Study Abroad Venice/Florence Info Session

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 11:00am to 1:00pm

This 1.0 credit elective is an intensive 4-week interdisciplinary studio. Students will focus on imaginative consideration of the future… of human dwelling, urban development and our creative interaction with the world that surrounds us. This course has a primary focus on the built environment but is open to all students eligible for 3rd or 4th-year studio coursework who have a passionate interest in the immersive and interwoven world of architecture and art, and the creative development of the built environment.


We will begin with a few days in Venice, experiencing the Venice Biennale Architecture  – this year’s exhibition is entitled  Freespace  –see among other events and sites of interest across Venice.


We will then travel to Florence – with visits to Padua and Vicenza along the way. We will take up residency for three weeks in the OCADU Florence studio, and students will work there on completion of their own (pre-defined) project.


There will be an information session on Thursday, Jan 18, from 11 am – 1 pm in room 530 (5th floor 100 McCaul – the Materials Lab). Please come whenever you can in that time period, we will start at 11 am and repeat information as needed.


The deadline for student application to the Future of Inhabited Form Study Abroad course is midnight Saturday, Feb 10th.


Info on how to apply and FAQ's can be found online at


Professor Stuart Reid will be teaching the course, and Professor Doreen Balabanoff will be participating as guest lecturer and critic.


Venue & Address: 
OCAD U, 100 McCaul Street Material Innovation Centre -- ROOM 530

Study Abroad Rome & Florence 2017 Exhibition

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 12:00pm to Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 12:00pm

Embedded in the living memory of Rome and Florence explorng with the hand,mind, eye and senses considering urban possibilities and design a future of human flourshing.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD U, Great Hall 2nd Floor, 100 McCaul
Florence poster

Study Abroad India Exhibition

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 12:00am to Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 12:00pm

An exhibition of work by OCAD U students in the Design Abroad: India course in May 2017, inspired by their experiences engaging in participatory design projects with communities in Goa, India.


Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Great Hall, 2nd Floor, 100 McCaul
Study Abroad India

Students Begin the Design Abroad:India Course

First Day - Group Photo
Monday, May 15, 2017 - 1:45pm

Nine students from the Faculty of Design have arrived in India to start the three-week Design Abroad: India course. Since the program began in 2013, this is the fourth cohort of OCAD U students to travel to India to engage in participatory, multi-disciplinary design projects with community-based organizations.

Follow the students on their journey as they co-design live projects by visiting the course blog.

Over the next three weeks, students will be posting about their daily activities and sharing their reflections about the projects and their experiences traveling and designing in India. For more information, contact Sarah Tranum, Assistant Professor, Social Innovation Design and faculty of the Design Abroad: India course.

You can also follow the course on instagram @designabroadindia


Study Abroad: India - Info Sessions

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 12:00pm to Monday, January 30, 2017 - 3:00pm

Working in groups, as well as individually, students engage with organizations and members of the community to identify challenges and possible solutions. Students then integrate what they have learned through this participatory design process to develop design solutions that are innovative, appropriate, and implementable.

The goal is to help shape flexible, resourceful, and independent designers and thinkers who know how to engage a community in the design process in order to create lasting solutions.

If you are a second year student or above, attend an upcoming info session and submit your application today. 

Program scholarships and tuition bursaries are available!


Attend an Info Session:

Monday, January 16

12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Tuesday, January 17

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Monday, January 30

1:30 pm to 3:00 pm


Applications are due:


Tuesday, January 31 by 5:00 pm



Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street, Room 670
Study Abroad: India
Embed Video: 

Study Abroad: Florence - Info Sessions

Study Abroad: Florence
Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 11:30am to Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 11:30am

Faculty of Design - GDES Interdisciplinary Studio

OCAD U Study Abroad - Summer 2017" - Rome & Florence

GDES-3108 The Future of Inhabited Form. 1.0 credit

Faculty: Professor Stuart Reid and Associate Professor Doreen Balabanoff

Summer Intensive Course - 4 Weeks, 1.0 credit

May 15 - June 11

- 2 weeks at University of Rome (May 15 - May 26)

- 2 weeks at Florence Studio (May 27 - June 11)



January 2017 Info Sessions (note: we will try to start right at 11:30am to accommodate students with classes at 11:50, and will continue until 12:30 with questions).

Tuesday January 10, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Room MCA670
Thursday January 12, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Room MCA670

- January 31 (midnight) Application Deadline: Submit digital portfolio and statement of intent/interest

- February 3 Notification of acceptance (maximum 18 students)February 10 Deadline for Deposit/Registration

- March 1 Deadline for Full Registration and Tuition Fees

- March April May 2017 Pre-travel info sessions with registered students

- May 15-26 at University of Rome, Italy

Students will have a place to work, and will attend lectures, seminars, discussions, site visits etc. We will engage in diverse exercises in lateral thinking, writing, collage, drawing, 3D and 2D design – and will connect with University of Rome Architecture and Design students and faculty. 4 days with faculty (5 hrs/day), 3 days independent work/study/site visits.

May 27 – June 11 at OCADU’s FLORENCE Studio

Students will have a place to work, and will attend lectures, critiques, seminars, site visits, etc. We will continue intensive full days of work on the project The Future of Inhabited Form. Each student will develop their own response to the course objective, using strategies, research approaches, methods and materials/technologies that support their ideas and goals. Students will benefit from working alongside graduate students sharing the Florence Studio, including guest lectures, critique sessions and other shared events.

4 days with faculty contact (5 hrs/day), 3 days independent work/study/site visits.


1) Possible exhibition at OCAD U Florence Studio public “open house” Saturday June 10, including IAMD graduate student and Future of Inhabited Form student works and

2) Possible exhibition at OCADU’s Great Hall (September/October 2018) with all Florence Studio students’ work.

A sample Student Budget

*Note: Not included in the budget below are the usual expenses that would not change whether abroad or in Toronto. These include Summer Tuition/Fees 2017, as usual, for 1.0 credit (equivalent to 2 undergrad .5 studios) and any Materials, Supplies, Printing etc. used in studio production.
Study Abroad Expenses (approximate):

AirfareTravel (approx) $ 900+/-
15 nights Rome $ 800
15 nights Florence $1,200
4) City Bus Pass 14 days Rome 48 Euros $ 70
5) Return Travel Rome-Florence (train) $ 100
6) Food $16/day x 28 days $ 450
7) Venue costs (class entry to museums etc.) $ 150
8) Admin. Costs $ 500+/-

* Note: OSAP students taking 2.0 credits spread over the summer term are eligible for the usual OSAP funding. So another two .5 summer courses would make OSAP funds accessible to eligible students.

Bursaries: There will be some bursaries awarded to aid several students in participating.
An application form showing student financial need will be required; this will be coordinated with Financial Aid office, and discussed at the info sessions in January.


On the course content:

The course utilizes individual exploration, group charettes, social engagement, and site visits to old and new spaces/places. We will use studio practices as well as diverse readings and research strategies to raise questions and explore imaginative and energetic answers concerning the future of inhabited form – that is, the re-imagining of any of the following: our relationship with the environment, whether city, urban ecology or dwelling place; the complexities of getting along with diverse peoples and cultures; the way we use and develop
objects and environments; our understandings of connection to the earth and the cosmos; new modes of thinking, creating, and sharing, through deployment of new technologies.

This interdisciplinary studio requires immersion and a sustained, focused attention upon the work at hand. It offers a very different experience to the usual academic term, where each project must happen in fits and starts, and attention is divided across multiple courses and working situations. It is an intensive creative and multi-disciplinary in-studio investigation, fertilized by a surrounding environment of great richness, depth and diversity. Students on our previous London Study Abroad course described it as life-changing. We hope this course will be similar in impact for the group who takes up this exciting learning opportunity.



If Rome stands for the memory of power (500 years of empire and 2,000 years of the Catholic church), then Florence stands for the cradle of the Renaissance, the renewal of humanistic consciousness (and therefore a direct challenge to Rome). Coming from their own lived experience, as students within the creative heart of Toronto, students will use their contemporary experience of these storied places to trigger new understandings of human agency – what we can do, what we want to do, what we intend to do.

weeks 1 & 2
Students will visit the contemporary architecture of Renzo Piano, Zaha Hadid and others, as well as ancient sites such as the Pantheon and the Coliseum that hold great significance in the history of architecture. They will attend lectures by the University of Rome’s distinguished professors and will show and discuss their work with students and faculty in architecture and design. In a city immersed in (and in some ways overwhelmed by) deep memory of a great, terrible and lost civilization, we will contemplate the future and ask: how can the forms we create out of our own imagination challenge the forms of the past?

Weeks 3 & 4
The historic city state of Florence is renown as the cradle of the Renaissance, of Humanism, a renewal of humanistic consciousness.
The studio becomes a triangulation between three cities – Toronto, Florence and Rome. In the physically quieter atmosphere of Florence, students will grapple
with memory, critique and discovery, to give tangible and visible voice to design’s promise of a Future of Inhabited Form






1) Are there any academic restrictions or requirements to qualify for this course?
You must have a 70% average at time of application (January 31 deadline) and must be eligible to take 3rd year courses by end of Winter Term. Please consult with the Registrar's office if you are not sure whether you will qualify.

2) Where will students stay when in Rome and Florence?
Students will book their own accommodation - University of Rome has suggested possible residences at a good student rate, but the booking as a group can only be done once we know that we have at least 14 registered students. Florence is likely to be individual bookings or smaller group sharing. We will have info sessions to discuss these matters with students registering. (See info sheet and announcements).

3) How do I submit an application?
A Portfolio and statement of intent/interest must be submitted via e-mail to by January 31, 2017 at midnight.

4) When will I be notified about acceptance?
Friday, February 3rd, 2017 by noon (see info sheet)
We are seeking 14-16 students with serious interest/commitment. Maximum possible 18 enrollment – once selection is completed we will keep a waiting list if necessary and will inform applicants (in order of ranked selection process) as soon as any openings occur.

5) When do I have to pay?
Deposit of $500 by Friday, February 10th at Noon. Full Registration and Tuition/Fees by Wednesday, March 1st.

Forms will be provided during the info sessions and will also be available at the Faculty of Design Office.

6) How much free time will I have in Rome and Florence?
Very little - as this is a 4 week 1.0 credit course it is an 'intensive' learning experience - you will be working full time on the one project - and expected to spend 6 out of 7 days in the studio developing your work. Lectures, presentations, exhibitions, site visits and other group activities (including visits to architectural sites) will occur throughout the four weeks. Students wishing to further explore/travel will want to plan their own dates of arrival/departure to suit individual plans.

7) Where will we do our studio work?
You will be given desk/workspace at University of Rome School of Architecture for two weeks (interfacing with students and faculty there). Then we travel to Florence by train and you take up desks at OCAD U's Florence Studio - interfacing w/grad students from OCAD's IAMD interdisciplinary Masters program.

8) What about flight bookings?
You will book your own flight.


9) What are the portfolio submission requirements and how do I submit?

This is a design studio, so we expect to see images and notes regarding design or art projects that address specific concerns through creative processes of making, designing, developing practice-based work. It would be valuable to see that your work addresses, in some way, the course topic (many possible approaches are possible).


  • Please provide a statement of interest: What interests you about this course?
  • Provide a pdf document showing 3-5 of your best projects.
  • For each project give a title, a short description of the project brief


For example: 


Project Brief: Small ecological habitat/dwelling for myself for one year, on a specific site in Toronto

Studio Assignment: A set of drawings addressing issues of human representation and embodied experience

Project: An independent study investigating urban ecology issues in large Canadian cities

Show several pages of images and brief text as needed, and include any design process images that show your working processes.


10) What is the selection criteria for students?

We are looking for very motivated and diligent students who are capable of handling the intensive mode of working that the course utilises. Therefore we will look at not only quality and relevance of work shown in the portfolio, and capacity to present your work well, but marks, as well as a balance of competencies across analog and digital media.




Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street. Room 670
Study Abroad: Florence


Mariah Unger. Photo by Philip Unger.
Illustration by Mariah Unger.

Graphic design student Mariah Unger achieved her goal of attending OCAD U, but was unable to realize her dream of studying abroad for a semester, as part of th Student Mobility/Exchange Program. She passed away in January, 2012 — just four weeks before she would have turned 20 — as a result of complications from lymphoma, a type of cancer. Now, however, a new scholarship created in her memory by her parents will make it possible for other OCAD U students to fulfill their dreams of studying abroad.

Making dreams happen

Beginning with the 2014 winter semester, Mariah’s Fund will help one graphic design student each year with the costs of studying abroad. Students will be selected based on strong academic standing in liberal arts, creativity, talent and passion.

"The ideal recipient for Mariah’s Fund will be a student who holds the same characteristics as Mariah — someone with the same quiet determination and drive that she had,” says Philip Unger, Mariah’s father, a graphic designer, the founder of Method Branding and an instructor at OCAD U. “When she was going through chemotherapy she was still concerned about handing in her assignments on time. She was really passionate about her studies. She was proud of what I did, but she was her own person and wanted to do this on her terms, on her own.” 

Unger says that receiving acceptance to OCAD U was one of the happiest days of Mariah’s life. “She was literally singing and dancing for days afterwards.” He says she attended classes throughout her treatments as an integral part of her struggle to not let cancer define her.

An outpouring of support

When Unger began raising funds for the scholarship, together with the assistance of Rose Anne McCants, Stacy Kelly and other staff from the OCAD U Development Office, his original goal was to raise $21,000, to commemorate what would have been Mariah’s 21st birthday. Friends, family, people from the OCAD U community, Unger’s professional contacts and others rallied around the Unger family in support, many donating in denominations of 21, and some pledging annual donations. The fund, which to date has raised close to $57,000 — its initial target several times over — is still open for contributions. The more it raises, the more students it will be able to assist. 

In addition to an initial start-up amount, Unger and his family made an initial contribution so that the fund would be able to start assisting students sooner, in the winter, 2014 semester. The latter donation was made in honour of Michael Desjardins, Mariah’s favourite teacher at OCAD U, who is in hospital after a serious bicycle accident a year ago. 

“Mariah’s Fund will be here long after we’re gone,” says Unger. “The fund will be here a hundred years from now, and that’s something we couldn’t have done without the generosity of a lot of people, both from within the OCAD U community, and those from outside OCAD U. I am humbled and amazed by how many people care.”

Learn more

Application details will be available soon on the Scholarships & Awards page

Donate online

Design Abroad: India Info Session

 Design Abroad: India Info Session
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 10:00pm

An opportunity to study abroad

Design Abroad: India is an exciting opportunity
for students in both the Faculty of Design and the Faculty of Art to travel, explore and to co-design with a local community in rural India. This 1.0 credit elective course will run from May 12 to May 30, 2014 in Malavli, India (101 km from Mumbai). If you are/will be a third year student or above at the end of the winter term (April 2014) and have a 70% overall average or higher, submit your application today.

To learn more about the course and how to apply, visit or send an email to



Venue & Address: 
Central Hall, Room 230 100 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario