Photo of Lynne Heller
Photo of Lynne Heller
Lynne Heller
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Design, Graduate Studies


Lynne Heller is a post-disciplinary artist, an educator and academic. Her interests encompass material culture, new media performative interaction, graphic novels and sculptural installation. Heller completed her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004 and her PhD in 2016 at University College Dublin, Ireland from the department of Gender, Culture and Identity in the School of Humanities and Arts, with a research focus on feminist practice in online culture. Her research was practice-based, with a specialty in Digital Media Arts.  She is an Assistant Professor at OCAD University in the Faculty of Design, as well as being co-director of the Data Materialization Lab. She is also an adjunct faculty member of SMARTlab, Ireland.

Heller has an extensive exhibition record both nationally and internationally and is the recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Canada. Recent exhibitions include Slippage at the Robert Langen Art Gallery, University at Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Chelsea Girls, Gallery 44, Toronto, ON, Homeostasis Lab, The Wrong – New Digital Art Biennale, made and exhibited worldwide, Another Season: An International Exchange Project, Gallery 44, Toronto, ON (the exhibition travelled to the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, the Detroit Centre for Contemporary Photography, and the Hippolyte Photographic Gallery, Helsinki) and Hysteria: Past, Present, Future curated by Anonda Bell, Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey, USA. She exhibited this past year at WARC Gallery, Toronto, ON, ISEA2014, Dubai, UAE, touring - Salisbury, Leicester, Bristol, London and online, 2014-15. Recent publications include the chapter “Found Objects, Bought Selves” in New Opportunities for Artistic Practice in Virtual Worlds, ed. Dr. Denise Doyle.

Heller has run her own communications business since 1997, designing web sites for award winning projects such as Things That Matter: Stories of Living with Colorectal Cancer funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and Virtual Coach — a pain management tool for breast cancer patients funded by the University Health Network and the Centre for Global eHealth Innovations.

Heller is also the Reviews Editor for Virtual Creativity (VCR), an academic peer-reviewed journal focusing on creativity in online virtual worlds and other related platforms where the virtual is examined as a central theme in contemporary media art practices and applied contexts. Pieces exploring the subject of digital creativity are sought from the broad perspective of Art, Science and Technology, in what is a widespread field of discourse. One focus of the journal is an examination of creative activity in the metaverse – from art, design and architecture, to research and education, to play and entertainment. Additionally, Virtual Creativity seeks to engage with ways in which the virtual reflects upon the implications of the physical.  To learn more about Virtual Creativity, please see

In 2018, Heller released a collaborative book titled Fuck Tr*mpa photobook of the signage from the Women's Marches of January 21, 2017, created by 43/30 Parallel Press. It includes photographs by: Lynne Heller / Washington, DC; Kate Jarboe / Austin, TX; M. Wright / Austin, TX; Anne Wilson / Chicago, IL; Alison Palacios / Washington, DC Katrina Wright / Eureka, CA; Emanuela Tallo / Oakland, CA; Liisa Schmoele / Sacramento, CA; and Fenella Sentence / London, UK. The book was made as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood.


Ryerson Polytechnic University, BFA Theatre/Dance, 2002; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA Studio Arts, 2004; University College Dublin, PhD Digital Media Arts, 2016

Professional Experience

Lynne Heller Designs, website and communications design, 1997 - 2013

Selected Exhibitions

  • In Progress, collaboration with Cult–r Lab, Marisa Ronan, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2014-2015Engines of Difference, collaboration with Jackie Calderwood, ISEA2014, Dubai, UAE, touring "Salisbury Arts Centre, Leicester, Bristol, London and online, 2014-15
  • 2014 Popping Pillflowers, Widget Art Gallery, online,, 2014
  • 2014 The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life - Redux, Women's Art Resource Centre, curator Kate Wilson, Toronto, ON
  • 2014 Slippage, Robert Langen Art Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON
  • 2013 Under/Up the Stairs, performance, Rotterdam, Brooklyn and Second Life
  •  2012 Snailmail Spamming, Intervention, newspaper boxes and galleries, Toronto, ON
  • 2011 Everyone Deserves Love, Even You, Artspace, Peterborough, ON
  • 2011 Future Living: Pillflower World, Roadside Attractions, Toronto, ON
  • 3010 Chelsea Girls, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Toronto, ON

Awards \ Grants

  • Finalist, RMG Exposed 2012
  • The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON, 2012
  • Lincoln Croft Memorial Award, Convergence, Tom Thomson Art Gallery, 2010
  • Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Grant, 1991, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Canada Council, Mid-Career Grant, 2005
  • Ontario Crafts Council, 2002
  • Kingscrafts/Lady Flavelle Award, 2002
  • Canada Council, Travel Grant, 2001
  • Department of Foreign Affairs, Canada, International Career Development Grant, 2001
  • Canada Council, Travel Grant, 1997
  • Canada Council, Emerging Artist Grant, 1997
  • Ontario Arts Council, Individual Artist Grant, 1995, 1997, 2009, 2010

Selected Publications

  • Fuck Tr*mp, 43/30 Parallel Press, 2018. 
  • Found Object, Bought Selves–, New Opportunities for Artistic Practice in Virtual Worlds. IGI Global, Spring, 2015 
  • The low life epic: The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life–, Scene 1.2, Intellect, spring 2013
  • Switch ON, online publication, Power Plant, 2013
  • NAFTA "North American Free Trade Art, artist book, 2013
  • The Adventures of Nar Duell in Second Life, comic book series, 2009 - 2012
  • Fuzzy precincts and bleeding edges: feminist theory and the study of virtual materiality, ISEA, Fall 2011, Istanbul, Turkey

Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

Co-Director, Data Materialization Lab, OCAD University, ongoing Avatar Lives: Narratives of Gender, Embodiment and Identity, OCAD University, Toronto and University of Wolverhampton, UK Collaboration, 2015-16 Differing Abilities Research Project, Transitio, Mexico City, MX, 2015 OMDC Research Grant, Focus on Fem-LED, OCAD University, 2014-15 Member, Program Committee, ISEA2015, Simon Fraser University & Emily Carr University of Art + Design, BC, 2015 Member, International Program Committee, ISEA2014, Zayed University, UAE, 2014 Collective Member, Red Head Gallery, Toronto, ON, 2005 - 09 Jury Duties "Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition