Debunking the Bauhaus

Professor Jay Rutherford
Monday, September 23, 2019 - 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Please join Professor Rutherford on Monday September 23rd, at 6:30pm in room 420. 

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University - 205 Richmond St. West, Room 420

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 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.


Explore Design

Explore Design
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - 4:00am to Thursday, October 11, 2007 - 4:00am

2 days of interactive exhibits, seminars, and workshops

Offering programs and information in film, graphics and architecture to interior, furniture and fashion, meet Universities, Colleges, Institutions and Design Professionals from across North America.

Are you a student? Educator? Parent? Looking to find career inspiration and ideas? Here's a snapshot of some of the speakers who will be at ED...

ARCHITECTURE Phil Goodfellow and Susan Lewin from The TSA (Toronto Society of Architects), and John Shnier of Kohn Shnier shed light on the world of architecture.

INDUSTRIAL DESIGN Paul Rowan co'founder UMBRA discusses his design approach coined 'The Whole Brain Designer' and Senior Designer David Quan talks sustainable design.

GRAPHIC DESIGN Bob Hambly, of Hambly & Woolley an accomplished illustrator for clients such as American Express, Newsweek, Nike and Rollingstone talks of his experience and works with students in a logo design workshop. Hockey fans will be happy to know they're working with the man behind the new visual identity for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL! Among Hambly & Woolley's clients are the Ontario College of Art & Design.

GAMING DESIGN Bioware Games' Designer Kevin Barrett tells his story. For those who know and loveBaldur's Gate, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, this will be an exciting look into how these games came to be.

ADVERTISING DESIGN Michelle Donnelly of ZIG Advertising will talk about her design for the cool Virgin Mobile campaigns and how words and visual imagery play a huge part in the design process of commercials.

SKATE PARK DESIGN There is more to skating than ollies! Jim Barnum, former boarder now founder of Spectrum Skatepark Creations will be on hand to share some stories. Kids will be stoked to know he is designing the new Toronto Beaches/Ashbridges Bay skatepark!

FASHION DESIGN One of Canada's leading designers on the international fashion scene, Joeffer Caoc will be speaking firsthand about what it takes to make it in the design world.

INTERIOR DESIGN HGTV's Designer Guys ' Allen, Matt & Anwar will be speaking about how designing interiors can be cool, lucrative and fun! Hear the residential, commercial and retail design do's and don'ts with Linda Makins of Makins Ladna Design, Alan Guinan of Figure 3 and Lindsey Anacleto of Anacleto Design presented by ARIDO.

There is something for everyone at Explore Design. Visit to get the complete event schedule... and learn how to win the KRUPS Design Scholarship!

Venue & Address: 
Metro Toronto Convention Centre Constitution Hall255 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Design Research Presentation

Black poster with red and white text
Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

With Nancy Snow and Saskia van Kampen

Studying the benefits of reflective studio practice in the early stages of design education.

Beginning design students regularly struggle to articulate their intent and decision-making regarding the work they produce. This is often demonstrated through students’ naive engagement in iterative processes, simplistic articulation of concept, and ingenuous criticality when critiquing the work of their peers. Can a more holistic inclusion of writing into design process help students engage more critically with work they make and help them to engage in more purposeful critiquing of their peers’ work? Using Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Discipline methods this paper presents the framework for a study being conducted at OCAD University where writing is actively engaged in the design process. The purpose of the study is to help identify students’ knowledge gaps and support the evolution of design pedagogy. The identification of skills, approaches, and understanding of the beginning design student can aid in developing more relevant and specific curriculum.

On Tuesday, February 17th 2015, OCAD U Faculty of Design members Nancy Snow (Lecturer) and Saskia van Kampen (Assistant Professor and WAC Fellow) presented a paper at the Designing Critical Messages Symposium, held at Plymouth University, in the UK.  The symposium was presented in connection with Writing-PAD (Writing Purposefully in Art and Design), a UK-based organization that fosters collaboration between artists, designers, and writing instructors, with the aim of better understanding the writing needs of students in the creative disciplines.  Nancy and Saskia represented OCAD U and Canadian design education at the symposium; other speakers came from a variety of design institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and Parsons The New School for Design. The keynote was given by leading design researcher Lucy Kimbell, and among the attendees was prominent design educator and Writing-PAD co-founder John Wood.

Titled Learning Through and From Process: Studying the Benefits of Reflective Studio Practice, Nancy and Saskia’s paper presented a framework developed for a study currently underway at OCAD U in Communication Design 2 on the effects of writing assignments on students’ processes of design and critique.  The study, a collaboration between Nancy, Saskia, and Emilie Brancato (ELL Specialist, Writing & Learning Centre), examines whether a more holistic inclusion of writing into the design process can help students engage more critically with their making and help them to engage in more purposeful critiquing of their peers’ work.  The study documents students’ perceptions of themselves as writers and makers as they embark upon theoretical and empirical research, peer-to-peer criticism, and self-reflection. The assignment framework employs a pedagogical model that both draws upon Writing in the Disciplines (WID) approaches to writing instruction and honours the synergy between words/visuals, theory/practice, and practice/intent.  This study is being undertaken as part of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Initiative at OCAD U, which aims to improve undergraduate student writing through the integration of discipline-specific writing practice at all year levels of all programs.

Nancy and Saskia will be sharing their talk as well as the responses of other conference participants with the OCAD U community on Thursday March 19, from noon to 1 p.m. in room 530, 100 McCaul.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University  100 McCaul St. Room 530, 5th Floor