Research Rendezvous

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How are you OCAD U?
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Monday, May 11, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

The Office of Research Services will be hosting a Research Rendezvous with research presentations by the following two faculty members:

Peter Coppin, Faculty of Design
"What is Lost in Translation from Visual Graphics to Text for Accessibility (with implications for the picture perception debate and the graphic-linguistic distinction)"

Pam Patterson, Faculty of Art, with OCAD U Art & Design Education student Meaghan Barry
"How Are U OCAD U?"

Please join us for this one-hour session and feel free to bring your lunch!

Dr. Peter Coppin is an Assistant Professor of Design at OCAD University. He is a core Program Faculty member in the Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design program. During his PhD, Peter developed a perceptual-cognitive model for understanding how graphics afford actions, a theme that cuts across inclusive design, human-computer interface design, visual art-design, and learning technology research. Prior to this, Peter developed ‘remote experience’ systems that delivered data from remote rovers operating in extreme environments to science teams and the general public as Principal Investigator and Director of the NASA funded EventScope Project at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). At CMU Peter also directed the BigSignal Project, one of the first telescience interfaces for educational audiences. Prior to BigSignal, Peter was a nationally and internationally exhibiting electronic media artist and designer, operating under the group alias ‘Centre for Metahuman Exploration.’ He developed telerobotic works and interactive television shows that were exhibited in venues such as the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria; MIR: Art in Space in Bolzono, Italy; and the SIGGRAPH Touchware Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. Peter also directed projects for EventScope’s commercial spin-off, resulting in patented technologies to solve problems for various NASA and university customers. Peter taught human centered art and technology project classes such as ‘Telepresence Art and Applications,’ within multiple departments at Carnegie Mellon.

"What is Lost in Translation from Visual Graphics to Text for Accessibility (with implications for the picture perception debate and the graphic-linguistic distinction)"
In this presentation, Peter will describe the progress toward translating ‘visual’ graphics into non-visual perceptual modes such as sound to produce more accessible interfaces. Additionally, he will demonstrate how our design is guided by a provisional model that treats the visual cortex as a spatial cortex that is recruited by sight, sound and touch (cf. Knauff, 2013). The problem: According to WCAG guidelines, a ‘visual’ graphic (i.e., a picture) is considered ‘accessible’ (e.g., to low-vision and/or blind users) if it has been ‘translated’ into a text description (Caldwell, et al., 2008). However, if an author’s intention could be conveyed via text, then why did they create a (visual) graphic? One often cited advantage is that “the eye and the visual cortex of the brain form a massively parallel processor that provides the highest-bandwidth channel into human cognitive centers” (Ware, 2012). In contrast, a screen reader sequentially reads through text descriptions. However, are these advantages only possible though visuals? Sonic interfaces are routinely used for sense making: Doppler ultrasound conveys anatomical structures via audible frequencies and researchers have converted video signals into sound to enable blind audiences to navigate outdoors and to recognize faces (e.g., Levy-Tzedek et al., 2012). Spatial structure seems to transcend the visual: It can be conveyed via sound (e.g., when we hear an echo) or touch. In addition to demonstrating how this provisional model can guide interface design, Peter will also propose how it relates to, and in some cases can help reconcile, classic debates about the ‘unlearned’ (e.g., Gibson, 1978; Kennedy, 1974) versus ‘learned’ (e.g., Goodman, 1976) properties of picture perception between art theory and perceptual psychology and the related graphic-linguistic distinction (Shimojima, 1999).

Dr. Pam Patterson has been active for over 30 years in the arts, academic and women’s communities. Her performances, research, teaching, and curatorial projects focus on embodiment and performativity in art practice, women’s, gender and disability issues, critical pedagogy and art(s) education. She founded an arts-informed feminist research, presentation, and publication program, WIAprojects ( at the Centre for Women's Studies in Education at OISE/ University of Toronto in 2004 and has been Director of the program since. As a performance and visual artist, she was a founding member of FADO Performance and ARTIFACTS and continues to exhibit and perform internationally. She currently teaches in the Faculty of Art at the Ontario College of Art & Design University. At OCAD U, she has facilitated a number of cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional projects including Food=Need OCAD U. ARTISTS TEACHING ARTISTS, and this recent HOW ARE U OCAD U? As Director, Research for the Canadian Society for Education through Art (CSEA) she is currently co-facilitating national research initiatives groups with CSEA President, Peter Vietgen (Brock University).

"How Are U OCAD U?"
Art and Design Education Lab - Community Leadership mounted a campaign fall 2014 term inviting the OCAD U community to assist them in re-imagining OCAD U for the 21st C. This action was an outgrowth of our deep curiosity about our own complicity in teaching and learning at OCAD U. We wanted to open the Pandora’s Box and excavate the messiness. We all know that we need to dig deep and take risks in studio practice in order to push our work to stronger and richer iterations. But, how can we as educators do the same? How can we define OCAD U as a community: Is it a place of/for community gathering(s)? What is its ethical grounding? What is its reason for being? How can we determine what learning means at OCAD? While our posters are presented as tongue-and-cheek, the data they were derived from was diverse, compelling, and often contradictory. Videos, which accompany this exhibition, provide a more storied response from OCAD U community members. Our devised terms for examination for the survey and Learning Zone (LZ) display are below. Demographics from LZ are also listed. Special thanks to the OCADSU for additional data from their own survey.
Six Terms for Examination:

1. How have you achieved a sense of community at OCAD U?
2. How has your learning experience been? How can it better prepare you for the working world?
3. What teaching methods are you looking for? What teaching methods are actually working for you?
4. How have OCAD U community initiatives improved your experience?
5. How does your experience match your expectations?
6. What have you achieved as a student or faculty or staff at OCAD U?
Survey monkey site:

Venue & Address: 
Lambert Lounge (Room 187, 100 McCaul)

Research Rendezvous

Ut pictura poesis multi-view galaxy
Brain screen capture
Friday, April 17, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Research Rendezvous is a monthly lunchtime series for faculty and students to share and learn about research at OCAD U. Come share your ideas, connect with potential collaborators and find out how you can get involved in research.

This month's featured presenters:

David Griffin, Faculty of Art
"Ut Pictura Poesis: Drawing into Space"

In 1735, Leonard Euler presented a solution to the practical problem of whether a route could be plotted to cross each of seven bridges in Königsberg once. His negative solution used the simplest of mark-making strategies to resolve a conceptual problem. Euler did not actually cross the town’s bridges, but used them to resolve questions of connectivity, after which diagrammatic representations can be seen as the restructuring of logical problems to allow for inductive reasoning, for fruitful application beyond theory. But what if such a working graphic has as its target something that is simply incomprehensible? What are the upper limits of the denotational logic of such diagrams?

Michael Page, Faculty of Art
"Three-Dimensional Medical and Scientific Data Viewed in Digital Holographic Form"
The majority of medical and scientific imaging recorded today is 3 dimensional. MRI, CAT scan, PET scan and confocal microscopy are 3D images that are typically viewed in 2D, often as slices or scallops.
OCAD’s PHASE Lab recently received funding from NSERC to research methods of imaging electrical activity (EEG) in the human brain using digital holographic techniques. This project was highly successful and has drawn the attention of the medical community at MARS and Princess Margaret Hospital.
Prof. Michael Page will be showing holograms (created from electrical scans of his own brain), as well as examples of 3D visualization that will soon be rendered holographically.
These holographic images of patient data will bring new knowledge to physicians, surgeons, radiologists and other medical workers. Understanding complex data sets better will save lives.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street, Room 187

Research Rendezvous

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Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Presenter 1: Martha Ladly, Faculty of Design

Bio: Dr. Martha Ladly is a Professor of Design and Graduate Studies at OCAD University. She specializes in experience design, interactive media, art, and technology research. She is a founding researcher with the Mobile Experience Lab and a principal network investigator with the GRAND Canadian National Centre of Excellence, and the Centre for Innovation in Data Visualisation and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD). She is the author of numerous articles on digital technology and entertainment and has shown her work internationally. In the 1990s, Martha was the Head of Design with Peter Gabriel’s Real World Group in the U.K. She had a prominent international career as a performer, writer, and recording artist in the 1980s. Martha completed her PhD on Eros, Women, and Technology in 2013, in the Communication and Culture Program at York University, and continued her research as a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in 2014.

Project Title: Data Corpus: Personal Narrative & The Sensory Body

Abstract: As a narrator I am embodied and given materiality and relationship through production, reproduction, and reception of my story. Through the introduction of a series of collaborative mobile and interactive artworks and design projects and interventions (2007-2015) employing narrative in shared public and private space, I will show the sensory body in relation to place as the locus of my research practice.

Presenter 2: Richard Fung, Faculty of Art

Bio: Richard Fung is an award-winning video artist and writer. His tapes, which include My Mother's Place (1990), Sea in the Blood (2000) and Dal Puri Diaspora (2012), have been widely screened and collected internationally, and broadcast in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. His essays have published in numerous journals and anthologies, and he is the co-author with Monika Kin Gagnon of 13: Conversations on Art and Cultural Race Politics (2002). Among other grants and awards, Richard is a recipient of the Bell Canada Award for Video Art and the Toronto Arts Award for Media Art. He teaches in the Integrated Media program and the Art and Social Change minor at OCAD University.

Project Title: Re:Orientations

Abstract: Re:Orientations is a four-year research creation project culminating in a documentary film. In 1985, he released his first video, Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians, which was the first documentary focused on queer Asians and on racialized queers in Canada. Re:Orientations records original subjects as they review their interview footage from 30 years ago, triggering reflections on their life journeys as well as on the shifts and continuities in sexual and racial identities, conditions and politics. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 205 Richmond St. W. Digital Futures Salon, Room 701K  

MAAD Speakers Series: Anne Wilson

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Monday, March 30, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Presented by the Material Art & Design (MAAD) program in the Faculty of Design

Anne Wilson is a Chicago-based visual artist who creates sculpture, drawings, performances and video animations that explore themes of time, loss, private and social rituals. Her artwork embraces conceptual strategies and handwork using everyday materials -- table linen, bed sheets, human hair, lace, thread, glass, and wire. 

Wilson's numerous exhibitions include "Thread Lines" at The Drawing Center, NYC 2014; "Fiber Sculpture 1960-Present" at the ICA Boston and touring, 2014; "Dispersions" at the Rhonda Hoffman Gallery, Chicago 2013; the "Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber" at the Zhejiang Art Musuem, China 201; "Global Threads" at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, UK 2012; "Local Industry" at the Knoxville Museum of Art, 2012; "Out of the Ordinary" at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2007-08. She was included in the "2002 Biennial" at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Wilson's art is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; among others. Wilson is the recipient of grants from the Driehaus Foundation, Artadia, the Tiffany Foundation, the National Endowment for the Art, and the Illinois Arts Council. She is a Professor of Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Central Hall, Room 230
Open to the public | Free admission

Research Rendezvous

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

 This is a monthly lunchtime series for faculty to share and learn about research at OCAD U. This month we have two presenters, Richard Garvin and Nabil Harfoush. 

Presenter 1: Richard Garvin, Faculty of Design

Project Title: City VTOL Concept: Commercial Application in Urban Settings

Abstract: Ever been stuck in traffic? We all have and Toronto’s infrastructure pales in comparison to other large metropolitan cities across North America and the world. Not to mention cities that are growing with larger populations. In developing nations the growth of the middle class shows individuals and families aspire to own a car. Our collective growth is outstepping our ability or space for new roads or public transportation networks.  Commercial commerce is also as dependent on our road network; this includes delivery and transport trucks, first responders, anything essentially on wheels.  This project is inspired by Google’s concept to utilize small programmed drones to deliver books or carry size light objects.  Much the way society has benefited from innovations developed by NASA for the space program, we can do the same with selected military aviation.  The objective of this study is to utilize innovation currently in use and repurpose it to serve high density urban settings. This new craft has multiple role applications; it is what Chrysler did with the Mini-Van redefining a whole new category of transportation.  Presently, nothing like it exists. This innovative idea applies to scenarios on a global scale.

Presenter 2: Nabil Harfoush, Faculty of Design/MDEs in Strategic Foresight & Innovation (sLab)

Project Title: Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group

Abstract: How can organizations become sustainable in economic, social and environmental dimensions, and contribute to a new sustainable economy? Sustainability can be approached in many ways and from numerous perspectives. At Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab), the multi-disciplinary Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group (SSBMG) has chosen to explore sustainability from the perspective of business models. The SSBMG was founded with the objective of accelerating the transition of Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) to sustainability and providing a focal point for collaboration in applied research on this topic. SMEs form the largest majority of companies in all North American geographies.  The presentation will provide an overview of the various research streams of research within the group, results achieved and future plans.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Lambert Lounge, Room 187

Art Creates Change, Public Talk: Devora Neumark

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Art Creates Change / The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series
Presented by the Faculty of Art

Public Talk: Devora Neumark
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
7:00 p.m.
100 McCaul St., Central Hall (room 230)
Toronto, ON

Devora Neumark, long involved with live art events in urban settings and community performance, addresses the intersections of forced displacement, loss and the act of witness. Neumark’s practice is deliberately dialogic. Most recently she has been interrogating the relationship between dislocation following violence and/or environmental disaster and the deliberate beautification of one’s home(land). Neumark is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, community development practitioner and a faculty member in MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. She is also currently the Interim Vice President of DestiNATIONS Carrefour International for Indigenous Arts and Cultures and the Development/Funding Agent for the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec.

Art Creates Change is sponsored by Faculty of Art Faculty Innovation Fund

Co-programmers: Richard Fung & b.h. Yael

All events are open to the public
Wheelchair accessible

Tracy Buchanan
Information & Projects Coordinator
Faculty of Art
416-977-6000 ext 330

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St., Central Hall (room 230) Toronto, ON
416-977-6000 ext 330

Artist Project Art Chats 2015

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Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 5:00am to Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 5:00am

See who’s speaking at Art Chats 2015!

Complimentary with admission to the Artist Project, the Art Chats Seminar Series offer a range of dynamic and engaging talks hosted by leading art experts.


Collect, Curate, Commission
Saturday, February 21, 1–2pm
Mia Nielsen, Curator, Drake Hotel Properties

New Models for Art Collecting
Saturday, February 21, 3–4pm
Andrea Carson Barker, Arts writer & co-founder, Artbomb
Panel includes: Rebecca Carbin, founder of the art futures program I Heart Your Work; Amrita Chandra, collector, startup marketer, Head of Marketing at Normative, and board Chair at Open Studio; and Bill Clarke, art collector and art writer.

Navigating the Auction Industry
Saturday, February 21, 5–6pm
Lydia Abbott & Rob Cowley, Directors of Consignor Canadian Fine Art

Curating Collections
Sunday, February 22, 1–2pm
David Balzer, Associate Editor, Canadian Art

A User’s Guide to Looking
Sunday, February 22, 3–4pm
Zev Farber, Manager, Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers & Derek Liddington, Artist & Professor, OCAD U

See a full description of the 2015 talks.

Art Chats are approximately 1 hour long and space is subject to availability.

For more information on the show, please visit

Show Dates:
Thursday February 19, 2015 from 5-10pm Early Access Preview
Thursday February 19, 2015 from 7-10pm Opening Night Party
Friday February 20, 2015 from 11am-8pm
Saturday February 21, 2015 from 11am-8pm
Sunday February 22, 2015 from 11am-6pm

Venue & Address: 
Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place  

Art Creates Change: Dylan Miner Public Talk

Art installation with three decorated bicycles
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Art Creates Change
The Kym Pruesse Speaker Series
Presented by the Faculty of Art

Dylan Miner’s artistic practice, based on social relationships and an interdisciplinary sensibility, explores issues of migration, mobility, labour, economics, individual and collective identity, as well as Indigenous and community history. Miner, is a Wiisaakodwinini (Métis) artist and scholar who exhibits widely. He is founding member of Justseeds and was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship from the National Museum of the American Indian. Miner is Associate Professor at Michigan State University and curator of Indigenous Art at the MSU Museum. He states, “I come to my work as an artist from my position as an activist. I am unapologetic about making my work political.”

Art Creates change is a two-part speaker series. Devora Neumark will be giving a public talk on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. 100 McCaul St., Central Hall (room 230) Toronto, ON

Art Creates Change is sponsored by Faculty of Art Faculty Innovation Fund

Co-programmers: Richard Fung & b.h. Yael

All events are open to the public
Wheelchair accessible

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St., Auditorium (room 190)
416-977-6000 ext 330

New Results on Synesthesia Dr. Julia Simner, University of Edinburgh Dr. Daphne Maurer, McMaster University

Crossing sensory boundaries poster
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 7:00pm to 9:30pm

Crossing Sensory Boundaries: Synesthesia Events Co-sponsored by OCAD University

Session 1: The Colours & Shapes of Music

Music metaphorically can have colour and shape, yet to some, the connection goes beyond metaphor. Synesthesia can create neurological connections between sound, colour and shape. This session will present findings on ‘coloured hearing’ synesthesia, and what it teaches us about the links between music, colour, and shape. Dr Julia Simner will begin by summarizing the scientific findings on coloured hearing; then Dr Daphne Maurer and her students from McMaster University will describe a music visualization workshop, held at the University of Toronto on May 31, 2013, in conjunction with the 2013 meeting of the American Synesthesia Association at the Ontario College of Art and Design. At that workshop, The Gryphon Trio and guest musicians played excerpts of music, while participants used a variety of materials to produce the best matching visualization. Examples and preliminary results from synesthetes and non-synesthetes will be presented.

4:15-4:30pm: Break/Refreshments

Session 2: The Role of Synesthesia in Teaching & Learning

Upwards of 5% of the general population is likely to have some form of cross-sensory perception called synesthesia; thus in a classroom of 25, one student is likely to have some form of synesthesia. This session will concern the need to develop educational materials for teachers on the phenomenon of synesthesia. Daphne Maurer and Julia Simner, both scientists who have studied synesthesia in children, will moderate the session. Topics will include how synesthesia can affect learning, what teachers need to know about synesthesia, and ways synesthesia might be harnessed to promote learning in all children.

Julia Simner, Ph.D., Reader & Head of Syneasthesia Research, Department of Psychology, The University of Edinburgh. Chair, Synaesthesia and Sensory Integration Lab.

Daphne Maurer, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. President, International Society on Infant Studies. Distinguished University Professor, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University.
Organized by David Griffin, Instructor, Faculty of Art and Doreen Balabanoff, Associate Professor, Faculty of Design.

Venue & Address: 
Room 544, 5th Floor 100 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario


Kenneth Foster. Photo by Mike Kepka.

“Artists and arts leaders are some of the most visionary and creative people in our society. Have the courage to speak up and the tenacity to stay engaged when the going gets tough.”

Artists and arts organizations face a different world today. Kenneth Foster, Director of the Arts Leadership Program in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, the former director of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and an arts leader for more than thirty years says the way forward is through strong, innovative leadership.

Foster is part of Art Creates Change, an important speaker series presented by OCAD U to commemorate the work of Kym Pruesse, a cross-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, design activist, popular culture expert and theorist who taught at the university in the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Liberal Studies. Pruesse passed away in 2009.

Foster’s work highlights the importance of nurturing and developing new arts leaders like Pruesse today. “There are substantial environmental shifts happening in the world that are creating stress on arts organizations and their ability to thrive in the contemporary world,” says Foster. “Leadership in this environment requires truly creative thinking and arts leaders need to step up in order that our collective culture can survive and thrive.”

Leading from where you are

In the discussion of arts leadership, it’s important to not limit the definition. Whether you’re a student or a faculty dean, an apprentice or well established in your field, your leadership qualities are vital to the sustainability of any arts ecosystem: “in terms of forward thinking leadership can come from all parts of organizations,” says Foster. “I also think artists can and should be leaders not only in their own work and their own arts world, but also in the life of the community. Find your voice and don’t hesitate to express your ideas and your visions.”

Making an impact

Foster believes challenges present opportunities and this is an exciting time for artists. “This is not a time to retract or to scale back,” says Foster. “It’s a time to step forward and engage the world fully. I believe that both the artist and the society will be much better off for the active and engaged participation of artists in civic society.”

Foster’s lecture at OCAD U follows a recent Art Creates Change series presentation by internationally renowned multidisciplinary artist Emily Jacir held on October 3 during the Toronto Palestinian Film Festival. Jacir is also a professor at the International Academy of Art in Palestine.

Learn more

Attend Kenneth Foster’s talk on Thursday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m.  

Find out more about Kenneth Foster