. In 2022, her designs for Star Trek: Discovery will be on view at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. 

Together with moderator, Dr. Dori Tunstall, Phillips will address diversity and inclusion in film and television and offer tips on where design students might find professional opportunities in Toronto’s entertainment industry. 

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The initiative showcases BIPOC leaders in the creative sector.
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President's Speaker Series

OCAD U is hosting one of the UK’s most influential curators Dr. Zoé Whitley and famed Star Trek Discovery costume designer Gersha Phillips, as part of the President’s Speaker Series featuring BIPOC leaders in art and design.

Sustaining Black Creativity:
A conversation with Dr. Zoé Whitley

January 11, 2022 - 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EST)
Register for Sustaining Black Creativity: A conversation with Dr. Zoe Whitley

picture of Zoe Whitley leaning against a concrete wall
Dr. Zoé Whitley
Photo Credit: James Gifford-Mead

Join us for a conversation with one of the UK’s most influential curators and cultural leaders, Dr. Zoé Whitley on the future of Black art. The free-ranging conversation will cover the sustainability of diverse talent in the arts community, including how we can support the mosaic of artistic talent, while building a future where BIPOC artists thrive, including our galleries, monuments, street art and infrastructure. This includes the present and future of expanding art history and shifting institutional frameworks for artists. The talk will be hosted by Dr. Fatona, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Canadian Black Diasporic Cultural Production.    

About Dr. Zoé Whitley

Dr. Zoé Whitley is an American art historian and curator who has been Director of Chisenhale Gallery since 2020. Based in London, UK, she has held curatorial positions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate galleries, and the Hayward Gallery. She is a Black leader in the arts and is at the forefront of empowering diverse voices. Her work promotes exceptional Black and BIPOC art through local activism that reverberates globally. Her research interests include contemporary artists and art practices from Africa and the African diaspora. The sustainability of diverse talent is in the minds of many in the artistic community.

picture of Andrea Fatona
Dr. Andrea Fatona
About Dr. Andrea Fatona

Dr. Andrea Fatona is an independent curator, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University and a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Canadian Black Diasporic Cultural Production. She is concerned with issues of equity within the sphere of the arts and the pedagogical possibilities of art works produced by Black Canadians in articulating broader perspectives of Canadian identities. Her broader interest is in the ways art, ‘culture’ and ‘education’ can be employed to illuminate complex issues that pertain to social justice, citizenship, belonging and nationhood.  She is the recipient of awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and was the 2017/18 OCAD U-Massey Fellow.

Dr. Andrea Fatona will guide Dr. Whitley in free-ranging conversation on how she thinks we can sustain the multiplicity of artistic talent, while building the future where BIPOC artists thrive, including in our galleries, our monuments, street art, and art infrastructure.

How to Dress a Terran Emperor: A Respectful Dialogue with Costume Designer Gersha Phillips

Postponed. Check back to register for newly scheduled date/time (formerly scheduled for February 11, 2022 at 10 a.m)

Join us for a conversation with winning costume designer Gersha Phillips who will discuss the thinking and making of costumes for Star Trek: Discovery and her long list of film and television credits. Topics will include the role of 3D printing and other innovative technologies in costume design; diversity and inclusion in the film and television industry; and tips on where design students might find opportunities in the Toronto film and television industry. The talk will be hosted by OCAD University’s Dean of the Faculty of Design, Dr. Dori Tunstall. 
 

headshot of Gersha Phillips in front of a grey screen
Gersha Phillips
About Gersha Phillips

Gersha Phillips' merits an international eye for fashion. Born in England to parents of Caribbean and African descent, she and her family moved to Canada when she was twelve years old. Since then, her work has carried her all over the world. 

Phillips is currently designing for the feature film, “The Woman King” in South Africa, starring Viola Davis, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, scheduled to be released in 2022. Phillips is best known for her Costume Design work on the TV series Star Trek: Discovery (2017-2021), for which she won the Canadian Alliance of Film and Television Costume Arts and Design (CAFTCAD) award for Best Costume Design in TV Sci-Fi/ Fantasy in 2021. 

Phillips and her team have been nominated for three Costume Designers Guild (CDG) Awards, an Online Film and Television (OFTA) Award and a Canadian Alliance of Film and Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD) award. Alongside the seasons of Star Trek: Discovery, Gersha has designed eight Trek Shorts, also streaming on CBS All Access. Phillips was the Consultant on the first four episodes and Co-Designer of episode 101 of the eagerly anticipated Star Trek: Strange New World. After Star Trek: Discovery, rumour has it she’ll beam onto another Star Trek endeavour, keeping her creative energy in orbit for a while to come.  

Phillip's film credits include, but are not limited to, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2", “Miles Ahead'', "Life", and "The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones", which was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Limited television credits include "Incorporated", "House of Cards" and “Falling Skies.” Gersha is a member of IATSE 892, 829, and 873 Toronto. Phillips is a founding member of CAFTCAD, the Canadian Alliance of Film and Television Costume Arts and Design in 2008. 

Her costume design work was shown in exhibitions such as Otherworldly: The Art of Canadian Costume Design (2001 – 2012) at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the 12th Annual Art of Television Costume Design Exhibition (2018) at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) Museum in Los Angeles and in 2022 (dates TBA), Phillips Star Trek Discovery fans will be able to view Phillips costumes live and in person at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC which is scheduled for 2022.

Picture of Dori Tunstall smiling
Dr. Dori Tunstall
About Dr. Dori Tunstall

Dr. Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture and design. As Dean of the Faculty of Design at OCAD University, she is the first Black and Black female dean of a faculty of design. She is a recognized leader in the decolonization of art and design education.  

With a global career, Dori served as Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Dean at Swinburne University in Australia. She wrote the biweekly column Un-Design for The Conversation, Australia. In the U.S., she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, organized the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and served as a director of Design for Democracy. Industry positions include UX strategist for Sapient Corporation and Arc Worldwide. Dr. Tunstall holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.

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bobbyh@ocadu.ca
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(416) 977-6000 x482
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OCAD U is hosting one of the UK’s most influential curators Dr. Zoé Whitley and famed Star Trek Discovery costume designer Gersha Phillips, as part of the President’s Speaker Series featuring BIPOC leaders in art and design.   

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Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University, welcomed Dr. Marie Wilson as the first keynote speaker in the 2018-2019 President’s Speaker Series. Dr. Diamond also greeted special guest, Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, in front of a packed auditorium. 

An award-winning journalist and Commissioner of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), Dr. Wilson discussed the lessons learned from the TRC and how Canadians can chart a way forward in the context of reconciliation.

Dr. Wilson described the enormity of the trauma inflicted on Canada’s Indigenous population and mentioned that Canada is a very long way from what it needs to achieve when it comes to reconciliation. She commended Dr. Diamond and OCAD University for its commitment to Indigenous learning.

A member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC-Radio-Canada) and the Rideau Hall Foundation, Dr. Wilson is a prominent public speaker throughout Canada and internationally she brings acknowledged expertise on the successes and challenges of advancing reconciliation. She holds honorary degrees from six Canadian universities, and in addition to several professional awards, is the recipient of the Order of the Northwest Territories, the Order of Canada, and the Meritorious Service Cross.

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l-r: Dr. Sara Diamond, Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Dr. Marie Wilson,MPP Chris Glover and Dr. Bob Phillips
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