Diverse Directions: 2016 Master of Inclusive Design Exhibit

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 4:00am to Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 4:00am

About the Delta cohort, Masters of Inclusive Design, 2016: Unique in perspective and talented in a diversity of fields, together the cohort found synergies to inform their individual ideations as they embedded the three dimensions of Inclusive Design in their projects: 1. Recognize diversity; 2. Inclusive process and tools; 3. Broader beneficial impact.

Visit the Exhibit and learn how these promising inclusive designers are making the world a more diversity-friendly and inclusive place.

Opening Hours: May 12 to 15, 11:00am to 6:00pm daily

Venue & Address: 
Open Gallery, 49 McCaul St.
DIVERSE DIRECTIONS poster with event info and letter X made of triangles

Faculty recognized for excellence in teaching

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 2:00pm

At the Faculty Appreciation Event on Thursday, April 28, six faculty members were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the student learning experience at OCAD University.

The Price Award, in memory of Mamie and J.H. Price, and the Non-Tenured Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. This year’s recipients are:

  • Emma Westecott, assistant professor and director of the game:play lab
  • Suzanne Stein, associate professor and director of the Super Ordinary Lab

Non-Tenured Award:

  • Sambhavi Chandrashekar, Inclusive Design

The Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre’s Inspired Teaching Awards were given to three faculty members:

  • Teaching Assistant: Tatjana Petkovic, Graphic Design
  • Excellence in Teaching First-Year Students: Mary Porter, Faculty of Art
  • Leadership to Advance Teaching: Colleen Reid, Associate Dean, Faculty of Design

The candidates were nominated by students, colleagues and supervisors on the strength of their dedication and passion for teaching and student learning.



Inclusive Design Institute helps UBER develop accessible transport

Friday, January 8, 2016 - 8:45pm

In fall 2015, Jutta Treviranus, director of OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute (IDI), moderated consultations between UBER and its stakeholders to develop improved transportation services to people with disabilities. uberWAV, launched this week, provides accessible vehicles at no extra cost to UBER users.  

“Torontonians with disabilities experience many transportation service gaps,” said Treviranus. “Equitable transportation is essential to participating fully in our community.”

In addition to stakeholder meetings aimed at developing community-identified design criteria, the IDI organized a Hackathon at the IIDEX conference to address design challenges presented by UBER and hosted UBER’s general manager, Ian Black, as a speaker at the annual DEEP conference.


Inclusive Design alum wins Design Research Award

Masters of Design in Inclusive Design
Angela Bourne & Doaa Khattab (far right) - recipients of Design Research Award
Friday, October 30, 2015 - 4:00am

Doaa Khattab (MDes ’15), an alumna of the Inclusive Design graduate program at OCAD University, is a recipient of the first Design Research Award, presented in conjunction with the Interior Designers of Canada and Milliken.

This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and innovation through interior design research.

Her work on inclusive wayfinding for visually impaired shoppers in grocery stores was selected for its potential impact on the human experience, and relevance to the profession.

The award was presented at the IDC’s 43rd Annual Meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 11, 2015.

Interior Designers of Canada - Design Research Award:

Inclusive Design Master's Program:

Aging 2.0 #30in30in30 | Toronto Pitch Event

Monday, September 28, 2015 - 9:30pm to Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 12:30am

#30in30in30 is an initiative supported by Aging 2.0 to encourage local communities around the world to host pitch events for new innovative products and services that stand to improve the lives of older adults. We are taking part in Aging 2.0's plan to host 30 Pitch Events in 30 cities around the world in 30 days.

5:30 – 6:00 Drinks & Networking
6:00 – 6:15 Welcome & Aging2.0 Introduction
6:15 – 6:30 Keynote Speech (Dr. Alex Mihailidis, AGE-WELL Scientific Director)
6:30 – 6:50 Round 1: Startup Pitches (3 Minutes Each)
6:50 – 7:20 Networking5:30 – 6:00 Drinks & Networking
7:20 – 7:40 Round 2: Startup Pitches (3 Minutes Each)
7:40 – 8:00 Senior Guest Designated Q&A
8:00 – 8:30 Audience Voting, Networking, Winner Announcement & Wrap Up

HOST: Mike King, Aging2.0 Toronto Ambassador

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

OCAD University grads honoured with Governor General's Academic Medals

Dermot Patrick O'Brien receiving his Silver Medal from President Diamond
Doaa Khattab addressing her fellow graduates at convocation
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 9:15pm

OCAD University’s recent convocation ceremonies included the presentation of Governor General’s Academic Medals to two Class of 2015 students. The awards are given annually to the undergraduate and graduate students who achieved the highest academic standing.

The silver medal went to Drawing & Painting student Dermot Patrick O’Brien, who maintained a thriving career in the advertising industry while studying. In the words of Natalie Waldburger, the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Print Media, “the insights, experience and self-reflection that Dermot brings to his work and his writing are a model for artistic practice.”

Doaa Khattab – a graduate of the Inclusive Design master’s program – received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. For her research project she designed an inclusive and innovative wayfinding system in grocery stores for visually impaired shoppers. “The Inclusive Design program urged us to think differently,” Doaa says, “so that we would understand users’ needs in order to proceed with the holistic thinking, ideating and creating process.”

OCAD University students win first place at provincial competition

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 4:30pm

Two OCAD University students have been honoured at CONNECT: EnAbling Change -- a province-wide post-secondary design competition.

  • Third-year Environmental Design student Xiaoyu Xu (Sherry Xu) won first place in the Architecture category.
  • Rickee Charbonneau, a student in the Master's of Inclusive Design program, won first place in the Industrial Design category.

CONNECT projects explore design that is accessible to the greatest number of people regardless of age or ability across all design disciplines.  

Open to all Ontario post-secondary design students, the competition called for “project ideas that remove barriers for people with disabilities and promote greater inclusion”.

The winners’ work will be on exhibit Friday, May 8, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., Toronto.



Gordon Waller, Interstice, the Disability Gaze, acetate sheets and Mac Mini. Photo by Christina Gapic
Spirit Synnott, These Aren't Simply Portraits, projections. Photo by Christina Gapic
Elaine Stewart, Wunderkammer, sculpture. Photo by Christina Gapic
Erin Finlay Rococco Spy (left) and Gordon Peteran, Repair a Prosthetic, sculpture (right) Photo by Christina Gapic

“The whole act of art is to be more open than the rest of the world.” Judith Snow, visual artist and social innovator

It’s fitting that disrupting/Undoing, an exhibition and salon hosted by OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Institute was held at the Open Gallery — the week of art and events held April 2-5 was collaborative effort that brought together a wide variety of artists working in different genres from across the OCAD U community. 

According to David Pereyra, postdoctoral fellow at the Inclusive Design Research Centre, disrupting/Undoing was a landmark effort towards what will become a much bigger annual event, involving more partners and collaborators from the university and beyond. Pereyra helped coordinate the exhibition/salon together with Cathy Berry, OCAD U’s Accessibility Manager, graduate students from Inclusive Design and Criticism & Curatorial Practice and other volunteers.

The exhibition and salon posed a challenge to disrupt and reframe the concept of disability, with the goal to feature a diverse aesthetic experience. Works melded artistic practice with new technologies and explored the possibilities of the human condition. Towards the end of the Open Space workshop with Judith Snow and Mike Skubic, some of the artists and participants joined together for an impromptu round table discussion. There’s no better way to capture the full impact of this talk than in the artists’ own words:

“Inclusive design benefits everyone. One of our themes is that we’re all in this together — we need to change things so that we use creative tools to include everyone from the outset, not just add things later.” Jan Derbyshire.

“I like the concept of inclusive design but also open design, anyone can come in and out, it doesn’t matter what physical body they inhabit.” Elaine Stewart

 “Disability doesn’t have to be so scary, it can be engaging and thought provoking. We’re all involved in so many communities and the possibilities are like ripples, having the opportunity to engage with other artists, technology and knowledge.” Spirit Synott

“My goal was to figure out answers to questions about how to keep ourselves open and vulnerable. The theme that emerged from my workshop was forgiveness, acceptance and embracing fears that are a part of our human existence.” Sarah Crosskey

“Disability affects everything, but not everything is about disability. I don’t think there is any such thing as disability. If a car is disabled, it doesn’t function — you can’t drive it on the highway, but for a person that’s not true. No matter how odd or unusual we are, we still function as people.” Judith Snow

Learn more:
Inclusive Design Institute


Inclusive developers collaborating while writing code in the IDRC. Image courtesy Government of Ontario.
Inclusive designers in the IDRC collaborate on a shared computer. Image courtesy Government of Ontario.

Were you aware that many of the innovations we take for granted today were motivated by a desire to design for someone with a disability? These innovations include email, the telephone, scanners and the smarts that know you meant to chose an “s” rather than a “d” on your smartphone.

This United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), consider designing for the full range of human diversity.

We are sparked to greater innovation when we consider more than the typical or average user. When we design for the full diversity of users, our designs are bound to benefit everyone. We are also tapping into the growing demand globally for inclusively designed products, a demand that is bolstered by an aging population. 

By the time you reach 75 years of age you have a 64 per cent chance of experiencing a permanent disability. Even if you are in the minority, without a disability, most of your family, friends and colleagues will experience a disability. This is not even counting situational disabilities such as when your hands are busy, your eyes are focused on something else, or you are in a very noisy environment.

A future-proof industry

This growing trend also means that if you want to join a new future-proof industry, you may wish to consider inclusive design. Not only is this new emerging industry highly likely to continue expanding but also, unlike many other industries, it is without negative social or environmental impacts. Inclusive design is a catalyst in the move away from mass production to more personalized design and production. It is part of a virtuous cycle that leads to greater economic inclusion. This means a happier, healthier and wealthier society overall.

Learn more

The OCAD U community is a great place to get involved in inclusive design. Among the university’s resources are the Inclusive Design Research Centre, a world leader in the topic, the Inclusive Design Institute, a regional research hub, and a MDes program in Inclusive Design.

Story by Jutta Treviranus, Director, Inclusive Design Research Centre and Graduate Program Director, Inclusive Design

OCAD U to offer Master of Design in Inclusive Design; Graduate Program in Digital Futures

Monday, January 31, 2011 - 8:15pm

(Toronto — January 31, 2011) OCAD University (OCAD U) is now accepting applications for two new graduate programs: a Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design* and a Graduate Program in Digital Futures (Graduate Diploma and MA, MDes, MFA)*. Applications for the 2011/2012 term will be accepted until Monday, May 2, 2011.

“These unique new programs address the Canadian digital economy’s ever-increasing demand for artists, designers, innovators and leaders in the fields of inclusive design, digital media and new technologies,” explained Dr. Helmut Reichenbächer, Associate Vice-President, Research and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at OCAD U. “The MDes in Inclusive Design, the first program of its kind in Canada and one of only two in the world, builds on and benefits from the recent addition of the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute to our campus, led by world-renowned inclusive design expert Jutta Treviranus. It is the only program in Ontario directly building capacity needed to address Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The Graduate Program in Digital Futures features unique partnerships with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab and the University of Waterloo, and builds on OCAD U's demonstrated strengths in practice and research in the fields of digital art, design and media.”

These new programs promise to produce graduates with the highly sought after skills and expertise needed in Canada’s creative and digital economies and present a significant contribution to further diversify Ontario’s expanding postsecondary education system.

Master of Design in Inclusive Design

What is Inclusive Design?
Inclusive Design is design that is inclusive of the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.

Inclusive design is important because:

  • An aging demographic with associated dramatic rise in incidence of disabilities makes accessibility an increasing concern;
  • Access to online services can no longer be considered optional — it is an essential part of daily life;
  • Exclusion and inequality have broad and devastating social and economic impacts for society as a whole, not only the excluded.

The focus of the MDes in Inclusive Design will be on building inclusive design expertise in digital media and information and communication technologies (ICT) and practices. This innovative program responds to the increasing demand for designers and developers with specialized knowledge in inclusive design principles and practices, and will produce graduates with the capacity to form, lead and sustain a much-needed community of expertise on digital inclusion, spanning multiple sectors. Graduates will apply their studies in all sectors that engage digital media and ICT systems, including government and education sectors, digital industries, entertainment, arts, culture, health, communication design, wayfinding, architectural systems design, mobile and interactive industries and many others.

The MDes in Inclusive Design is a low residency, two-year program with an executive style delivery format to accommodate the needs of working professionals and international students.

Key Features of the MDes in Inclusive Design:

  • The program is designed to be fully accessible to students and faculty with diverse needs, including students with disabilities and students for whom English is a second language.
  • Two on-site intensive summer sessions each year in which students will be engaged in intensive academic programming and collaborative experiences to familiarize them with fellow students, faculty members and researchers.
  • Innovative, engaging and interactive online courses which use highly interactive and engaging instructional design techniques. These include online collaborative group activities, discussion forums with guest experts, moderated synchronous chats, and guided online tours of both online and physical sites and examples.
  • Multidisciplinary seminars co-taught by world leaders in inclusive design and emerging information and communication technologies and practices.
  • Student engagement in successful, open source, open access international research projects addressing a rich diversity of issues and challenges related to inclusive design of ICT systems and practices.
  • A major culminating project relating to a real world issue that both develops and demonstrates the knowledge and skills gained during the course of the program.

Graduate Program in Digital Futures (MA, MDes, MFA and Diploma)

The Graduate Program in Digital Futures is a unique, practice-based program situated within the Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD U, a set of new cross-disciplinary programs in practice, research and innovation related to digital media and its emergent developments. The program builds on OCAD U's historic strengths in practice and research in art, design and media, providing ongoing innovation and foresight in curriculum, teaching, and creative digital practice.

Graduates of the program will contribute to the development and application of new knowledge in creative digital technology practices, content, and experiences, providing insights into human needs and desires in a technologically dependent world.

The Graduate Program in Digital Futures offers both a part-time Graduate Diploma and a full-time Master’s (MA, MFA or MDes). The Graduate Diploma is a course-based program offered on a part-time basis in order to provide flexible study options for working professionals and practitioners. The Master’s is a full-time practice-based program offered over five semesters.

Key Features of the Graduate Program in Digital Futures:

  • A partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab, whose established, critically-acclaimed post-graduate residency in digital media production will be integrated into both the degree and diploma programs. This unique collaboration will afford students the opportunity to engage in an Intensive Project/Prototyping Spring Institute held at the MaRS Discovery District;
  • A cohort-based Digital Media Immersion that kicks off the program with a full two-week grounding in digital futures, providing an introduction to the program and a foundation in the current state of digital practices, along with team building and leadership skills development in partnership with the University of Waterloo;
  • The opportunity for industry and research internships, a term placement with a local, national or international industrial media/technology industry or business. The internship provides students with industry and research opportunities to integrate the knowledge learned in first-year seminars with real world digital media business and production;
  • Participation in the annual Digital Media Producer-in-Residence program which brings internationally renowned practitioners in digital technologies and digital media production to OCAD U and the CFC Media Lab for a one-week residency during which they conduct seminars, and work directly with students on their projects;
  • International exchange opportunities with partner institutions in Europe, India, and South America.

Application information, program requirements and a list of faculty members for each program may be found on OCAD U’s Graduate Studies web pages at www.ocad.ca/gradstudies.

*pending approval from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.


Background Information:

About the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute
The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) is the reconstitution of the 16 year-old Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) of the University of Toronto at OCAD U. The IDRC, continuing the important international role of the ATRC, conducts multi-disciplinary, multi-sector research and development on the inclusive design of emerging information and communication systems and practices — or designing for diversity. IDRC research addresses the full lifecycle of information and communication systems and practices — from design to implementation to evaluation and policy. The IDRC research community values collaboration, broad participation, transparency, and openness. The Inclusive Design Institute (IDI) is a regional research hub, led by Jutta Treviranus, funded by both the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation with 8 postsecondary institutions as core partners, namely OCAD U, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Sheridan, George Brown College and Seneca College. The IDI shares the research focus of the IDRC. Both IDI and IDRC research projects engage a range of collaborating organizations from around the world.

About the Canadian Film Centre (CFC)
The Canadian Film Centre is Canada’s largest institution for advanced training in film, television and new media. A charitable not-for-profit organization, CFC is committed to promoting and investing in Canada’s diverse talent; providing exhibition, financial and distribution opportunities for top creative content leaders from coast to coast. CFC makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to Canada by launching the country’s most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world. CFC Media Lab is Canada’s acclaimed institute for digital media that provides a unique training, research and production think-tank environment for emerging new media artists, content developers and practitioners. CFC Media Lab has been experimenting with the interactive narrative form since 1997 and in the past ten years, have produced over 60 prototypes ranging from web-based interactive documentaries to “shuffle videos” — the creation of randomly generated movies on the iPod. For more information please visit www.cfccreates.com.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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Download this release as a PDF file.

For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)