Dr. Alexis Morris Interviewed on CBC Spark

Assistant Professor Alexis Morris, director of ACE Lab and Canada Research Chair in the Internet of Things, has been featured in an interview with CBC Radio's Spark, hosted by Nora Young. The segement, titled "What living in a hyper-connected city means for human beings", explored the critical nature of context awareness when designing smart cities.

Listen to the full segment here: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/what-living-in-a-hyper-connected-city-means-for-human-beings-1.5107888


Research Funding Panel Discussion

Photo of panelists Ryan Rice, Ashok Mathur and Dori Tunstall speaking.

On Wednesday, April 24th the Office of Research and Innovation hosted an eye-opening discussion on research and arts funding applications and reviews, featuring panelists who have served as reviewers in the past. Topics included: keys to a successful funding application, navigating reviewers’ expectations, experiences with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and funding for the Arts.

Thank you to the panelists - Dr. Dori Tunstall, Dean, Faculty of Design; Dr. Ashok Mathur, Dean, Graduate Studies; and Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and SIS, - for sharing their wisdom and experience! 



Sesesiw (Yellow Legs) poster
Serious Play Poster
Monday, April 15, 2019 - 2:45pm

The Office of Research & Innovation is excited to announce the launch of the second iteration of the "THIS IS RESEARCH" campaign.

OCAD University faculty are engaged in inclusive, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research that audaciously and responsibly pursues the questions of our time.

THIS IS RESEARCH features posters and media showcasing the many forms of research at the University. You can see the first set of these on the many screens across campus and our website.

In concert with provincial efforts being coordinated through the Council of Ontario Universities, “THIS IS RESEARCH” will help to raise the profile of research performed across faculties by the creative professionals, scholars, and strategic thinkers that make up our research community.

If you would like your research to be profiled through “THIS IS RESEARCH” please contact our office at research@ocadu.ca.

See the first announcement here: https://www2.ocadu.ca/news/this-is-research

The Entangled Gaze... poster
Understanding Environments Poster
Sitting in a circle with Tahltan Ancestors on Tahltan Land poster
Enhancing Environments Poster

New Resources from the OCADU Research Ethics Board (REB)

Please see below for new resources available from the OCADU Research Ethics Board:

To make suggestions on other resources you would like the OCADU REB to develop, email cpineda@ocadu.ca.


Research Achievements

Congratulations to the following faculty on their recent research achievements:

  • Dr. Gabrielle Moser and co-applicant Carol Payne (Carleton University) have been awarded a SSHRC Connections Grant titled "Reparative Frames: Visual Culture After Reconciliation."
  • Dr. Gerald McMaster has been awarded a SSHRC Connections Grant titled "Arctic/Amazon."
  • Dr. Michele Mastroeni and co-applicant Francisco Alvarez have been awarded a SSHRC Connections Grant titled "Anticipating Futures: Forming, Reforming, and Transforming."

 For the Winter 2019 competition for the OCAD University Research Seed Grant, the Research Office received 23 applications of which a total of six were awarded. Congratulations to the successful applicants:

  • Dr. Gabrielle Moser
  • Kate Hartman
  • Veronika Szkudlarek
  • Dr. Lynne Milgram
  • Dr. Suzanne Morrissette
  • Dr. Marta Wnuczko (with co-PI Dr. Peter Coppin)

OCAD U Celebrates Research with CRAM

CRAM logo. Colourful text on a black background.

On April 5th 2019, OCAD U participated in CRAM, a city-wide free event that brought Toronto's universities together to share their research with the public. Jointly hosted by OCAD University, the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University, CRAM featured 30+ interactive and entertaining events across the GTA. Visitors to OCAD had the opportunity to enjoy the following sessions:

  • Hey Autonomous Vehicle – Can You Tell Me About Yourself? – Assistant Professor Sowmya Somanath
  • Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Reversing Our Throwaway Culture – Assistant Professor Michele Mastroeni
  • Will Our Future Be A+? Avatars, Agents and Adaptive A.I. Assistants – Assistant Professor Alexis Morris
  • Communities on the Move: Finding a Sense of Place in the City – Assistant Professor James Miller
  • Can I Feel What You See? Multi-Sensory Design – Associate Professor Peter Coppin

Read James Miller's interview about CRAM with Philip Lee-Shanok of the CBC here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-universities-share-exciting-research-at-first-ever-cram-festival-1.5038282

As a result of his successful CRAM talk, Michele Mastroeni was invited to appear on Breakfast Television (CityTv). See the interview here: https://www.bttoronto.ca/videos/how-to-stop-throw-away-culture/

Visit https://cramtoronto.com/ for CRAM's official event recap.


New models of research space sharing

A message from Dr. Robert Luke, VPRI:

With spring comes news of recent grant recipients, and as you have seen elsewhere in this newsletter we are excited to be announcing recipients of funding for research at the University. Congratulations to all who have been successful! Congratulations also to those who applied for research funding. Applying is important as through this process we get to learn more about projects and to further develop them through iteration.

The University has over the past decade+ built considerable research infrastructure, from faculty pursuing research through to centres, studios and labs that house specific projects and programs of work. With the growth in University research over the past several years we now face constraints on research space. This is in fact a good problem to have, as it means there are more faculty conducting research and creative practice and being successful at obtaining external funding to support these activities.

Over the past two years the Research Office, in concert with the Research Committee, has conducted the Research Space Allocation Project, including numerous consultations with the OCAD University community on how we can best manage access to research space for a growing number of research-active faculty. This effort has resulted in new models of research space sharing.

Effective 1 June 2019 all research space at the University will be considered shared use. A regular process will be used to allocate research space as per the criteria developed through the Research Space consultations. The form that will be used for application for research space as well as the Assessment Criteria were both included in the memo sent to all University faculty on 16 April 2019.

New research space allocation will include dedicated space for Research, Equity, Decolonization, Diversity & Inclusion. This project is working to create a more supportive and inclusive research environment for all equity-seeking groups, including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, people with disabilities, women, the neurodiverse, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, and 2-Spirit. The project is jointly led by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability Initiatives and the Research Office, and is building  on the work to date by the Presidential Task Force on the Under-Representation of Racialized and Indigenous Faculty and Staff. Stay tuned for further updates.

I wish you all a happy spring, now that the sun shines warmer.


Update on Post Colonial Hot-Ones

Photograph of participants in Post Colonial Hot-Ones event, seated on rugs and engaging in discussion
Photograph of participants in Post Colonial Hot-Ones event, helping themselves to a meal
Featured participant Ryan Rice speaking at Post Colonial Hot-Ones

On Thursday, February 28th Assistant Professor Immony Mèn and Public Visualization Lab hosted the first installment in a new panel series, Post Colonial Hot-Ones. There was a great turnout for the event, which fostered discussions that centered around communal knowledge sharing, tools for resistance, intergenerational healing methods, mobilization plans for marginalized voices, and recipes for dishes/sauces. Featured participants for this installment included Ryan Rice, Camille Turner, Casey Mecija, Patricio Dávila, and Immony Mén. Stay tuned for details about the next installment of Post Colonial Hot-Ones!



Dr. Bill Leeming and Dr. Selmin Kara deliver sabbatical talks

On March 26, 2019, Dr. Bill Leeming and Dr. Selmin Kara delivered sabbaticcal talks in RHA 320.

Dr. Leeming's talk, titled "Extending the Meaning of ‘Genetic’ in Medicine in Canada and Mexico to include ‘Related to Chromosomes and Genes,’” describes research performed during his 2016-2017 sabbatical, including collaborative work with Dr. Ana Barahona of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The talk explored how medico-scientific reporting of chromosomal anomalies using karyotype cytogenetics permitted scientists in a wide range of fields to manipulate and extend the meaning of “genetic” in medicine from “heredity” to include “related to chromosomes and genes.” 

Dr. Kara's talk from her recent sabbatical, titled "Cinematic Life in the Anthropocene",  tracks ways in which 21st century film has responded to the question of life in the Anthropocene, locating it on a spectrum that shifts from extreme certainty towards extreme uncertainty. 

OCAD U takes part in CRAM learning festival

CRAM learning festival at OCAD U, photo by Arash Safavi
Monday, April 8, 2019 - 4:30pm

On Friday, April 5, OCAD University opened its doors during the CRAM learning festival to give attendees a chance to discover the unexpected ideas revolutionizing the way we think, live and work. Featuring more than thirty free events, CRAM is the first learning festival of its kind in Canada. Toronto's four universities -- OCAD U, University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University -- offered more than thirty free events.

OCAD U’s talks included:

Hey Autonomous Vehicle – Can You Tell Me About Yourself?Sowmya Somanath

Ontario recently approved the testing of autonomous vehicles without a driver on public roads. What will this mean for pedestrians, especially when crossing the street at intersections without signals? People make the decision to cross based not only on vehicle speed, but also using non-verbal cues such as eye contact and hand gestures. What will happen in this new world of driverless cars? Somanath shares some of the computer interfaces prototyped and the lessons learned from evaluating them.

Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Reversing Our Throwaway Culture Michele Mastroeni

“I need a new cell phone even though my old one still works." In current Western society, vast amounts of goods are disposable or easily displaced by “the next new thing.” Old technologies have value in science fiction: inStar Wars, starships can be decades old and droids centuries old. Currently, we’re seeing a rise in subcultures who appreciate long-lasting goods and people are heading to Repair Cafés in an effort to keep waste to a minimum. What can we learn from them? How can we shift our current consumer culture to a more sustainable one?

Will Our Future Be A+? Avatars, Agents and Adaptive A.I. Assistants – Alexis Morris

How will we be living in Toronto in the 2020s? Morris offers a look at the technologies that will affect how smart cities and smart citizens interact, including a look into the current and upcoming system design challenges for mixed reality (augmented and virtual reality), the internet of things, and adaptive A.I. assistants. Let’s move towards engaging and immersive interactions across highly-connected human-machine environments. The future is coming very soon, so let’s get ready!

Communities on the Move: Finding a Sense of Place in the City – James Miller

From Oceania to Canada, communities are starting to migrate to urban centres as their ways of life are forever altered by climate change. How will we ensure the cultural continuity of these communities and preserve their way of life? As an architect, environmental design researcher, and a Kanaka Maoli, Miller is fascinated by how community-based knowledge can mitigate vulnerability and sustain traditions. What if the design of our cities could support the identities of resettled communities and lessen culture loss, rather than alienate new arrivals? Miller explores possible ways to help climate refugees maintain their identities in their new homes.

Can I Feel What You See? Multi-Sensory Design Peter Coppin

We live in a highly visual world that excludes a significant number of people who are visually impaired or blind. Think about all the things around us and the way they’re designed - whether it’s our homes, our workplaces and the city we live in. “I’m a visual person but as a researcher it became clear to me that we don’t have a good scientific understanding of design, and why we use certain kinds of representation that exclude people,” said Coppin. Who are we designing for? Can we create multi-sensory designs that would allow us to hear a financial chart, feel a soccer game or use multiple senses to perform everyday tasks? These questions are explored.

For a recap of additional events featured at the festival, please visit the CRAM website.

CRAM learning festival at OCAD U, photo by Arash Safavi
CRAM learning festival at OCAD U, photo by Arash Safavi