“It was nice to see everyone coming together to solve problems that not many people take time to figure out. I think that workshops like these enable us and make us feel that our voice does matter” - T. Alexander, photographer and artist, Toronto.

Associate Professor Cheryl Giraudy, Faculty of Design and Assistant Professor Saskia van Kampen, School of Design (San Francisco State University) hosted the workshop ‘Creative Practice as Protest’ (CPP) with SSHRC grant partner Colloqate Design, an award-winning platform for racial, social, and cultural equity of public spaces and places. Co-founder Bryan C. Lee Jr. architect and activist joined the research team including Lead Research Assistant Lena Phillips (Urban Development Planner), assistants Nicholas Sagar (Photography) and Jun Li (Digital Futures) to welcome youth ages18–25 from across Toronto to share collective aspirations for a more equitable Toronto.

CPP is one of several events aligned with the research project Design Wo/ManifesT.O. (DM2020) launched at DesignTO in 2019. The project is a two-year effort to learn about grassroots initiatives fostering respectful design for placemaking, and place-keeping, and has engaged over 100 participants to date, including community youth leaders attending the workshop. Lena Philips brought her extensive experience in engagement of diverse young stakeholders to the effort, helping to shift focus from a student ‘ideas competition‘ to an ‘Youth ideas forum’ where next generation of creative practitioners and activists could network, create new alliances and develop solutions for the myriad of challenges and opportunities they perceive Toronto holds. Partnership with Colloqate offered a new framing for the forum and dovetailed with the non-profit’s current design justice work with Black Lives Matter Toronto. During the morning session, Colloqate inspired the audience with several themes including: making co-design for social justice a reality; how next gen become creative practitioners for action; who holds power in planning for communities, and how to access power effectively for justice in placemaking. The session unpacked equity, identity, and liberation in social structures in order to achieve/reclaim these states going forward. The afternoon session focused on re-imagination of Toronto for greater representation and inclusion, particularly for communities where voices of lived realities in decision-making are suppressed. 

Creative mentors joined CPP including: Jay Wall, Founder, Rally Rally design studio for social change; Jaicyea Smith MDes (Inclusive Design) Founder, Toronto Skate Stop and Her Buddah Belly; Sean Lee, Artistic Director-Tangled Art + Disability; Melanie Printup-Hope, Associate Dean, Faculty of Design Educator, Indigenous visual culture, graphic designer; Marcela Cordero, MDes (Interdisciplinary Design Strategy, George Brown) and Adwua Afful, Black Futures Now and Mapping Black Futures Project.

Many community leaders from a diverse range of organizations were invited to participate including Benjamin Bongolan, Coordinator, Newcomer Family Settlement Services at The 519, LGBTQ community hub; Abba Wie-Addo, Sr. Progam Leader, Rexdale Youth Mentorship Program, and Cheryll Case, Founder, Principal Urban Planner of CP Planning and Urban Design Coordinator, City of Brampton. Over the lunch break, artist Randell Adjei Founder, Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (R.I.S.E Edutainment) used the art of spoken word to not only inspire the participants, but demonstrate how a powerful tool such as creative practice can share lived experiences, and foster respect for community and identity. R.I.S.E Edutainment is one of Toronto’s largest and longest running youth-led initiatives.

Mentors and community leaders were key to supporting participation, fostering responses for creative planning exercises and supporting participants in confirming themselves as change-makers. The engagement across disciplines, community groups, and individuals was intense and lead to the development of bold ideas, and practical solutions to issues of exclusion and lack of empowerment in city planning and design processes. Outcomes of the workshop are from the pre-Covid-19 timeframe, and pre-global discussion on systemic racism and need for systemic and significant change across socio-economic, cultural, health, and justice platforms. As the research extends into a new era, new shared lived experiences will be added to the growing database of emerging strategies and tools for both addressing community need in building a more inclusive city, and in designing the spaces and places that define it.

30 youth participants registered for the event and a further 42 on a waiting list. The response indicates the need for more opportunities for youth to come together to vision a future based on real world experience and imagination of what can be. Listening to the deep and heartfelt stories of trying to keep and make spaces/places in the city reflect and respect the communities they serve via the open forums and workshops is yielding both expected and unexpected outcomes. DM2020 continues to gather the creative endeavours with the aim of co-designing community-based, socially-driven design tools for greater inclusive placemaking across Toronto and elsewhere.

Additional Notes:

CPP was published in Toronto’s Caribbean Newspaper, February 2020. Reporter and youth participant Selina Macallum interviewed research partner Bryan Lee Jr. about Colloqate’s work in supporting, engaging, black and other racialized communities and in fostering designers and architects in the US and Canada for greater equity in designing the public realm.

DM2020 is planning its next community-based forum (online) aiming to engage youth activists specifically from west Toronto in discussions for both evolving the online public square and planning of physical spaces with social justice and social distancing principles in a Covid-19 era.

Saskia gave an online presentation at the10th Annual International Conference on Urban Studies & Planning hosted by the Athens Institute for Education and Research. The paper titled: Building “Working with, not for” into Design Studio Curriculum explores the outcomes of the CPP, reaffirming ‘ethics’ based on human-centred and participatory approaches as intrinsic to the discipline and pedagogy of design. The full paper will be published in the Athens Journal of Architecture in Fall 2020.

Cheryl Giraudy, B.Arch. MSc. OAA MRAIC has 30 years as a practicing architect and 20 years teaching at OCAD U, and supporting and leading research for the built environment with course-based projects, external partnerships, and academic granted work. She has held posts of Associate Dean in the Faculty of Design, and interim Graduate Program Director, Inclusive Design, an emerging discipline in which she holds an MSc. in design from the University of Salford, UK. She teaches in the Environmental Design program in third and fourth year, and undertakes participatory research focused on diverse communities across Toronto that have been underrepresented in decision-making for the design of the public realm. She fosters co-design strategies for equitable placemaking along with the accessible navigation of them. Projects include work with Toronto Community Housing, Bayview Hospital, and other Toronto community engagements through DM2020 research. Cheryl contributed to the provincial association of architects as Chair of the OAA Honours and Awards program for many years bringing about new award categories including Best Emerging Practice, and was a long-time consultant for an international organization employing ‘whole building’ standards, and human-centred approaches to programming and planning large complexes such as government offices, embassies, and more.

Saskia van Kampen (MDes, RGD, AIGA) has taught graphic Design at OCAD University as an Assistant Professor since 2014 and is now Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at San Francisco State University. She is focused on developing research projects that involve students, believing that by doing so she is supporting the next generation of designers to be socially driven in terms of accessible and inclusive design outcomes. Her research includes critical pedagogy in studio design courses, writing in the disciplines, and codesign practices. Before moving to the States, she was the Vice President of Education and board member of RGD (Registered Graphic Designers). Her role in RGD was to create programs that support both students and academic professionals in design. As such she created a Canada-wide Designathon, set up yearly academic awards of excellence and began an academic peer-reviewed journal. Professor van Kampen is also a contemporary feminist artist, using traditional creative practices such as needlework to deconstruct contemporary design methods and messages. 

Lena Phillips (she/her), based in Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada), currently works at the intersection of philanthropy and equity, supporting grassroots and systems change work being led by and for Indigenous and Black communities. She has been the lead assistant for the DM2020 research project and instrumental in developing the Creative Practice as Protest workshop held at OCAD U. She brings a focus on exploring creative practice, placemaking and design justice for the project. Lena is also a researcher with Virtual Grounds (a project of Digital Justice Lab and Trinity Square video) where she is exploring digital justice and urban futures. She previously worked in the non-profit and international development sectors focusing on food security, arts and culture, and community development. Past projects include: youth-led, grassroots organizing for climate justice; facilitating new programs and partnerships as an Aga Khan Foundation Fellow in Uganda; and engaging as a participatory action researcher focused on housing/displacement in London post-2012 Olympics and on antieviction work in slums/informal settlements in sub-Saharan African cities. Her interests lie in applying African/Afro-centric, Southern and Indigenous epistemologies and urbanisms as a means to critically interrogate dominate Northern/Western theories of (urban) space. She has a BA from the University of Toronto and an MSc Urban Development Planning from The Bartlett, University College London.

To learn more about this research, please visit:

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Image of Youth participants working in groups as part of the Creative Practice as Protest Workshop held at OCAD U in January 202
Thursday, July 9, 2020 - 10:15am
Lab Member: 
Cheryl Giraudy

Design ManifesT.O 2020

Recipients of 2018 OCAD University Research Seed Grant, Associate Professor Cheryl Giraudy and Assistant Professor Saskia van Kampen, Faculty of Design have just launched a two­-year research effort with the working title Design ManifesT.O 2020: creating new ideas for Toronto. The project has begun with an audit of past and ongoing proposals, movements, policies, and calls to action that evolve art, design and creative endeavours of place­making as part of transforming the city, including aspirations for greater equity, democratic reform, infrastructure, transit, amalgamation, and neighbourhood redevelopment.

The project launched with a public panel discussion as part of the 2019 DesignTO Festival at the Open Gallery, 49 McCaul. The panel of community­-based activists, writers, critics, and makers, moderated by Councillor Kristyn Wong­Tam, Toronto Centre Ward 13, shared their stories for grassroot endeavours and disruptive strategies for place­making and included Author Dave Meslin, Community organizer Sabina Ali, Manager, Community + Policy Connections Ajeev Bhatia, and Public Art Critic Sarah Ratzlaff. Research Assistants Christine Xia and Samantha Matters contributed significantly to efforts of planning, and research collection. The research team has begun planning the second forum in collaboration with potential sponsors, and aimed for Scarborough neighbourhoods, to gather/listen to citizen efforts for community-based creative placemaking.

In conjunction with faculty partners, early plans for a ‘Creative Practice as Protest Workshop’ with Colloqate.Org, an award winning community platform for racial, social, and cultural equity in city­making, are being discussed, potentially aligned with a student competition for new ideas for Toronto. Stories and information collected from all events, forums, workshops, as well as interviews, will form a rich database to explore and ideally manifest a creative artefact, be it video, book or toolkit for planning Toronto 2020 and beyond.


Photograph of Borough Posters installed in the windows of 49 McCaul.
Guest Panelists Dave Meslin, Ajeev Bhatia in discussion prior to event in front of Borough Posters
Photo of Project Launch with Panel Discussion and Open Mic at Open Gallery 49 McCaul St
Photo of Research Collaborators Saskia Van Kampen, Cheryl Giraudy and Bryan Lee Jr., co-founder of Colloqate.Org meeting
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 10:30am
Lab Member: 
Cheryl Giraudy
Saskia van Kampen


Design TO panel
Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 6:30pm

The Design Wo/ManiFesT.O. kick-off public panel discussion was part of the 2019 Design TO Festival (formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) and took the form of a discourse salon. The panel of community-based activists, writers, critics, and makers told their stories of making change in their communities. The audience was then asked to share their own stories or ask the panel questions and end with a public open-microphone session encouraging guests to tell us their visions for Toronto. 

Panelists included:
David Meslin is the Creative Director of Unlock Democracy Canada, the founder of the Toronto Public Space Committee and the co-founder of Spacing Magazine.
Ajeev Bhatia is currently the Manager of Policy/Community Connections with the Centre for Connected Communities, an organization which connects community builders, translates knowledge across sectors, and celebrates community building to support communities to solutions to complex social issues.
Sabina Ali is the Chair and one of the founding members of Thorncliffe Park Women’sCommittee—created by residents to advance a transformative vision for Thorncliffe Park and the surrounding community.
Sara Ratzlaff is a recent philosophy graduate from the University of Toronto and the Public Art Columnist for Spacing Magazine. She is interested in philosophical theories that focus on the nature of public art and public space, and hopes to debunk some of the presuppositions we have about these concepts.

Kristin Wong-Tam is a third-term Toronto City Councillor and is currently serving the communities of Toronto-Centre (Ward 13) in the new 25 ward system.

Sponsored by:
Environmental Design Program, OCAD University

The research team has begun planning the second forum in collaboration with potential sponsors, and aimed for Scarborough neighbourhoods, to gather/listen to citizen efforts for community based creative placemaking. In conjunction with faculty partners, early plans for a ‘Creative Practice as Protest Workshop’ with Colloqate.Org, an award winning community platform for racial, social, and cultural equity in city-making, are being discussed, potentially aligned with a student competition for new  ideas for Toronto. Stories and information collected from all events, forums, workshops, as well as interviews, will form a rich database to explore and ideally manifest a creative artefact, be it video, book or toolkit for planning Toronto 2020 and beyond.

Be a part of the conversation at


Venue & Address: 
Open Space Gallery 49 McCaul Street
The panel

ZINE POWER Exhibition

Photograph of Zine Power Exhibition sign. Metal letters on burgandy paper.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 2:00pm to Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 6:00pm

Zine Power is the current exhibition at the Learning Zone Gallery.

This exhibition features zine work by 14 creators from OCAD University and Toronto zine community.

On display are completed publications including rough notes, sketches, and other process documents that were generated in the making of a zine to give viewers a deeper insight to the experiences of zine creators.

On until December 2


Sahar Abdallah

Pauline Aksay

Tal Sofia Braniss

Carrying Root Collective

Donny Nie

Eunice Lai & Friends

Lindsay Gibb

Tara Krebs

Kai Lumbang

Natalie Mark

Yahn Nemirovsky

Donny Nie

Tami Poliwoda

Lina Wu


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

Living City Report Card

Using the proprietary Megamap© process and foresight methods we supported TRCA in prioritizing and visualizing its complex data for the updated Living City Report Card. We also synthesized all major components in an 8’ x 4’ Megamap©.


  • Establish foresight-based criteria for prioritizing and selecting information for the Living City Report Card (LCRC)
  • Facilitating internal negotiations about priorities and messages among stakeholders
  • Identifying and profiling key target audiences for the LCRC communication
  • Facilitating articulation of cross-departmental strategic messages
  • Reviewing and processing selected data pre-visualization
  • Development of key visual concepts for LCRC
  • Deliver 15 one-page Infographics for the individual indicators of LCRC
  • Synthesize all Infographics in one Megamap©


How might TRCA prioritize, select, and synthesize key information from the wealth of data they have to optimize the effectiveness of its updated LCRC?

A Joint team from TRCA and OCAD’s Resilience Design Lab implemented the Living City Report Card project. We introduced TRCA team members to concepts of strategic foresight and co-designed a workshop for TRCA key staff, in which a foresight exercise was used to form a common vision of the possible futures. This common vision was then used as a basis to resolve differences in prioritizing data.

We led our colleagues at TRCA through the Megamap© process that helped them to identify and profile the intended target audience of LCRC, and negotiate the 50+ different messages of the various departments to a group of less than 10 priority messages supported by all groups.

Building on this strong collective understanding and objectives we reviewed and screened data submitted to support the common messages, proposed visual concepts to span all visualizations and developed 15 one-page inforgraphics for the indicators presented in the LCRC.  

Finally we synthesized all indicator visualizations into one 8’ x 4’ Megamap©

Visit the Living City Report Card website for more information.


Living City Report Card Mega Map
Living City Report Card Agriculture
Living City Report Card Fish
Living City Report Card Flood Risk
Living City Report Card Green Buildings
Living City Report Card Greenspace
Living City Report Card Natural Cover
Living City Report Card Stormwater Management
Living City Report Card Urban Forest
Living City Report Card Terrestrial Biodiversity
Living City Report Card Water Quality
Megamap Unveiling for Living City Report Card
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 12:30pm
Lab Member: 
Nabil Harfoush

Space to create: a glimpse inside innovative work studios in Toronto and beyond

Finding the right space to create in is integral to the creative practice , and right now there’s no question this is more challenging than ever—but it’s not impossible. As rents in Canadian cities continue to rise and neighbourhoods gentrify, independent creators pushed out of old warehouses and lofts are finding new places to work in. Sometimes this means joining a studio collective, taking over and transforming an unused room somewhere, or finding a spacious and affordable spot outside of Toronto. We talked to three OCAD U alumni who found or built studios they love.  

Jihee Min

Program: Sculpture/Installation, 2005

Professional practice: Multimedia visual artist with a focus on narrative explorations of identity, cultural displacement and personal experiences within the Korean diaspora. She belongs to Gallery 44 Members Gallery, where she’ll be featured in an upcoming solo exhibition, “A Few Flaps to Belong” (May 5 to June 3). She shows her work across Canada and internationally, including in the US, Italy, Finland and Korea.

Studio location: The White House Studio Project, Kensington Market, Toronto

The find: Min landed a Toronto Arts Council grant in 2016, enabling her to move her practice out of her home and into a studio. She joined The White House Studio Project in November 2016 after an extensive search. Her spot within the collective studio is eight by eight feet, and includes a shared open space where she can work on larger projects or host events.

The fit: The studio is within walking distance to where Min lives and offers plenty of natural light from large second-floor windows overlooking bustling Augusta Avenue. “In my new studio space I’m free to use materials that are messy,” she says. “I was really happy to find this spot. I get here in the morning, go home when the sun sets and I’m inspired by the energy of Kensington Market every day.”

More info:

Photo of Jihee Min's workspace in her Toronto Studio


Artist: Joseph Clement

Program: Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design, 2011

Professional practice: Worked as a landscape architect prior to completing his MFA and brings a background in writing, film and interdisciplinary installations to his new art and design firm, DesignLAND. His feature documentary, Integral Man will also premiere in 2017.  

Studio location: A room in a shared house near Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto

The find: Clement needed a space where he could set up in to do drafting work on his computer, write at a desk, plan installations and collaborate with project partners. He realized a storage room in the four-bedroom house he shares with three friends had potential, so he cleared it out, ripped out four layers of laminate and linoleum flooring, painted the walls bright white and filled it with plants to create a studio.

The fit: “My studio features natural light and a view. If I need take a mental break I can stare out the window at the park,” he says. He also gave careful consideration to the studio set-up: “A thoughtfully organized space is so important. I know where everything is and my work is very fluid. I’m never searching for materials I need.”

More info: Instagram: _design_land_ and


Artist: Melanie Janisse-Barlow

Program: Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design, 2014

Professional practice: Known for The Poets Series, her round-robin portrait series of North American writers. She also does other portrait painting, designs jewellery and writes poetry. Her first poetry collection, Orioles in the Oranges was published in 2009, and she recently completed two new manuscripts for publication.

Studio location: Artist’s studio in the historic Capitol Theatre, Windsor

The find: When she lived in Toronto (before rents skyrocketed), Janisse-Barlow enjoyed working in warehouse spaces, including one at Sorauren and Dundas and one on Brock Avenue. When she returned to Windsor to live and work two years ago she discovered there were vacant artists’ studios in an old theatre downtown. She enquired about the space and ended up landing a 350 square-foot studio. It’s a corner space with two banks of windows. The city, which owns the building, fixed it up for her: the windows are brand new, as is the wiring and ventilation. She rents the space from the building’s tenant: the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

The fit: “Living in a smaller city and working in an affordable space relaunched my creative practice,” she says. “There’s a lot of light, it’s full of old Persian carpets and beautiful furniture, including a vintage easel from Paris. I’m incredibly productive here. It’s very comfortable, like a home.”

More info:


Photo of Melanie Janisse-Barlow in her Windsor studio


Suzanne Alyssa Andrew is the author of the novel, Circle of Stones, the associate editor for Taddle Creek magazine and a bass player. She works out of a studio space in Artscape.

Read more about OCAD University's Creative City Campus.

By Suzanne Alyssa Andrew
Standard Template


Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 7:00pm


Three maestros of conversation, central players in Toronto’s underground movie culture, will weigh in on utopia, collective practice, modern versus postmodern.

Panel discussion with: Judith Doyle, David McIntosh, Dot Tuer

Thursday, February 2, 2017

7:00 pm • Room 230

OCAD U • 100 McCaul Street

Venue & Address: 
Room 230, OCAD U, 100 McCaul Street
image with credits

Once Near Water: Notes from the Scaffolding Archive

video still, credit Vera Frenkel
Friday, September 19, 2008 - 11:00pm to Saturday, September 20, 2008 - 1:30am

Once Near Water: Notes from the Scaffolding Archive is a work about a city cut off from its lake and in trouble, where ubiquitous scaffolding serves as metaphor for both aspiration and loss.

Following a chance encounter, Vera Frenkel has drawn together a documentary and fictional elements to create a work about a stranger she barely knew but still finds compelling - a collector of scaffolding images - fusing praise and lament into a video ballad for a changing city. The narrative unfolds in an interplay of two voices; a letter from one woman, read by another.

Venue & Address: 
Akau Inc. 1186 Queen Street West (rear entrance)M6J 1J6, Toronto, Ontario

Luminato's Queen Street Celebration

Saturday, June 7, 2008 - 4:00am

As part of Luminato’s free public opening weekend, revisit the sights and sounds of a legendary era in Toronto's popular culture.

After Yorkville's "Summer of Love," Toronto's coolest scene moved south to Queen Street and the Ontario College of Art (as it was then known), inspiring collaborations in art and music that, by the mid '80s, had helped create the punk, new wave, and world beat eclectic mix.

On stage, from 1:30 p.m.: Johnny & the G-Rays, The "B" Girls, Mary Margaret O'Hara, The Parachute Club plus Mojah, OCAD Faculty of Liberal Studies Professor Lillian Allen, Micah Barnes and Telmary. Meanwhile, at the Ontario College of Art & Design, from noon, catch a glimpse of period artifacts and photographs, plus a video program extending past 6:30 p.m. with a panel discussion and closing cabaret "Mono Logic" by Andrew J. Paterson.

Created and produced by Martin Robertson, Ideas in Motion.

Associate producer, video and research, Henry Martinuk, in collaboration with the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Schedule of Events

All FREE – presented by Telus and Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity

McCaul Street Stage (outside OCAD, south of Dundas)
1:30 to 2:45 pm: Johnny & the G-Rays (John Macleod, Harri Palm, Mike Young, Rob Greenaway) with Special Guests the ‘B’ Girls (Cynthia Ross, Xenia Splawinski)
3 to 4 pm: Mary Margaret O’Hara
4:30 to 6 pm: The Parachute Club with Special Guests Mojah, Lillian Allen, Micah Barnes, Telmary

OCAD Auditorium - Evening
6:30 pm: Screening “ART vs. Art” video (Director: Deanne Taylor)

7:30 pm: Panel Presentations moderated by Martin Robertson: Deanne Taylor (Video Cab), John Hamilton (the Diodes, Secrets, Beverley Brothers), Johanna Householder (the Clichettes, OCAD faculty), Mark Gane (Martha and the Muffins)

8:45 pm: Interdisciplinary Presentation: “MONO LOGICAL” by Andrew J. Paterson

OCAD Great Hall
12 to 6 pm: Artifacts, an exhibition of posters, photographs, and promotional materials of the period from personal collections. Photographs by Don Pyle.
Curated by Kym Pruesse, Professor of Popular Culture, OCAD.

OCAD Auditorium
12 to 6 pm: Video programme including Peter Vronsky’s “Crash ‘n’ Burn (Dada’s Boys), Lorraine Segato’s “Queen Street West: The Rebel Zone”, “Artists Only” & “Toronto’s Punk Past” by Henry Martinuk. Plus vintage videos by Johnny and the G-Rays, Martha and the Muffins & The Secrets.

Venue & Address: 
McCaul Street and Main Building 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Alternative Tentacles 3

Friday, April 18, 2008 - 4:00am to Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 4:00am

Building on the success of two years of packed-to-the-rafters salon-style shows, the third annual art exhibition highlights the creative work done by students who do not fit into the mainstream school experience and have chosen an alternative. This show, the result of an ongoing partnership between XPACE and a family of alternative highschools, provides a supportive educational experience for youth to learn and contribute to the local cultural community and serves as a launching pad for young artists to share their unique creative voices with the broader public. Alternative Schools in the Toronto District School Board have demonstrated a 40 year commitment to the arts and have had a large number of students go on to post-secondary art institutions and arts-related careers in Toronto and beyond.

Venue & Address: 
XPACE Cultural Centre 58 Ossington, Toronto, Ontario
For more information please contact Craig at Oasis: 416 393 9830