Recipients of 2018 OCAD University Research Seed Grant, Associate Professor Cheryl Giraudy and Assistant Professor Saskia van Kampen, Faculty of Design have just launched a two-year research effort with the working title Design ManifesT.O 2020: creating new ideas for Toronto. The project has begun with an audit of past and ongoing proposals, movements, policies, and calls to action that evolve art, design and creative endeavours of placemaking as part of transforming the city, including aspirations for greater equity, democratic reform, infrastructure, transit, amalgamation, and neighbourhood redevelopment.
The project launched with a public panel discussion as part of the 2019 DesignTO Festival at the Open Gallery, 49 McCaul. The panel of community-based activists, writers, critics, and makers, moderated by Councillor Kristyn WongTam, Toronto Centre Ward 13, shared their stories for grassroot endeavours and disruptive strategies for placemaking and included Author Dave Meslin, Community organizer Sabina Ali, Manager, Community + Policy Connections Ajeev Bhatia, and Public Art Critic Sarah Ratzlaff. Research Assistants Christine Xia and Samantha Matters contributed significantly to efforts of planning, and research collection. The research team has begun planning the second forum in collaboration with potential sponsors, and aimed for Scarborough neighbourhoods, to gather/listen to citizen efforts for community-based creative placemaking.
In conjunction with faculty partners, early plans for a ‘Creative Practice as Protest Workshop’ with Colloqate.Org, an award winning community platform for racial, social, and cultural equity in citymaking, are being discussed, potentially aligned with a student competition for new ideas for Toronto. Stories and information collected from all events, forums, workshops, as well as interviews, will form a rich database to explore and ideally manifest a creative artefact, be it video, book or toolkit for planning Toronto 2020 and beyond.