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Image: Still from the animation Heart (2021) by Belinda Zhang, a 2021 graduate of OCAD U's Digital Painting and Expanded Animation program. Watch the full animated video here.

OCAD U offers new Experimental Animation program this fall

OCAD University has a long history of graduating successful animators in art and film. Just this fall art director and graduate Karen DeJong released Ron’s Gone Wrong, a computer-animated feature that has generated over $60 million in box office sales since its premiere in the United Kingdom.  

And now beginning in September 2022, the University will welcome its first cohort of undergraduate students in its new Experimental Animation program where they will have opportunities to develop the technical and conceptual skills to thrive in a range of creative industries. 

“OCAD University is the ultimate launchpad to explore innovative ideas, get exposed to diverse creative practices, find a community and develop a fulfilling career,” notes President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. 

Unique in Canada, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree will focus on animation as an artistic practice, offering students an exciting alternative to programs in the country that are primarily industry focused. 

“This program is about exploring creativity and curiosity. Students will develop their personal vision and push the boundaries of the art form,” says Philippe Blanchard, who contributed to the program’s vision while in his former role as Chair of Integrated Media and Digital Painting and Expanded Animation. 

“As faculty members we are interested in animation as a focus of critical inquiry as well as a medium that can tackle today's big topics through innovative storytelling in new and powerful ways,” he continues. 

With courses taught by experts in the field, including co-chairs, Associate Professor Wrik Mead and Assistant Professor Veronika Szkudlarek, students will learn to mix traditional and digital animation styles while learning all that is required to develop an animation project from concept to realization. 
“Experimental animation is a powerful contemporary medium. It sits so comfortably within the spirit of our times. It’s a pastiche of playful possibilities - from painting and drawing to movement and sound, to innovative technology and cross-disciplinary collaboration,” notes Szkudlarek.  

Those enrolled in the four-year program will be encouraged to explore a range of techniques and to discover the form of animation they are most passionate about. Whether it’s 2D or 3D animation, stop-motion, game development, augmented or virtual reality, graphic novels, installation art or a combination of approaches, students will be limited only by their imaginations. 

“The question, "what is experimental animation?" is an open-ended one that students will help to answer through their studies and work,” Blanchard says. 

Students will develop strong studio skills, critical thinking and be exposed to a wide range of artistic influences that will position them for careers as filmmakers, game designers, creative entrepreneurs and independent artists.  
Visit OCAD University’s website to find out more about the program and how to apply.  

News Summary
Graduates of the program will possess the technical and conceptual skills to thrive in a range of creative industries.
Banner Image
A digital graphic of a pond with lily pads and three animated characters.

connection_found is an online group exhibition organized by feelSpace featuring works by Ronnie Clarke, Taylor Jolin, Leia Kook-Chun, Madeleine Lychek and Paula Tovar, Noelle Wharton-Ayer, and Becca Wijshijer. At times humorous, and other times tender, these meditations illustrate the quirks of navigating intimacy in the digital realm as it inadvertently relates back to the body in the physical world. As the name connection_found implies, the works within this exhibition understand connection and intimacy in broad subsets: a found connection between an individual and their complicated cultural history (Wharton-Ayer), between lovers separated by an ocean (Lychek and Tovar), between strangers online (Kook-Chun), between the corporeal and the digital (Clarke), between where we are and where we’ve never been (Jolin), and with alternate versions of ourselves (Wijshijer). Together, these works trace and re-trace digital intimacy, touch, and the body as it moves and navigates towards the virtual realm.


More literally, connection_found also suggests the curatorial alignment of these works in a digital context which, in and of itself, requires finding connection. At the core of the exhibition, connection_found simultaneously expands, individuates, and links the collective experience of existing on the internet.


curated by feelSpace

feelSpace is an ad hoc interdisciplinary curatorial collective based in Tkaronto at OCAD University. The collective is interested in the implications and potential of curatorial practice within, through, and around digital spaces.


Image credit: Madeleine Lychek & Paula Tovar

Featuring works by: Taylor Jolin, Ronnie Clarke, Becca Wijshijer, Leia Kook-Chun, Noelle Wharton-Ayer, Madeleine Lycheck & Paula Tovar


Opening Reception Thursday, December 5th, 6PM-8PM

Graduate Gallery, 205 Richmond St. W. Level G

Venue & Address
Graduate Gallery 205 Richmond St. W. Level G
Connection_Found: An online exhibition curated by feelSpace



CodeX: playable & disruptive futurist eArt
January 22 to April 25, 2020  March 14, 2020
**OCAD University announced that the university will be closed from March 16 to April 24, as a cautionary measure to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. As a result, the CodeX exhibition has closed early with its last day being March 14, 2020**

Free public reception
Wednesday, January 22 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Jason Baerg
Tom Barker
Rob Elsworthy
Samantha Fickel
Dennis Kavelman
Nick Puckett
Six Trends Inc.
Jane Tingley, Cindy Poremba and Marius Kintel

Curated by Tom Barker

This exhibition of leading-edge digital art, or eArt, investigates the future of human society through technology, innovation and design. It encourages audiences to reflect on the symbiotic relationship between technology and human society, and the resulting possibilities for our future through algorithms, identity and the nature of reality.

The exhibition publication is available online here.


CodeX: playable & disruptive futurist eArt


Free Public Events

  • Curator’s Exhibition Tour
    Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m.
    Join Tom Barker for a tour of CodeX: playable & disruptive futurist eArt, as he shares his perspective on digital art and insight on the themes in the exhibition.
  • Can Machines Be Flawed Enough to Be Human?
    Wednesday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m.
    A panel discussion that will examine our growing dependence on glitchy AI learning for business and culture and how this affects our daily lives.
    Panelists: Jimmy Ba, Leyla Imanirad and Dr. Alexis Morris
    Moderator: Tom Barker
  • Exhibition Tour with Cindy Poremba
    Wednesday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.
    Cindy Poremba is a digital media researcher, game maker and curator. An Assistant Professor of Digital Entertainment at OCAD University, she has published work in journals, magazines and edited collections. Cindy also organizes non-traditional exhibitions as an independent curator and “new arcade” events as a member of the kokoromi experimental game collective.
  • Film Screening: David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1999)
    Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m.
    Set in the near-future, eXistenZ depicts a society in which game designers are worshipped as superstars and players can organically enter inside the games. At the centre of the story is Allegra Geller whose latest games system eXistenZ taps so deeply into its users’ fears and desires that it blurs the boundaries between reality and escapism.

Free Youth Workshops
Produced by Six Trends Inc.

  • Digitizer: Game Lab
    Saturday, February 8 & Sunday, February 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Demystify the game making process and reveal the secrets behind some of the world’s most popular games. Cover the art pipeline for making game worlds, game characters, and animation. Led by Rob Elsworthy.
  • Hello Sensor: Introducing IoT & Analytics
    Saturday, March 14 & Sunday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Build an IoT (Internet of things) device and get it to listen and measure the environment, connect it to the Cloud, analyze results. Starting with computer hardware and operating systems, you will discover why there are over 3 billion IoT devices and all the amazing possibilities offered. Led by Stephen Perelgut.
  • Building Computers 101
    Saturday, April 4 & Sunday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    The workshop will focus on learning the essentials to building a desktop computer. Learning about basic hardware requirements, installing an operating system, and adding programs and applications to customize it using free and open source software. Led by Ryan Fukunaga.
  • Steampunk From Junk
    Saturday, April 11 & Sunday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Imagine turning a school desk into an arcade console, or giving an old bicycle a high-tech collision warning system... maybe upgrading a toaster so it never burns the toast! Bringing together digital tech with junk is fun and helps to deal with the city’s garbage troubles. Led by Tom Barker.

    All workshops will take place at Regent Park Focus Media Centre, 38 Regent St.
    For free workshop registration go to and search for “codex”.  


Curator Biography

Tom Barker has worked internationally as a multidisciplinary creative in the fields of design, art, and technology for many years. Tom’s diverse and ground-breaking collaborations have included the capsule and boarding design for the London Eye ferris wheel with David Marks Julia Barfield Architects; creating the world’s first Bluetooth headset for Emkay; and projects with the late architect Zaha Hadid for buildings, dance and opera stage sets. He curated The Art of Shopping for the Arts Council of England in 2002. Tom contributed an interactive futuristic 3D walkthrough entitled Masterplanners of the Universe: Brick Lane for the Barbican Arts Centre’s blockbuster global touring show Game On: 2002-2016. Tom collaborated with Langlands & Bell on the digital interactive artwork entitled The House of Osama Bin Laden which won a BAFTA and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2004. He was the Founding Chair of the Digital Future programme at OCAD University 2012-2015. An author of many book chapters and papers, Tom’s book on Web App design was published by McGrawHill in 2019. A British citizen and permanent resident of Canada, Tom has lived and worked in the UK, Australia and Canada. He is currently the President and Chief technology Officer of Six Trends, a Toronto-based creative digital agency.


Artist Biographies

Jason Baerg is an Indigenous curator, educator, and visual artist. Curatorial contributions include developing and implementing the national Metis arts program for the Vancouver Olympics. Baerg graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts from Rutgers University. Dedicated to community development, he founded and incorporated the Metis Artist Collective and has served as volunteer Chair for such organizations as the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and the National Indigenous Media Arts Coalition. Creatively, as a visual artist, he pushes new boundaries in digital interventions in drawing, painting and new media installation. Recent international solo exhibitions include the Illuminato Festival in Toronto, Canada, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and the Digital Dome at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Rob Elsworthy has worked as a Game Designer, Cinematic Animator, VFX Lead and a System Designer with Rockstar Games. His projects include games like Grand Theft Auto IV and V, Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption and the Warriors. Rob has won numerous awards for these projects also a four-time MMVA winner as a Music Video Director.

Samantha Fickel is a Canadian artist who completed an MFA in Art and Technology at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016) and holds a BFA in Sculpture from OCAD University (2014). Using time-based, interactive, and immersive installations, she seeks to deconstruct familiar technologies in ways which invite unexpected sensory experiences. As one reviewer put it, her work observes that life is “equally vibrant on one side of a screen as another” (David Zarley, NewCityArt). Fickel’s work has shown in the flagship exhibition of Vector Festival Toronto (2017), and she recently had her first major solo exhibition at Stuart & Co Gallery in Chicago (2018).

Dennis Kavelman creates interactive digital art using machines, augmented reality, mobile devices, electronics and computers that use interaction to explore mortality and the passage of time. Dennis’ machine-based art is in the spirit of the mechanical computing that was initiated with the Jacquard loom in 1804 and Charles Babbage’s unfinished Analytical Engine in the 19th Century. Dennis’ work also resonates with the themes of control and communication explored by the Cyberneticists. An art collector as well as an artist, Dennis has a background in business and technology and was formerly an executive at Blackberry/Research in Motion. He is currently a partner at iNovia Venture Capital. Dennis has exhibited his work in Toronto at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in 2019, at The Spoke Club art gallery in 2018, Facebook’s offices in the MaRS building in 2017, and the Design Exchange’s EDIT show in 2017. His work was selected for exhibition at Governor’s Island New York City in 2018.

Nick Puckett is the Founding Director of Puckett Research+Design, a design practice focused on creating dynamic links between software, robotics, biological agents, chemical engineering, and material behaviour that generate new potentials for the design of intelligent environments. Nick is currently an Associate Professor, Co-Director of the ANThill Lab, and Chair of the Digital Futures undergraduate program at OCAD University. He has previously taught at institutions including The University of Kentucky, SCI-Arc, The Architectural Association, The University of Westminster, The University of Innsbruck, and The Royal College of Art.

Jane Tingley is an artist, curator, and Assistant Professor in Hybrid Practice at the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada. She received the Kenneth Finkelstein Prize in Sculpture, and the first prize in the iNTERFACES – Interactive Art Competition in Porto, Portugal. She has participated in exhibitions and festivals in North and South America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe including translife - International Triennial of Media Art at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, Despertar/Éveil/Alive curated by Groupe Molior in São Paolo (BR) and Technosensual at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna (AT).

Cindy Poremba is a digital media researcher, gamemaker and curator. She is an Assistant Professor (Digital Entertainment) at OCAD University who has published work in journals such as Games and Culture, Eludamos and Loading, as well as magazines and edited collections. Cindy also organizes non-traditional exhibitions as an independent curator, including Joue le jeu/Play Along (La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris), XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design (MODA, Atlanta), and “new arcade” events as a member of the kokoromi experimental game collective.

Marius Kintel is a professional software engineer who currently works at Thalmic Labs in Kitchener Ontario. As an artist Marius works with non-traditional materials and repurposes things and technology in unusual ways. His projects include multiple creations in the computer art subculture known as the demoscene, building a company in Norway that develops Open Source 3D graphics software, developing self replicating machines in the REPRAP project, as well as he is the primary developer of openSCAD.



Onsite Gallery is the flagship professional gallery of OCAD U and an experimental curatorial platform for art, design and new media. Visit our website for upcoming public events. The gallery is located at 199 Richmond St. W, Toronto, ON, M5V 0H4. Telephone: 416-977-6000, ext. 265. Opening hours are: Wednesdays to Fridays from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Free admission.

Onsite Gallery acknowledges that the new gallery construction project is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Canada Cultural Spaces Fund at Canadian Heritage, the City of Toronto through a Section 37 agreement and Aspen Ridge Homes; with gallery furniture by Nienkämper. Onsite Gallery logo by Dean Martin Design.

416-977-6000 x456
Venue & Address
Onsite Gallery, OCAD University

The Digital Futures (DF) graduate program at OCAD University invites you to "What the Futures?" - our annual graduate thesis exhibition. This exhibition features thesis projects (MA, MFA, and MDes) that explore a wide range of topics including audio alignment, augmented reality, colonialism, data visualization, ecosystems, experimental film, fashion, feminism, fetish, games, gaze, gender, horror, identity, immigration, internet of things, machine learning, neurodiversity, queer theory, sexual assault, speculative design, virtual reality, wayfinding, and more. LOCATION: TMAC (Toronto Media Arts Centre) 32 Lisgar Street, Toronto, ON M6J 0C7 OPENING NIGHT Friday, April 12, 2019 - 6PM - 9PM ADDITIONAL HOURS Saturday, April 13, 2019,12PM - 5PM Sunday, April 14, 2019, 12PM - 4PM Exhibitors: Chris Luginbuhl David Foster Dikla Revah Sinai Emilia Mason Emma Brito Feng Yuan Finlay Braithwaite Jad Al Rabbaa Kristy Boyce Kylie Caraway Max Lander Orlando Bascuñán Quinn Rockliff Ramona Caprariu Roxanne Henry Sana Shepko Savaya Shinkaruk Sean Harkin Tommy Ting Yiyi Shao "Our students don’t just make things with emerging technologies - they think creatively and critically about how, why, and when we should use and engage with these ideas and tools - and when we should not. The artworks, prototypes, demonstrations, and performances bring this research to life in a rich interactive format. We invite our colleagues from industry, fellow universities, art, design, and maker communities to come join us for this important and exciting exhibition." - Kate Hartman, Graduate Program Director, Digital Futures This event is presented by: Graduate Studies at OCAD University and CFC Media Lab

Venue & Address
TMAC (Toronto Media Arts Centre) 32 Lisgar St. Toronto ON, m6j0c9
The Digital Futures (DF) graduate program at OCAD University invites you to "What the Futures?"


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