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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. 

News Summary
The 2021-22 recipients of distinguished research awards are Dr. Gerald McMaster, Dr. Alexis Morris and Professor Ilene Sova.
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3 portraits of OCAD U faculty members from left to right, Dr. Gerald McMaster, Dr. Alexis Morris and Professor Ilene Sova.

Image: Faculty of Design Dean Dr. Dori Tunstall presents Professor Emerit Avi Dunkelman with the Emerit designation at OCAD University's 2022 Convocation Ceremony. They are joined on stage with Chancellor Jaime Watt and President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. 

OCAD U honours faculty for their long service and dedication

OCAD University celebrated its faculty members at a virtual appreciation event on June 24 that honoured long-serving professors, retiring scholars and academic administrators who have completed their terms. 

“I want to thank you all for your incredible work, creativity, flexibility and commitment over the past year – it has continued to be a challenge with the ongoing pandemic, but as a community, you came together to ensure our students received engaging and enriching learning opportunities.,” President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano expressed at the beginning of the event. 

Gratitude to academic administrators completing their terms 

The festivities included an acknowledgement of the academic administrators who will be finishing their terms.  
“These faculty members are integral to the running of the University and to student success. I appreciate their contribution and for leading our colleagues through the uncertainties of a second academic year characterized by the pandemic,” said Vice-President, Academic and Provost Dr. Caroline Langill. 
The following faculty members were thanked for their service:

Faculty of Art 
Jason Baerg, Acting Chair, Sculpture and Installation and Integrated Media 
Judith Doyle, Chair, First Year Experience 
Dr. Jana Macalik, Acting Associate Dean, Academic Affairs 
Wrik Mead and Veronika Szkudlarek, Co-Chairs Experimental Animation 
Dr. Dot Tuer, Interim Chair, Criticism & Curatorial Practice 

Faculty of Design 
Dr. Sugandha Gaur, Acting Chair, Advertising 
Dr. Jay Irizawa, Acting Chair, Advertising 
Dr. Kathy Moscou, Interim Associate Dean Academic Affairs

Faculty of Arts and Science 
Nick Puckett, Chair, Digital Futures 
Dr. Alia Weston, Acting Associate Dean 
Dr. Ryan Whyte, Chair, Visual and Critical Studies 

Graduate Studies 
Dr. Andrew Gayed, Graduate Program Director, Art Criticism and Curatorial Practice  
Dr. Ashok Mathur, Dean, Graduate Studies and Vice-President, Research & Innovation 
Dr. Michelle Wyndham-West, Graduate Program Director, Inclusive Design 

Honouring long-serving faculty 

The gathering also featured a celebration of long-serving faculty members who have recently marked a milestone achievement in their roles at the University. The following professors were honoured for their dedication to the community and continuing commitment to art and design education:  

20 years of service  
Bruce Hinds, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design 
Jean-Christian Knaff, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design  

25 years of service 
April Hickox, Associate Professor, Faculty of Art 
30 years of service 
June Lawrason, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design 
35 years of service 
Judith Doyle, Associate Professor, Faculty of Art and Chair, First Year Experience 

Reflecting on the vibrant careers of retiring faculty members 

The event culminated with a show of deep appreciation of seven esteemed faculty members who will be retiring this year including: 

Dr. Doreen Balabanoff, Professor Emerit, Faculty of Design 
Doreen Balabanoff is an artist, designer, educator and administrator who over her years at OCAD University served as Faculty of Design Assistant Dean, First Year Design, Associate Dean, Academic and Faculty and Acting Dean. She has taught in several Graduate Studies programs, Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design, Inclusive Design and Design for Health. 
Frederick Burbach, Faculty of Design Associate Professor 
Professor Frederich Burbach has practiced design internationally for over 30 years. Known for his exacting eye for design and generous feedback for his students, Professor Burbach has taught graphic design, design history, typography and advertising at OCAD University for almost 20 years. 

Avi Dunkelman, Professor Emerit, Faculty of Design 
A graduate of OCAD University (then OCA) in 1980, Professor Dunkelman has expertise in corporate branding and visual identity. After studying design in Switzerland, he went on to found his own design firm Avi Dunkelman Design+Communications Inc. which has served clients internationally.  

Dr. Martha Ladly, Professor Emerit, Faculty of Arts and Science 
Specializing in teaching and practice-based research in design, art, media and technology, Dr. Ladly has taught in the Digital Futures graduate and undergraduate programs and the Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design graduate program (IAMD) at OCAD U. Dr. Ladly is the former Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, former Graduate Program Director of the IAMD program and founding Chair of the Research Ethics Board. 
Dr. Gayle Nicoll, Professor Emerit, Faculty of Design 
A professor in the Environmental Design undergraduate program and Inclusive Design and Design for Health graduate programs at OCAD University, Dr. Nicoll is a trained architect who taught at Ryerson University and was the Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Texas, after leaving her post as partner at Nicoll and Robulack Architects in 1992.   
Dick (Edmond) Rampen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design  
After graduating from OCAD University (then OCA) in 1980, Professor Rampen has been teaching for almost 40 years on subjects that include industrial design, plastics technology, prototyping and musical instrument design and construction.  

Michèle White, Professor Emerit, Faculty of Art Professor 
Professor White has taught for over 40 years and is well-known for her classes in the Drawing and Painting program. After graduating from OCAD University in 1978 (then OCA), Professor White has exhibited her encaustic paintings internationally, earning numerous grants and teaching awards along the way. She is celebrated for her commitment to equity and justice at OCAD U, championing the hiring of women and BIPOC faculty. 
Congratulations to all honorees! 

News Summary
The Celebration of Faculty Event showcased professors, deans and chairs who have made major contributions to the University.
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People in graduation regalia standing on a stage. A man is presented with a framed document.

Image: OCAD University's 2022 Medal Winners pictured on stage at the Celebrate Excellence reception on May 11. 

Celebrating OCAD University’s 2022 Medal Winners

On the evening of May 11, President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano announced this year’s OCAD University Medal Winners at the Celebrate Excellence reception, a beautiful outdoor event that recognized 23 top graduating students, held in Butterfield Park. 

Annually, one graduating student from each of the University’s undergraduate and graduate programs is recognized with a medal, in honour of their creativity, innovation and technical mastery in their chosen discipline.  

“Tonight is very special – not only because we’re here together in person after two years – but because we’re going to recognize a group of exceptional students who have gone above and beyond expectations in completing their OCAD U degrees – and during a very challenging time,” President Serrano expressed. 

The reception also included a blessing by Elder Dr. Duke Redbird and speeches by medal winners, Emerald Repard-Denniston from the Drawing and Painting undergraduate program and Walter Yim from the Design for Health graduate program. 

“I have so much to be thankful for," remarked Repard-Denniston. "Here at OCAD U we have received a great education thanks to our talented and supportive faculty. We are prepared to move on and to take on whatever challenges and successes come next in our lives,” she continued. 

The bustling party also marked the launch of GradEx 107, OCAD U’s annual graduate exhibition, which showcases the works of over 600 emerging artists, designers and digital media makers across the University’s campus.  

The evening included live art making by three OCAD University undergraduate students, a musical performance by violinist Dr. Draw and his band, a DJ set by OCAD U student Paper Skies and a welcome from Mitch Gillin, Vice-President, Asset Development at Hullmark, representing presenting sponsors Hullmark and BentallGreenOak. 

All this activity took place amidst a crowd of OCAD U community members, many of whom were reconnecting in person for the first time in two years. More than 6,500 visitors attended the opening night festivities.  

The work of all medal recipients are on view during GradEx, May 11 to 15.  

Meet the 2022 OCAD U Medal Winners 
Undergraduate Programs

Maria Naqvi’s South Asian-Canadian background allows her to bridge gaps and think critically when solving issues that address minority communities. Naqvi thrives on challenges and always tries to implement new strategies for communicating stories that go against the status quo. Naqvi believes the future of advertising relies on new perspectives, diversity and inclusion and is excited to be part of it! 

Criticism & Curatorial Practice 
Fabiyino Germain-Bajowa is a Nigerian-Canadian writer, curator and interdisciplinary artist based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her writing engages Afro-diasporic archives of thought and memory, passed down through oral history, food and acts of care. Her art practice and research centre Afro-diasporic experience to build an understanding of the ways archives of physical and immaterial knowledge are constructed in the Black community through the lenses of care theory, Afro-futurism, and archival studies. Her practice emphasizes community building and support, and her work is often based on her lived experiences as a Black queer woman.  
Cross-Disciplinary Art 
Parastoo Mahmoudi is a Canadian-Iranian visual artist currently living in Toronto. She studied human anatomy and portraits by drawing and sculpting life models and experimenting with different mediums and techniques. Mahmoudi's work is in collections worldwide, including in Tehran, Dubai and Toronto. Currently, she is working on immersive installations, performances, drawings and paintings to explore the relationship between her life experiences and how she became who she is. 
Digital Futures 
Sam Kingston is a designer exploring the relationship between humans and code, building robots that attempt to interpret and imitate thoughtful human interaction. His specialty involves identifying the subtleties in our built environments that are often overlooked during everyday interactions. He uses various 3D printing technologies to build mechanisms that interact with and automate objects which have been designed with people, not robots, as their intended user. 

Drawing & Painting 
Emerald Repard-Denniston is a queer Chinese-Canadian contemporary artist. She is committed to anti-colonial, anti-capitalist politics and activist work. Based in Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam/Vancouver and Tkaronto/Toronto, her practice focuses on the diasporic-Canadian experience through drawing, painting and digital media.  

Environmental Design 
Timothy Soribello is a designer who believes that rethinking the already built environment can unlock powerful possibilities in designing solutions. Soribello's thesis criticizes post-industrial ruins as culprits to the devastation of our environment. Rethinking these ruins, he used the abandoned Hearn Generating Station to magnify his argument's credibility. 
Graphic Design 
Maham Momin is a graphic designer and creative from Tkaronto/Toronto, with a specialization in expressive design. She's particularly interested in editorial and publication design that is speculative, critical and experimental. 

Toko Hosoya creates narrative-based images and objects. Originally hailing from Japan, her practice is currently based in Toronto, Canada. 

Indigenous Visual Culture 
Bert Whitecrow is a Two Spirited, multidisciplinary artist from Seine River First Nation. Their work explores methods of storytelling, through preserving and practicing ancestral knowledge. Indigenous futurisms, the belief of the inherent queerness in nature and their relationship to place are points of exploration throughout Whitecrow’s practice. 
Industrial Design  
Max Fine is a Toronto-based industrial designer student who is interested in the connection between sustainable technology and human behaviour. 

Integrated Media 
Marcella Driver-Moliner is a Toronto-based bilingual new media artist who hails from the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Driver-Moliner's practice is the joy of investigating the process of creating different visual languages and aesthetics to decipher unclear emotions such as loneliness, belonging, grief, self-depreciation and isolation.

Material Art & Design  
Aleena Derohanian is an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores the intersection of alien and UFO folklore, pop culture and the sublime. Her style can be identified through her use of bright colours, organic forms and an amalgam of materials. With a background in jewellery and silversmithing, Derohanian expertly incorporates semi-precious metals and stones into her mixed media sculptures. Currently she is exploring lamp and lighting fixture design with her unique aesthetic. 

Tizzi Tan was born in Yunnan, China. Her works are mostly lens-based, but are not confined to any specific medium. She focuses on the subtle perceptions of human activities and explores the meanings of existence under current social conditions.  

Printmaking & Publications 
Laur Flom is a multidisciplinary artist working mainly in printmaking and book arts. Based in Tkaronto/Toronto, their practice is largely conceptual, exploring themes surrounding identity, queerness and trans masculinity. 

Evgenia Mikhaylova is an interdisciplinary artist working in installation, video, sound, drawing and performance. Her work examines the complexities of perception, communication systems, language and epistemology through interdisciplinary research-based practice that investigates parallels between the ways we experience the world through our senses and the ways we interpret the knowledge we acquire. 

Visual & Critical Studies 
Nadia Spaziani is a Toronto-based researcher and writer. Her area of study is Ancient Greek material culture, specializing in building on existing theories of the period with contemporary ideas of psychoanalysis and feminist theories. Spaziani’s practice is based in the mythology of the Greeks and how the characters shaped societal values. 

Graduate Programs  

Contemporary Art, Design & New Media Art 
Maya Burns is an emerging writer and researcher based in Toronto. Her work explores the critical and pedagogical potential of quotation and appropriation in contemporary art.  

Criticism & Curatorial Practice 
Kalina Nedelcheva is a multimedia artist-researcher, emerging curator and musician, based in Tkaronto/Toronto. She explores the ways in which human consciousness engages in the process of meaning-making and has an interest in writing and film as mediums for theoretical storytelling. 

Design for Health 
Walter Yim has been a practicing dentist in Toronto for more than 30 years. His most recent design work explores how we might innovate healthcare through the lens of compassion, by exploring patient-centred methodologies. 

Digital Futures 
Candide Uyanze is a multimedia, multidisciplinary and multi-hyphenate doer of things based in Tkaronto/Toronto and Anishinābe Akì territory. Her practice explores diasporic storytelling, immersive web experiences, open-source tools, accessible media production, African languages and speech recognition.  

Inclusive Design 
Josephine Guan is a Chinese-Canadian artist that has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer and arts instructor. Her thesis research focuses on using arts-based methods like drawing and writing with brain injury survivors. Throughout all of her work, she’s most interested in facilitating conversations and using multiple ways of communicating. 

Interdisciplinary Master's in Art, Media & Design 
Juka Almeida 

Strategic Foresight & Innovation 
Carly Benson explores new frontiers in disaster risk reduction through human-centered design and foresight 

News Summary
This year, OCAD U celebrated its top graduates with a lively in-person reception in Butterfield Park.
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A group of OCAD University graduates standing on stage outside, smiling.
Congratulations to our graduands!

When more than 700 OCAD University graduands cross the stage to accept their degree on June 17, it will be a cause for celebration says President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. 

“Our community is so excited to gather together in person to celebrate the tremendous achievements of our graduating students,” says Serrano. “These emerging artists, designers and digital media makers are poised to use their creativity, skills and knowledge to make transformative change in our communities – here and around the world.” 

Convocation returns as an in-person event at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday, June 17 with two ceremonies. The morning ceremony at 10:30 a.m. will confer degrees to graduands in the Faculty of Design while the afternoon ceremony at 3:30 p.m. will celebrate the graduands in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts and School of Graduate Studies. 

“Convocation is the highlight of the academic year and represents a significant milestone in the lives of our graduates,” says Serrano. “It will be a delight to share the energy and space with our graduates as they embark on this new chapter in their professional lives.”  

Students who graduated in Fall 2021, Winter 2022 or are graduating in Spring 2022 will participate in this year’s Convocation, which will also be livestreamed. 

Convocation to feature installation of President and Chancellor 

The morning ceremony will feature two installation ceremonies, one for Serrano, and one for incoming Chancellor Jaime Watt. Serrano is the University’s first BIPOC President and Vice-Chancellor and joined the University on July 1, 2020 at the height of the pandemic. 

Watt, who becomes the University’s fifth Chancellor, served as Chair of the University’s Board of Governors for the past four years. Well-known for his service and leadership at OCAD U, Watt has made outstanding contributions to advancing human rights and equality issues, and for supporting the arts and culture sector. As Chancellor, Watt will preside over Convocation and confer degrees. 

“It is a tremendous honour to be selected to serve as OCAD University’s Chancellor, especially as we work to meet the challenges left to us by the pandemic,” says Watt. “I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the University in this new and meaningful way.”  

Honorary doctorate recipients 

Convocation will also include the presentation of five honorary degrees to exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to the fields of arts, design, culture, education and to the ideals of OCAD U. The recipients were nominated by the OCAD U community and will be announced in June 2022. 

Health and safety protocols (updated May 24, 2022)

Wearing masks

  • Guests and graduands are required to wear masks when inside Roy Thomson Hall unless they are eating and drinking.
  • Graduands may remove their masks while crossing the stage during the ceremony (in support of photographs without masks).
  • All guests and graduands are encouraged to wear masks outdoors if physical distancing is not possible.

Additional measures

  • The OCAD University stage party will refrain from hand-shaking and remain physically distanced.
  • Guests and graduands should not attend the ceremony if they are feeling ill.
  • For graduands and guests unable to attend Convocation in person, or who may be immunocompromised, OCAD U is livestreaming the ceremony. Visit the Convocation Information Page on June 13, 2022 for more information.
News Summary
OCAD U is excited to announce that Convocation will be held in person on June 17 at Roy Thomson Hall.
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A woman in the foreground wearing lipstick sits in an auditorium, with many others sitting and clapping.

A Liberal Studies Talk with Naomi Kritzer, Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules and Dr. Sara Diamond

Cats Rule the Internet explores emerging dimensions of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning relevant to art and design thinking and practices. “Cats” is one of the most searched for terms on the Internet, and YouTube videos starring felines account for more than 26 billion views. The “LOLcat” meme holds its place as classic click bait. The panel takes a cat’s eye leap onto speculative imagining about non-human intelligence and the ways that social media and underlying machine learning technologies use and then structure our human agency.

Cats Rule the Internet is moderated by Dr. Sara Diamond, Faculty of Arts & Science, and features speculative fiction writer Naomi Kritzer and new media artist and designer Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules, who will present their work and engage in dialogue with Dr. Diamond and the audience.

A picture containing icon

Description automatically generatedNaomi Kritzer   ;  @naomikritzer

Many science fiction writers and novelists have imagined agents and robots with human-like emotion. In Naomi Kritzer’s Cat Pictures Please (Clarkesworld Magazine – Science Fiction and Fantasy), an intelligent agent struggles to analyze humans by their cat pictures and tries to improve their behaviours, raising questions about General Artificial Intelligence and machine compassion and human compulsion. In this and other stories, Kritzer, an accomplished speculative fiction, fantasy and science fiction writer and winner of the Hugo Award, contemplates the ethics and flaws of a caring agency in the context of contemporary challenges with data, privacy, behavioral analytics, human consciousness and machine learning. Kritzer’s most recent published book is the young adult novel Chaos on CatNet.  

Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules 

Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules is a Canadian media artist and designer working between generative art, live performance and interactive design in Europe, Canada and virtual space. Data labeling is the fuel that powers machine learning. Desbiens-Desmeules points out our role in supplying free labour for platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk or Google’s Captcha Challenge in her I’m Not a Robot  project. She generates images that are impossible to identify, even for humans, feeding thousands of images of cats to an AI model specialized in identifying cars. Desbiens-Desmeules discusses her work with AI systems, and the use of AI to both subvert and critique AI.

Venue & Address
& Live on OCAD U LiVE:

Liberal Studies Talk with Naomi Kritzer, Cadie Desbiens-Desmeules and Dr. Sara Diamond

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Cats Rule the Internet
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Held every year on March 21, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and creative expression.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) first adopted the dedicated day in 1999 with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity.

In honour of World Poetry Day, some of OCAD U’s top creative writers have shared the poems that continue to inspire their own writing.  

The cover of the book alphabet.Associate Professor Catherine Black is the Chair of OCAD U’s Creative Writing program, which she helped to develop. Her writing practice includes prose poetry and other hybrid forms such as lyric essays and experimental fiction. Professor Black’s work interrogates the construction of memory, the intersections of imagination and reality, motherhood and artistic practice, and the dissociative aspects of grief, trauma and addiction. In 2019, her book of prose, Bewilderness was published by Guernica Editions. 

alphabet (1981) by Inger Christensen  

A lament, a warning, an ode to the planet, alphabet is a long, sectioned poem underpinned by the Fibonacci sequence, also known as the Golden Ratio. The text emerges slowly as an elegy, a veiled forewarning of nuclear threat and climate catastrophe, but it unfurls as a nearly ecstatic chronicling of the beauty of the natural world. The scope of this poem is astonishing. It flits from macro to micro in a single stanza or a single line and speaks so directly to this moment in time.

The cover of Bless the Daughter

Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts & Science Ian Keteku is a poet, musician and journalist. Born in Calgary and raised by parents from Ghana, Keteku’s work follows the lineage of ancient African storytellers by paying homage to the past by revisiting lessons from previous generations. Keteku is a devout practitioner of Afrofuturism, a philosophy that projects the Black experience into a celestial, technological future. 

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head: Poems (2022) by Warsan Shire 

Warsan Shire is a celebrated Somali-British poet who is known for her collaboration with singer-songwriter Beyoncé on the album, Lemonade and the musical film Black Is King. Shire’s latest book of poetry Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head foregrounds themes of migration, womanhood, trauma and resilience. The poetry collection is inspired by the writer’s life as well as popular culture and news headlines.  
Cover of the book Black Markets

Interim Vice-President, Research & Innovation and Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Ashok Mathur is a South Asian (Indo-Canadian) cultural organizer, writer and visual artist. Dr. Mathur is the author of a volume of poetic prose titled, Loveruage; a dance in three parts (1994), a long poem titled The First White Black Man (2017) as well as three novels. A long-time advocate of critical race theory as it pertains to the postsecondary institution, he works continuously to address radical forms of equity and Indigenous knowledge in his creative and professional practices. 

Black Markets, White Boyfriends, and Other Acts of Elision (1991) by Ian Iqbal Rashid  
The Heat Yesterday (1995) by Ian Iqbal Rashid  

Ian Iqbal Rashid is an eclectic writer who works in poetry as well as television. His poetry books, Black Markets, White Boyfriends, and Other Acts of Elision and The Heat Yesterday, are both wonderful examples of lives lived in the contexts of racialization and sexual identity, mediated by realities of class and urban living. Most recently, he has been critically acclaimed for his role on the writing team for the HBO serial Sort Of, demonstrating his versatility and range of writing. Rashid began his career in Toronto as an arts journalist, critic, curator and events programmer, particularly focused on South Asian diasporic, Muslim and LGBTQ2S+ cultural work.  

Rashid will be featured in an event this spring presented by SiteLines, a partnership between the Faculty of Art and the Office of Research & Innovation at OCAD University and the Canada Council for the Arts. The initiative promotes and supports the creative work of BIPOC artists and writers.

The cover of How She Read

Phoebe Wang is a Writing and Learning Consultant for English Language Learners for OCAD University’s Writing & Learning Centre. She is also a first-generation Chinese-Canadian writer who is currently the Writer in Residence at the University of New Brunswick. Her debut collection of poetry, Admission Requirements (2017) was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and nominated for the Trillium Book Award. Her most recent poetry collection Waking Occupations will be released later this month by Penguin Random House Canada.  

How She Read: Poems (2019) by Chantal Gibson 

Chantal Gibson’s debut book of poetry, How She Read is a collection of textured and innovative writing that Wang recommends to any reader who feels limited or outraged by the violence rendered upon racialized bodies. Drawing from grade-school vocabulary spellers, literature, history, art and popular culture, this publications shows the insidious longevity of imperialist ideas and the ways in which they are embedded in everyday things including storybooks, coloured pencils, paintings and postage stamps. Gibson, who is based in Vancouver, is also a practicing visual artist. Her poetry brings in acts of mark-making and redaction. How She Read shows how acts of critique and resistance can be so creatively abundant. 

News Summary
OCAD U’s creative writers recommend their top poetry picks.
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An open book on a desk with two stacks of books in the background.

Image: Still from Governor General's Award video portrait produced by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Dr. Gerald McMaster wins Governor General’s Award  

On March 2, the Canada Council for the Arts announced the 2022 winners of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, bestowed annually upon the country’s most accomplished creative practitioners. 

This year, nine artists and curators are being honoured in recognition of their exceptional careers and their remarkable contribution to  visual and media arts and fine crafts. The Governor General’s Awards are widely regarded as the most prestigious honour a Canadian artist may receive in their career. 

Dr. Gerald McMaster, Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science at OCAD University is among the recipients, earning the Outstanding Contribution Award.  

A curator, educator, artist and author, Dr. McMaster is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture and Curatorial Practice at OCAD U and is the director of the Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge at the University. He is nêhiyaw (Plains Cree) and a citizen of the Siksika Nation. 

He has worked internationally for over 40 years in the fields of contemporary art, critical theory, museology and Indigenous aesthetics at institutions that include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Canadian Museum of History.   

A peer committee selected the winners, who will each receive a $25,000 prize and a special-edition bronze medallion in recognition of their exceptional work. Video portraits featuring each of the artists have been created in their honour. 

“Gerald McMaster has curated numerous exhibitions that have been pivotal in changing opportunities for Indigenous artists in this country and abroad. He has changed the intellectual and creative spaces for Indigenous art within institutions,” noted Dr. McMaster’s nominators Jocelyn Anderson and Sara Angel, both of The Art Canada Institute along with Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh of Remai Modern. 

“McMaster has played a critical role in transforming the presentation of institutional collections of Indigenous art and in bringing together the historical and the contemporary to change the conversation around permanent collections,” they continued. 

Toronto-based visual artists Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge have also been awarded a Governor General’s Award this year, in the category of Artistic Achievement.  

The art duo is known for their socially engaged photography that explores local and global issues concerning the environment, climate change, health care, mass media, workers’ rights and immigration. Condé and Beveridge attended OCAD University when it was named the Ontario College of Art in the 1990s and were the recipients of an Honorary Doctorate from OCAD U in 2010. 

Congratulations to all recipients of these prestigious awards! 

News Summary
A writer, curator, artist and Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Dr. McMaster is the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award.
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A photo of Dr. Gerald McMaster walking down a hallway.
The Watering Hole: A Conversation

Date: February 18, 2022
Time: 12 to 1 p.m. 
Where: Click on the Zoom link to join the event.
Open to the public.

If you could have lunch with one person from Black history, who would it be? 

Seven OCAD U faculty members will reflect on this question at this Friday’s edition of The Watering Hole, in celebration of Black History Month. Tune in, as acclaimed faculty and staff share research interests, current projects and their academic and creative ambitions. This event takes place on Zoom and is open to the public.

The Watering Hole is a series of salon-style discussions between artists, community actors, students, and faculty. Join us for an illuminating and thought-provoking discussion with members of the Black Caucus.

Organized by the Creative Writing Program at OCAD University and the Black Caucus. 


Lillian Allen
Lillian Allen is a Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at OCAD University. Two time Juno Award winner and trailblazer in the field of spoken word and dub poetry, Allen artistically explores the aesthetics of old and new sounds in music to create her distinctive leading edge brand of Canadian reggae with new world sounds in her poetry recordings, with her powerful reggae dub poetry/spoken word recordings including her latest single Woken & Unbroken (2018), album ANXIETY (2012), her groundbreaking first solo Juno award winning album Revolutionary Tea Party, a Ms. Magazine Landmark Album, followed by another Juno winner, Conditions Critical. Her third album, Freedom & Dance and her recording for children and young people, Nothing But a Hero, were released to critical acclaim.

Kestin Cornwall
Kestin Cornwall is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design who 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 his family. In 2001 he moved to Oakville, Ontario, to begin his training at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Over the past ten years, Cornwall has focused on creating relevant progressive art. Cornwall's work aims to ask questions regarding equality, immigration and what it means to be Black in North America. Cornwall uses images to explore the notion that culture, entertainment, including film and other media, shape the mass public perception of Black people and people of colour in North American society.

Dr. Camille Isaacs
Dr. Camille Isaacs is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at OCAD University. Her research focuses on the Black Atlantic region, everything from the Black British idiom as shown in Zadie Smith's work, to West Indian inclusion in the Harlem Renaissance, to the burgeoning Black Canadian literature of Esi Edugyan. Dr. Issacs is especially interested in how identity shifts between ethnic and racial markers, particularly for Black people in North America. 

Michael Lee Poy
Michael Lee Poy is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University. He earned a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Pratt Institute of Technology in 1995 and a Masters in Environmental Design from Yale School of Architecture in 2004. While in New York, he established himself as an emerging installation artist in several group shows and designed/fabricated masquerade costumes for Peter Minshall in Trinidad’s Carnival. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Lee Poy is now a registered architect in Trinidad and Tobago and was on the executive board of the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects (TTIA) as Honorary Secretary and Chair of Education. Before founding Atelier Lee Poy Ltd. in 2007, he worked in Trinidad as a junior architect at acla:works. 

Esery Mondesir
Esery Mondesir is an Instructor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University. He is a Toronto-based filmmaker who was born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti. He worked as a high school teacher, a book designer and a labour organizer prior to receiving an MFA in cinema production from York University. His work, which includes documentary, fiction and experimental narratives, takes a critical stance on modern-day social, political and cultural phenomena to suggest a reading of our society from its margins. 

Peter Scott
Peter Scott is an Instructor in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. His background includes business management, executive education-programming, from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Executive Programs. He holds a Master’s Degree in Design in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University. His research focus includes integrative and design thinking, entrepreneurship, social innovation, social finance and micro-finance.

Dr. Alia Fortune Weston
Dr. Alia Fortune Weston is an Associate Professor of Creative and Business Enterprise at OCAD University in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. Through her research and practice Dr. Weston explores the intersection of business, creativity and social change. She takes a critical theory perspective to question dominant research paradigms and redefine how we understand knowledge; exploring themes such as critical business practice, economic sociology, creative work in resource constraints, community empowerment and innovation and experiential food methodology.

Venue & Address
Online (Zoom):

Join OCAD U faculty members as they reflect on the question, "if you could have lunch with one person from Black history, who would it be?" at this virtual public event.

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The Watering Hole with Members of the OCAD U Black Caucus
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Portraits of seven OCAD U faculty members with their names written above, from left to right, Dr. Camille Isaacs, Peter Scott, Esery Mondesir, Dr. Alia Weston, Kestin Cornwall, Lillian Allen and Michael Lee Poy.

OCAD U mourns the passing of Dr. Ananda Shankar Chakrabarty

OCAD University is mourning the recent passing of Dr. Ananda Chakrabarty, an assistant professor who taught in OCAD U’s Faculty of Arts and Science. 

In a message to the community, President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano extended the University’s sincere condolences to Dr. Chakrabarty’s family and friends, and to all those in the community who knew him, worked with him or studied in his classes. 

A virtual community gathering was held on Thursday, January 13, 2022 to remember Dr. Chakrabarty, share memories and be with each other at this very sad time.

Ananda Shankar Chakrabarty

Having grown up in India, Ananda moved to France as a young man to pursue his passion for jazz guitar. After becoming an accomplished musician, he leveraged his musical expertise and piercing intellect to gain entry to the Maîtrise in Musicology program at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, even though he did not have an undergraduate degree. He remained at EHESS to complete a Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (MPhil) in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Jazz and Contemporary Painting. 

Fluent in Bengali, Hindi, French and English, in the late 1990s he profited from his multilingualism to move to the University of New Mexico for an MA in Art History before decamping to Northwestern University in Chicago for his PhD, producing a dissertation that explored the philosophical implications of late 20th century French aesthetic responses to archaeology and prehistory. 

Upon graduation, he taught at the University of Utah briefly before being hired at OCAD in 2006. His research interests included post-1945 European visual culture in terms of 20th century French philosophy and literary criticism/theory; impact of Asian art and philosophy on post-1950 Western art; post-colonial studies; and interdisciplinary studies of 20th century improvisational music and visual arts.

His time in Paris—when he became a close associate of the painter Pierre Soulages—strengthened his interest in the artistic, musical and literary avant-gardes of the 20th century and became the foundation for multiple writing projects about Soulages (including contributions to the book Dialectical Conversions: Donald Kuspit's Art Criticism and the journal RACAR) and about the influence of Asian art and philosophy on Western art (the basis of an article in Third Text), as well as inspiring courses about south Asian art, classic modernism and the intersection between music and visual art.

His friends and family will greatly miss his precise and wide-ranging intelligence, generous spirit, crackling energy and mischievous sense of humour. 

News Summary
Dr. Chakrabarty, who joined OCAD U in 2006, was an assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
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An image of Dr. Ananda Shankar Chakrabarty standing at a podium.
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.

Venue & Address
Online Event
(416) 977-6000 x482

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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President's Speakers Series Logo (April 2021)
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