Rag Drive for Drawing & Painting

Rags covered in paint
Monday, November 25, 2019 - 10:45am

To reduce the volume of hazardous waste produced at OCAD U as well as reduce the cost of its safe disposal, Drawing & Painting are shifting from paper towel brush cleaning to cloth rag brush cleaning.

Over 2018-19, a study was undertaken by students and staff to find ways to cut down on OCAD U’s hazardous waste. Soiled paper towels made up around half of the University’s hazardous waste! Shifting to cloth rag brush cleaning in Drawing & Painting is meant to encourage reuse of scrap material that might otherwise go to landfill.

To aid in this transition, we will be placing storage containers in each studio to hold upcycled cloth material for students to use as painting rags.

This Drawing and Painting initiative is in collaboration with Safety & Security, Facilities & Studio Services, and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives.

Sustainability Initiatives by Student Researchers at OCAD U: Library Research Wednesdays

Promotional image with event title, project titles and speaker names, flanked by a drawings of a laptop and a book
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 12:45pm

On January 23rd, we welcome Victoria Gonzalez and Priscilla Lee to share their experiences of participating in field placements at OCAD University with a focus on sustainability.

Project descriptions:

Reducing Hazardous Waste in OCAD U Studios with Victoria Gonzales
Hazardous wastes are wastes that can pose a threat to health, safety and the environment. Plus, its disposal is expensive! OCAD U is trying to reduce the amount of inappropriate materials that end up in our hazardous waste bins (i.e. coffee cups, paper towels, and rags). This project aims to help studio users minimize their production of hazardous waste, encourage the use of less toxic products, and steer them towards proper reuse, recycling, and waste sorting. Victoria used their design skills to help conduct user research involving hardware prototypes, develop new organizing structures to keep the various bins easy to find and in the expected places, and create a poster series to communicate the initiative.

Victoria Gonzales is an emerging Industrial Designer from Chile with a passion for interior, health and sustainable design.

Sustainable Initiatives at Copy and Print Services with Priscilla Lee
Copy and Print Services provides the OCAD U community with its copying and digital output needs. This includes operating the Digital Print Shop and managing the University’s networked black and white printers, and its fleet of multifunction copiers. From pulp to print, paper is the lifeline of their operation. In this project, Priscilla worked to develop a sustainable and responsible outlook on this lifeline and make an impact in reduction.

Priscilla Lee is an Industrial Design student with an interest in human-centred design.


Both field placement projects were made possible through the collaboration of the Centre for Emerging Artist and Designers and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability Initiatives.


Research Wednesdays is a speaker series presented by the OCAD U Library. It's a forum for anyone (undergrad or graduate students, staff, or faculty) to present in a casual, supportive environment about research activities, collections and more. We apply a broad definition of research which includes a variety of activities within the domains of art, design, libraries and archives. This event is open to all members of the OCAD U community as well as the general public.

Interested in presenting about your own research experiences? Contact Daniel Payne at dpayne@ocadu.ca.

Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1, also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street

Spider Plant Propagation/ grOCAD meeting!

A photograph of a hydroponic garden system built from horizontal pipes on a wooden triangle frame, growing with lush plants
Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 12:45pm

Come out to learn and get your hands dirty at our next meeting! Open to any and all in the OCAD community (student, faculty, staff, taking a year off), whether you're part of the grOCAD student group or not... yet ;)


To match the spookiest day of the year, we'll be propagating spider plants! Sadly, there's nothing all that scary about these air-purifying plants other than how easy they are to grow and how adaptable they are to various light conditions. We'll be trimming and potting baby plants as well as dividing adult plants that have grown so large their roots are choking our watering system.


We'll also take the opportunity to chat about grOCAD projects we are hoping to accomplish this year. At our last meeting, we talked about adding more greenery to the student lounge on the second floor of 100 McCaul and various workshops we could offer. Bring your ideas of how to move these projects forward and how you may want to be involved, or come simply for the plant love!

Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Learning Zone, 113 McCaul, Level 1 (also accessible from 113 McCaul Street)

OCAD U Welcomes Rooftop Beehives

A square beehive with bees buzzing nearby
Beekeeper wearing a net visits hives
Honey in jars
Thursday, June 21, 2018

OCAD U is ushering in Summer Solstice! Alveole is an urban beekeeping team working with OCAD U and our building co-owner, Hullmark, to bring beehives to the rooftop of 205 Richmond St. W.
Come October 2018, OCAD U will have our very own neighbourhood honey!

Stay tuned for workshops this summer and fall to learn about urban beekeeping and the wonders of pollinating your neighbourhood!

Why urban bees?

Urban beekeeping creates alternatives: local honey, garden pollination throughout the city, and overall perennial greening.
The world population of bees is in dramatic decline, what with climate change, widespread use of pesticides, habitat loss and new diseases and parasites.
The phenomenon is alarming because bees play a major role in fruit, vegetable and nut production: about a third of what we eat relies on their pollination.
But cities, contrary to what we may believe, are truly the best place for bees: there are strict anti-pesticide laws, untapped floral diversity and largely unused rooftop space.

In Canada, 75% of honey comes from elsewhere. There is no say on whether it is blended, cut with corn syrup, or GMO. For the sake of quality and transparency, it would be ideal for consumers and sellers alike if we could rely more heavily on local honey.

Source: https://www.alveole.buzz/en/learn/fun-facts


Negotiating Ethical Making Between Humans and Machines

While making can be a beneficial activity for many reasons, the things we make may not always be in the best interest of others. It is the responsibility of makers to ensure their creations comply with societally-agreed upon ethical principles. However, the act of making is increasingly facilitated by machines, and these machines could also be involved with encouraging ethical behaviour. In this paper we explore this position from the perspective of a 3D printer, looking at what interactions between humans and machines might look like while they negotiate the process of making.

Read the full paper here.


Negotiating Ethical Making
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 3:00pm
Lab Member: 
Tara Campbell

Call for Proposals – Envisioning the Urban: Adaptive Habitats through Ecological Design

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 12:00pm to Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 5:00pm

The Ontario Climate Consortium (OCC) and OCAD University are pleased to host the 6th Ontario Climate Symposium. This year’s Symposium aims to generate important discussions surrounding the role that art and design can play in developing adaptive, low carbon cities. By exploring how ecology meets tactical urbanism, the Symposium will showcase real-life examples of how technology, policy, green infrastructure and strategic design can come together to transform cities.

We wish to encourage the development of positive, innovative, interdisciplinary visions that foster a transformative cultural shift toward low carbon communities, sustainable adaptation and the adoption of green infrastructure and design in urban cities. We hope such visions will bring to life and highlight the interconnection of urban planning and development, urban ecology, landscape design, art and culture, land use policy, public health, climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The Ontario Climate Symposium is an interdisciplinary event. As such, we welcome a variety of innovative and multidisciplinary research proposals and visions. However, non-traditional styles of research/concept presentations will be prioritized. These include, but are not limited to, exhibitions or installations, short films and documentary screenings, themed sessions/panels, art and digital media, workshops/interactive sessions, posters, presentations, and tour ideas that express or examine the Symposium theme(s) described above.

Full information is in the call for proposals below.

Call for proposals

Native Plant Propagation Workshop

Photograph of baby plants growing out of soil
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 2:30pm

Now is the perfect time to a get a jump on Spring and start native plant seeds for this year’s gardening season. Native plants have evolved and adapted to our local growing conditions, making them perfect additions to your garden! Join us for a free, hands-on workshop where we share tips, techniques and seeds to allow you to:
- Learn about the benefits of gardening with native plants
- Get to know varieties that can thrive in your conditions
- Learn how to cold-stratify perennial seeds and plant them

This workshop will be lead by Sayeh Dastgheib-Beheshti who teaches Sustainable Practices in the Design Program. The workshop is open to OCAD U students, faculty and staff and is free!

Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1 Also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street
416-977-6000 ext. 2529

grOCAD Exhibition

Photographs of grOCAD members displayed in text shape image spelling the name grOCAD.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 9:00am to Saturday, September 30, 2017 - 6:00pm

grOCAD Exhibition is the latest installation in the Learning Zone. This exhibition highlights grOCAD’s explorations, workshops and on-campus installations focusing on urban agriculture and sustainable practices since the group’s inception in 2011.

grOCAD is one of OCAD University many diverse student groups on campus, with an active interest in community building through plant life.

On exhibit are a small series of colour prints of concept drawings illustrating the creative process behind the works installed on campus, or exhibited at gallery shows. Projects include the Pedal Farm Exhibition, Living Wall, 3rd iteration of Windowfarm, Moss Exhibition, and raised planters constructed during O-days.

The Learning Zone is wheelchair accessible with two Gender-Neutral washrooms..

Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, 113 McCaul Street, Level 1. Also accessible from 122 St. Patrick Street

Sarah Tranum presenting at Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute's Intertational Conference

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 12:15pm to Friday, May 12, 2017 - 12:15pm

Sarah Tranum, Assistant Professor, Social Innovation Design, will be presenting her paper titled, "Operationalizing Women’s Power Through Daily Water Chores: Intersections of Belief, Home, Environment, and Sustainability" at the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute’s international conference on Engaging Canada and India: Perspectives on Sustainability. The conference will be held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India, May 11th and 12th, 2017.

For more information please click here

Venue & Address: 
India Habitat Centre. New Delhi, India

OCAD U celebrates Earth Hour!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

OCAD U is keeping the lights on. For 24 hours on March 25, 2017, OCAD U is Bullfrog Powered with 100% green electricity in celebration of Earth Hour.

This means that Bullfrog Power's generators put 100% green power onto the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity the campus uses, displacing energy from polluting sources. Across Canada, Bullfrog's green electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro power sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities.

What is OCAD U's impact? For the 41.920 MWh of green electricity purchased for the entire campus for March 25, the emission reductions are 6.707 CO2e. 

41.920 MWh is more than 1,500 homes' electricity consumption for a day! 

To determine more environmental equivalencies related to emissions reduction, you can go to the EPA's carbon equivalency calculator. Plug 6.707 tonnes into the "CO2 - Carbon Dioxide or CO2 Equivalent" field to find some interesting comparisons! 

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St.
Poster for Earth Day featuring illustration of Sharp Centre