Guerrilla Education! A Very Hands-On Open Education Week Event

Friday, March 8, 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm

Schedule of events

The Learning Zone

10:00 - 10:30am | Morning coffee

10:30 - 11:00am | Opening remarks and welcome

11:00 - 1:00pm | Panel and breakout sessions with

Sheila Batacharya, Writing Instructor, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, University of Toronto Mississauga

Amy Buckland, Head, Research & Scholarship, University of Guelph Library

Jairus Khan, Outreach, Internet Health Report, Mozilla Foundation

Serena Lee, Coordinator, Center for Emerging Artists & Designers

 Alexandra Hong, Project Officer, Center for Emerging Artists & Designers

Jess Mitchell, Senior Manager Research + Design, Inclusive Design Research Centre (Moderator)

1:00 - 2:00pm | Lunch

The Dorothy H. Hoover Library

2:00 - 5:00pm | Art+Freminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. 
Art+Feminism is a campaign improving coverage of cis and transgender women, non-binary folks, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia.

Facilitated by Ella Dawn McGeough

Everyone is welcome! 

No preparation necessary! 
Bring a laptop! (if possible)
Please create a Wikipedia account before the event! 
(It is easy to do and instructions are here: 


Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1 | The Dorothy H Hoover Library, 113 McCaul Street, Level 2., Rm 201
416-977-6000 x 224
Free Register at

Art & Design Graduate School Fair

Art & Design Grad School Fair
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 11:00am to 3:00pm

Are you considering graduate school to advance your career, deepen your practice or extend your research interests? This is your chance to learn more about MFA, MDes, MA/PhD programs throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Meet representatives from more than 20 of the best art and design universities and get the answers you need about funding and more at our Expert Panel Sessions.

Attend this free event on October 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at OCAD University, Great Hall, 100 McCaul St., 2nd Floor.

Expert Panel Sessions:

Get the answers you need, as prospective Graduate students, from the expert panel series Everything you ever wanted to know about grad school, but were afraid to ask at 113 McCaul Street (Annex), Room 512

Unbundling Higher Education: Alternative Credentials and Pathways
12 pm

Explore a variety of options: bootcamps, MOOCs, certificates, badges, and more! Our panelists hold advanced degrees and are involved in alternative learning pathways. Learn about the merits, drawbacks and questions to keep in mind when considering learning outside of formal structures.


Alex Leitch, M.Des
- OCAD University Digital Futures M.Des alum
- CEO of Artifact, a Toronto based software and interactive technology company

Lindsay Maynard, MFA
- Program Coordinator, Office of Continuing Studies, OCAD University

Lindy Wilkins, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
- OCAD University Digital Futures MFA alum
- Educator, Artist, Creative Technologist & Community Builder

Moderated by 

Serena Lee, MFA 
- Experiential Learning Coordinator (OCAD U Centre For Emerging Artists & Designers)


Funding Your Grad School Experience
2 pm

Get the answers you need about funding your graduate school education. Learn about grants, scholarships, awards and bursaries open to graduate students in Ontario from Anne Ahrens-Embleton, Manager of the Graduate Studies Office at OCAD U. And, hear from recent alumna, Katie Micak, about her experience funding graduate studies in Canada and the United States.


Anne Ahrens-Embleton, MMst, MA
- Manager, Graduate Studies Office

Katie Micak, MFA, MA
- OCAD University Digital Futures MA alum
- Syracuse University Transmedia MFA alum
- Artist, Researcher and Curator

Moderated by 

Farah Yusuf, MA
- Outreach Coordinator, Career Development (OCAD U Centre For Emerging Artists & Designers)

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, The Great Hall, 100 McCaul Street, 2nd Floor

The State of Blackness Database

Photo of community meeting participants by Anique Jordan.

The State of Blackness Database project is a searchable, web-based, annotated catalogue of key visual art productions, analytic essays, oral history interviews, research papers and colloquia presentations – produced by and about black Canadian artists, critics and curators from the late 1980s to the present.  The database seeks to provide visibility, and make accessible, information pertaining to black Canadian visual arts productions.

The State of Blackness Database will create a centralized site to house scholarly information and works by and about black artists and cultural producers. The database will provide access to material created by black artists, curators, and critics who, because of racial difference, have historically been at the margins of Canadian art production. It will centralize and disseminate knowledge from a cross section of disciplines including fine arts, design, and curatorial practice. The database will be made available in multiple modalities (text, image, and audio).

The database will provide insights into transcultural and transnational knowledge production in the context of Black Canada, highlighting its relationship to art education, the politics of representation, and inclusivity.

Content of The State of Blackness Database will include:

  • A listing of curators, contributors, and Black artists
  • Headshots, bios, and links to curators’ and artists’ website
  • Artworks
  • Past and current exhibitions projects curated by and about Black Canadian artists
  • Digital versions of exhibition catalogues
  • Essays, interviews, and papers on black Canadian visual art

This project will provide access to scholarly information on Canadian black visual art productions. It will also increase the visibility of black visual art and develop the Canadian discourse on Canadian black visual art. The project was inspired by discussions held at The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation Conference.

Phase I (completed October 2017)

Vtape supported Phase 1 of the State of Blackness Database project. Vtape is a distributor of historical and contemporary media arts work by local, national, and international artists. It houses a research centre that caters to curators, scholars, educators, and the public. Vtape is also a world leader in the preservation and archiving of video art. The organization is committed to education and provides technical and research training to undergraduate and graduate students, cultural workers, and community groups through their internship programs.


Guided by Andrea Fatona, and Vtape’s Artistic Director Lisa Steele, researcher Elisha Lim compiled data on Black Canadian video production and presentation activities that have taken place between the early 1980’s through 1999, cataloguing key visual and media arts curatorial projects, analytic essays, oral history interviews, research papers and colloquia presentations — produced by and about black Canadian artists, critics and curators from the late 1980s to the present. The research included an exploration of the programming archive at A Space Gallery and the Vtape holdings.

A community meeting was held in late October to discuss and vision ways in which end users of the information- black artists, cultural producers and community members -  can contribute to the processes by which new categories are developed to describe the materials. Preview access of the Vtape catalogue and a list of holdings by black artists were given to all attendees.

Other Resources:
The State of Blackness Website
 The State of Blackness on Youtube
The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation Conference


Group photograph of attendees at T.S.O.B. Vtape meeting
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 10:30am
Lab Member: 
Andrea Fatona

State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation Conference

The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation Conference brought together artists, critics, and curators to develop art education practices as a way of rectifying the invisibility of Blackness in Canadian art curriculum.  It engaged participants in dialogue about the history, current state, and future of black diasporic artistic practice and presentation in Canada.

The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation Conference focused on developing networks of engagement and knowledge exchange while developing methodologies and practices that inform the future of black Canadian artistic production and teaching.  The conference addressed:

  1. The role of post-secondary art education in perpetuating the invisibility of Blackness
  2. Broadening conversations and scholarship on the state of pedagogy in relation to blackness in Canada
  3. Making and strengthening connections across disciplinary fields including fine art, design, and curatorial practice
  4. Developing working education strategies that serve as resources for multicultural educators, curators, and researchers


The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation was a two-day interdisciplinary conference held at OCAD University and the Harbourfont Centre of the Arts in February 2014. It brought together 42 artists, curators, academics, students, and multiple publics to engage in dialogue about the history, current state, and future of black diasporic artistic practice and presentation in Canada. The conference included closed working sessions and public events.

Since the demise of Canada’s national black arts service organization, CAN: BAIA, in the late ‘90s, there has been little public effort to engage the multiplicity of communities and discourses that define blackness and its expressive manifestations in the Canadian context.  The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation conference was therefore a much-needed forum, as it placed issues of race and cultural difference at the center of a discussion with regards to the marginalization and simultaneous excess of Blackness in the realm of popular culture.

The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation conference created an interdisciplinary approach to teaching practices and curriculum content development in both universities and galleries. It allowed scholars and curators to network and share pedagogical strategies for disseminating the works of black artists. Documentation of the conference via podcast (include link here) archives the activities of the conference and provides research data for academics.

This project served to enhance the visibility of black cultural production in the context of multicultural Canada, and broadened critical knowledge about art practices and products. While attending The State of Blackness conference, several delegates successfully proposed to further the discussion by holding another forum of Black curators during the professional preview of the 56th Venice Biennale. The conference was also the inspiration for the State of Blackness Database project.

Other Resources:
The State of Blackness Website
 The State of Blackness on Youtube
The State of Blackness Database project
Expanded Context: Black Canadian Curators at the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2015

Conference participants included: Karen Miranda Augustine, Deanna Bowen, Sandra Brewster, Charles Campbell, Mark V. Campbell, Wayde Compton, Julie Crooks, Erika DeFreitas, Pamela Edmonds, Dominique Fontaine, Honor Ford-Smith, Richard Fung, Sylvia Hamilton, Jérôme Havre, Ebony L. Haynes, Johanna Householder, Camille A. Isaacs, Michelle Jacques, Alice Ming Wai Jim, Betty Julian, Olivia McGilchrist, Anna Jane McIntyre, Megan Morgan, Charmaine Nelson, Abdi Osman, Michèle Pearson Clarke, AboubakarSanogo, Adrienne Shadd, Dionne Simpson, Rema Tavares, Camille Turner, Gaëtane Verna, Rinaldo Walcott, Genevieve Wallen, Syrus Marcus Ware, and Natalie Wood.

Photograph of conference participants by Ella Cooper.

The State of Blackness Logo - text and a gradient in stacked rectangles from black to gray
Group photograph of participants at The State of Blackness Conference
Ontario Arts Council logo
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 10:00am
Lab Member: 
Andrea Fatona

The Value of an Art and Design Education

Art and design will always have intrinsic value. We all love beautiful, elegant, provocative and playful things. But when you’re making a decision about whether to spend four years of time, effort, fees and materials costs, we understand that it’s an investment. And it’s reasonable that you want to know what to expect at the end of the journey.

We’ve been telling you “Imagination is the new currency.” You deserve some evidence.


This is the question we hear the most often. And it’s a fair one. There are lots of confusing messages out there - whether it be the persistent notion of the “starving artist” or laments about the usefulness of the liberal arts degree in general.

We survey our graduates regularly. While we will never promise you a job at the end of your degree, we can tell you that among the OCAD U graduates of 2011, 82% say they were employed six months after graduation and 88% were employed two years out.

For sure, the first two years after graduation are difficult. Youth unemployment, currently about 16%, is a major problem in Ontario – even more so in Toronto. But the fact remains that a university degree is still better protection against unemployment - and a better predictor of long-term success - than any other form of education. And the market for creatives and cultural entrepreneurs is good - and getting even better.


The idea of the artistic genius working full time in their studio creating works that sell to collectors for tens of thousands of dollars is probably not a realistic goal for most young artists. Yes, some are able to do it.

But most artists will combine their individual creative practice with full or part-time employment, usually related to the arts. We call it “dual-tracking.” They often take short-term contracts or do freelance work, work on community projects, or teach art to adults or children. Some will support other artists or work for cultural organizations, galleries or museums, all the while, carving out time to develop their own practice.


Here’s what our recent alumni (graduates from the last five years) are doing:

  • 73% are either currently (59%) or have previously (14%) worked as a professional artist (broadly defined to include designers, fine artists, film makers, etc.)
  • Over 80% either are, or have been, self-employed.
  • Of those working within the arts, they work as graphic designers, illustrators or art directors, fine artists, curators, interior designers, web designers, craft artists, photographers, film and video artists, etc.
  • Among those not working in the arts, they are spread in a wide array of fields including communications, sales, office and administrative support, health care, education and management.


Graduate school is a goal for many of our current undergraduates - indeed over 60% of our fine art students, and 38% of design students tell us they intend to do at least a Master’s Degree after graduating from OCAD U.

Do they do it? Among our 2011 graduates, 9% had already completed another post-secondary credential within two years - the bulk of them (50%) a graduate or professional degree. (And some have even come back to OCAD U for our own graduate programs.) If we look at all of our alumni - stretching back decades and including those who attended OCAD when we did not have degree-granting status - 24% tell us they have gone on to graduate school.

So, yes, if you do well, you have the opportunity to go on to further education at the graduate level.


Much has been said and written about the value of a university degree, of a liberal arts degree specifically, and, to some extent, the fine and applied arts - much of it casting doubt on the return-on-investment.

Our alumni tell a different story: 86% say their training at OCAD U is relevant to their current employment. Among the skills they say they developed at OCAD U that are most useful:

  1. Creative thinking and problem-solving.
  2. Artistic technique.
  3. Critical thinking and analysis of arguments.

And it’s not just the creative industries and cultural sector that are looking for the skills we develop. A recent article in Forbes listed the “The ten skills that will get you hired in 2013.”  The top two? Critical thinking and complex problem-solving.

Creativity is in big demand in multiple sectors of the economy, driven largely by the growth in customized products and services. A recent study by Adobe found nine out of 10 professionals agree that creativity is required for economic growth.


Salaries vary depending on your field and the choices you make post-graduation. Some professional associations survey their members regularly and post salaries and billing rates. The Creative Group, a leading creative staffing agency, publishes an annual report of salaries across an array of fields. Using a site like, you can search for average salaries by occupation and geographic region. So do your research before picking your major. But the short answer is: you can make a living doing what you love.


Between 1991 and 2009, the creative industries in Toronto grew at the same rate as tourism and faster than financial services, the medical and biotechnology industries, and the food and beverage industry. By most accounts, this growth is expected to continue. Cities, increasingly, are seeing cultural entrepreneurs as a source of economic growth. Hamilton, for example, has identified the creative industries as one of six key sectors for their economic development plan.

At OCAD U, we hired a consulting company to do a deeper analysis for us around the opportunities available to our graduates. Among the employers in the creative industries they interviewed, more than half intended to hire more recent graduates into their firms over the next three years.


Glad you asked. Lots. And there’s more coming.

One of the advantages of attending a specialized school like OCAD U is that you are surrounded by practicing artists and designers, curators, critics, and scholars of culture and visual communication. And all of our career development resources are designed around helping you find your place in the creative and cultural sectors, or in applying your creative skills in the field of your choice.

Professional practice is embedded into the curriculum.  Here’s the trailerfor the new online version of a course called Creative Practice to give you an idea of what to expect.  (There’s a similar course for students in the BFA programs.)

Through the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers - which will soon be located on a full floor dedicated to student professional development in the redeveloped 115 McCaul Street building - we offer experiential learning programs (community and industry-based placements), alumni mentorship, workshops, networking events, and our popular Talent Network, which posts over 1100 art and design-related paid opportunities annually.


Ok, we hate to brag but…

Our hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization, The Imagination Catalyst, is currently home to 17 start-up companies and helps entrepreneurs build the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.

We run a series of Career Launchers - high profile opportunities developed in partnership with industry - to give a boost to our most promising grads.

We provide free digital portfolio space to all students via a unique arrangement with Format (a company founded by OCAD U grads!).

Our Financial Aid department runs a Financial Literacy Program to help students understand concepts like cash flow and credit ratings.

We have an Etsy ambassador on campus who works with students branching into retail, work with Indiegogo for students crowdfunding their projects, and we’re developing a living laboratory of freelance designers to help them get their start.


Here are a few ways you can get a real sense of what our graduates are up to:

Behance is the world’s largest network for creatives. You can narrow your search for OCAD U to see some of our students’ and graduates’ portfolios.

Check out our LinkedIn page to see where our grads work, all driven by the profiles they’ve created themselves.


Social Justice Arts Education: Opportunities, Challenges and Contradictions

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - 11:00pm to Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 1:00am

LOCATION : OISE - University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West - Room 11-164
TIME : 7pm - 9pm
DATE : Tuesday October 4, 2016


Andrea Fatona, Associate Professor, OCAD University, Toronto

Kathleen Gallagher, Distinguished Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Carmen Mörsch, Institute for Arts Education, Zurich University of the Arts

Patrick Scmidt, Chair, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Music Education, Western University


Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Associate Professor and Director of CMCE, OISE.

Venue & Address: 
Centre for Media and Culture in Education, 252 Bloor Street West, OISE
Event poster for Social Justice Arts Education