Mayor Tory makes public art announcement at OCAD University

l-r: Luis Jacob, Councillor Crawford, Dr. Diamond, Mayor Tory, Dr. Nagam.
Monday, November 18, 2019 - 11:00am

Today, City of Toronto Mayor John Tory proclaimed 2021 as the Year of Public Art, a year-long celebration of art and community. The announcement was made at OCAD University, Canada's largest and most comprehensive Canadian university of art, design and media. Working in partnership with artists, arts organizations and communities city-wide, the City will engage residents and visitors in a city-wide recognition of public art. 

Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University, welcomed Mayor Tory and Councillor Gary Crawford, in addition to artist and curator, Luis Jacob and incoming Artistic Director of Nuit Blanche, Dr. Julie Nagam, who also spoke at the event. "Public art can and should be front and centre to its residents, visitors and its identity," said Dr. Diamond. "Public art creates community hubs, spurs social engagement and promotes vibrant and inclusive communities."

The City's new 10-year public art strategy, to be presented to City Council for consideration in December will seek to renew its vision and commitment to public art. 

Over two years ago, Dr. Diamond initiated an independent academic study, Redefining Public Art in Toronto, that she co-led with Dr. Daniel Silver and their research teams at OCAD University, the University of Toronto, and an engaged group of advisors and funders. The study's recommendations included the expansion of public art, the need for publc art everywhere and the value of integrating public art into all aspect of city planning. Today's announcement by Mayor Tory represents an opportunity to put strategy into practice. 

OCAD University President Dr. Sara Diamond Named to the Order of Canada

Dr. Sara Diamond, President and VIce-Chancellor, OCAD University
Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 1:45pm

Today, Rideau Hall announced 83 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among them is OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Sara Diamond.

From the accompanying citation, “President Diamond has contributed immensely to the country’s arts, cultural and digital industry landscape. An accomplished and prolific artist, researcher and administrator, her revolutionary work bridges the fields of art, design, science and technology, notably in her current role as President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University (OCAD U), and previously at The Banff Centre. Under her visionary direction, she has positioned OCAD U as an eminent leader, one that champions innovative teaching and research, and fosters opportunities for Indigenous education and collaborative partnerships.”

Dr. Diamond was nominated for the appointment to the Order of Canada by OCAD U Chancellor Salah Bachir and OCAD U Chancellor Emeritus Catherine (Kiki) Delaney.

“As Chancellor of OCAD University, and a member of the Order of Canada myself, I commend Dr. Diamond for making OCAD U a leading educational institution in terms of innovation, research and design thinking,” said Chancellor Bachir. “I see firsthand, how Dr. Diamond advocates for our artists, designers and innovators who deliver creative solutions to create meaningful change.”

”Dr. Diamond has been tireless in her promotion of both the intrinsic and economic value of creativity, crossing sectors in the process, and creating new opportunities and knowledge in fields such as healthcare and finance,” said Chancellor Emeritus Delaney. “Throughout her career, she has worked in service of our nation, showing profound commitment to the values of equity, diversity, sustainability and community.”

Dr. Diamond holds a PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering from the University of East London, a Master’s in Digital Media Theory from the University of the Arts London and an Honour’s Bachelor of Arts in History and Communications from Simon Fraser University.

The Order of Canada is one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Close to 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.

Dr. Sara Diamond discusses the future of education at The Canada Future Forward Summit

Dr. Sara Diamond (second from right) at Canada Future Forward Summit
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 4:45pm

OCAD University's President Dr. Sara Diamond participated as a guest speaker at the Canada Future Forward Summit on a panel titled, The Education Equation: How should Canada's education system evolve for the future? Organized by The Globe and Mail, in partnership with McKinsey and CIGI, the two-day forum brought together some of the nation’s leading thinkers to discuss Canada's future.

The panel highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration between post-secondary institutions and businesses in order to increase local innovation, as well as the change in current desirable skills. According to Dr. Diamond, creativity is key to thinking outside of the box and OCAD U faculty does a great job teaching valuable skills to students with respect to design thinking. Many of OCAD U’s graduates become entrepreneurs thanks to great ideas.

Panel members also included: Karima Bawa, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Alex Usher, President, Higher Education Strategy Associates and Kyle Norrington, President, Labatt Breweries of Canada. Sheldon Levy, former CEO of NEXT Canada was the panel moderator.

New OCAD U research projects featured in Toronto Star

President Sara Diamond, left, and Dr. Alia Weston (photo courtesy: Toronto Star)
Friday, November 9, 2018

OCAD U is conducting research tied to Sidewalk Labs’ proposal for a “smart city” that would be built on a 12-acre site known as Quayside. In mid-September, ten research grants were made available to faculty members at post-secondary institutions and three of these grants were awarded to OCAD U researchers. The initiative is funded by Sidewalk Labs, Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto Foundation.

One of the projects that received funding, Culture Creates Bonds, is being led by President Sara Diamond and Dr. Alia Weston. The project, which studies how people build community bonds in neighbourhoods. was featured in the Toronto Star.

The OCAD U teams will be working on projects that address a diverse range of topics including Canadian models of community governance, community bonds and Toronto housing innovation:

1. Smart Communities as Platform Co-operatives

The research team will explore the potential advantages/disadvantages and feasibility of applying the platform co-op model to the development of an online platform that is needed to organize a smart city. The research team has global expertise in platform cooperatives and inclusive design.  

Research team is led by Dr. Jutta Treviranus

2. Housing Typology Innovations

SystemCITY Research Group investigates innovative affordable housing projects, partnerships and possibilities, both locally and globally. This project interprets local affordable housing innovations within the larger context of innovative new global housing typologies and strategies.

Faculty: Jeremy Bowes, Maya Desai, Neal Prabhu

3. Culture Creates Bonds

From OCAD U's Visual Analytics Lab: The study will concentrate on defining a specific set of key drivers, scenarios, and conditions that create natural human bonds in a residential or immediate neighbourhood. The focus of this research is on arts and culture activity within communities.

Faculty: Dr. Sara Diamond, Dr. Alia Weston, Marcus Gordon

Reports are due in late November and the findings will feed into a master plan for the Sidewalk development, slated to be completed by the end of the year or early in 2019.

President Diamond honoured by “Inspiring 50 Canada”

Rectangle with the portraits of the 50 women being honoured
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sara Diamond has been included in a list of 50 women leaders in the Canadian tech and innovation sectors to be recognized at a ceremony on Parliament Hill on Monday, May 7.

This event, Inspiring Fifty, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Senate of Canada, promotes the advancement of diversity in the STEM fields – recognizing that the recruitment and retention of women and girls in these sectors will foster innovation, inclusivity and an impactful workforce.

Also among the honourees is Jessica Ching, founder and CEO of Eve Medical. The OCAD U Industrial Design alumna developed her company in the Imagination Catalyst. 

For this inaugural Canadian edition of the event, the women were selected by a distinguished jury from a pool of 400 nominees. The project has been embraced by several other countries in Europe including the UK, France and the Nordic countries. The initiative was recently launched in South Africa.

The Parliament Hill ceremony will include a discussion with The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and remarks by The Honourable Senator Marilou McPhedran.

Inspiring Fifty is a Dutch-based organization that has launched multiple initiatives to highlight inspirational female role models in the tech and innovation sectors. 



President’s message

Happy new year to all faculty and staff! I hope you had a chance to relax and re-energize during the holiday break and I wish you much success in 2018. My time is focused on an intensified lobby for funding for OCAD University prior to the provincial election. The goal is to establish a wider base of partners, industry collaborations and donors; to continue to press for design policy and support; and to refresh cultural policy at all levels of government. As well, I am in conversation with the City of Toronto on its future cultural and economic development policies, Smart City initiatives and overall support for public art. 

Dr. Sara Diamond to speak at Sackler Colloquium

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 11:00am

OCAD University President Sara Diamond will deliver a lecture at the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Her lecture, Modeling New Knowledges – An Inclusive STEAM + D Imperative, is part of The National Academy of Science’s Creativity and Collaboration: Revisiting Cybernetic Serendipity Colloquium. 

The prestigious colloquium will explore ways that art/design and science/engineering/medicine research can yield productive partnerships that address the grand challenges of our times. It is an invitation to think different, to be ambitious, and to collaborate using powerful technologies and innovative social mechanisms.

The Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia address scientific topics of broad and current interest that cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. Each year, three to four colloquia are scheduled, typically two days in length and international in scope. Each colloquium is organized by a member of the NAS, often with the assistance of an organizing committee, and feature presentations by leading scientists in the field and discussions among one hundred or more researchers with an interest in the topic. 


Q&A with President Sara Diamond

As 2017 comes to an end, what are some of OCAD U highlights that come to mind?

Let us take time to reflect on our many exciting and memorable successes in 2017.

Dr. Sara Diamond moderates panel discussion at BIO International Convention

Dr. Sara Diamond with panel members
Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 2:15pm

This week, President Sara Diamond moderated a panel discussion on gamification at BIO 2017, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry. Titled Game Theory and the Brain – How Gamification is Leading to Better Brain Heath and Outcomes, the panel discussion explored the relationship between internet quizzes and video games with better brain and mental health. Attendees learned about new gamification approaches in the guise of an internet quiz, which can identify markers for brain health and help lead to earlier assessment, diagnosis and treatment for patients.

Panel members included Michael Meagher, president and CEO, Cogniciti; Patrick Dwivedi, chief executive officer, Ehave, Inc. and Dr. Graeme Moffat, vice-president, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, InteraXon Inc. The speakers led an engaging and educational panel discussion on brain research, commercialization and care while confirming Ontario’s role as a world leader in these categories.

Culture Workers Unwind: September Event

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Do you work in the arts, culture and non-profit world and want to hear more from the folks who have made this city a cultural hub? Hot Docs and the Bloor St. Culture Corridor hold the fourth installation of this exciting discussion series.
Built for people working at all levels of the sector, this free and informal discussion series (with a bar!) features Toronto's leading arts, culture and non-profit professionals sharing the lessons they’ve learned while advancing their organizations and careers.

The discussion features:
Moderator: Brett Hendrie, Executive Director, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University 
Adrian Fung, Vice President of Innovation, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Ravi Jain, Associate Artistic Director, Soulpepper Theatre Company

4:00 PM-5:15 PM: Discussion 
5:15 PM-6:00 PM: Cocktails and networking

Presented with Bloor St. Culture Corridor.

Venue & Address: 
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema 506 Bloor St. West, Toronto
Poster for Culture Workers Unwind event