Alia Weston Jewelry Exhibition & Reception

Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 2:00pm

Please join us for a celebration on 24th of November, 14:00 – 20:00, at JJSTUDIO gallery 825 Bloor St. W Toronto


The full exhibition runs 19-26th November.

Venue & Address: 
JJSTUDIO Gallery 825 Bloor St. W Toronto
A portrait of a well dressed dark haired woman wearing a silver choker necklace enjoys the scent of a burgundy rose


orange cape with black and grey squares wrapped around stone
copper sequins sewn on fabric and red stitching on a white metal stand
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Please join us for Eco|Femin|Isms, a free panel discussion hosted at OCAD University on Wednesday October 24th at 7pm, at 49 McCaul Street. This will be an opportunity to discuss eco arts practices with special guests including J.P King, Eco|Femin|Isms artist Marjan Verstappen, and Alia Weston. The Panel is moderated by Vicki Clough.


Ecofeminism, with its inception during Second Wave Feminism of the 1960s and 70s, was quickly sidelined due to an apparent lack of coherent vocabulary that could serve to unify emerging environmental considerations equitably. Contemporary Feminism, while not specifically ecological in intent and practice, allows for the multiplicity of voices that inherently illustrates the intersectional ways in which environmental issues have an effect on us all. 

Eco|Femin|Isms creates space for a range of creative practices that explore our relationship to the environment. 

The Panel is hosted in conjunction with the Eco|Femin|Isms Exhibition held at the White House Studio Project. The exhibition is curated by Vicki Clough, and features artwork by Tsēmā Igharas, Elyse Portal , Dana Prieto and Marjan Verstappen. Eco|Femin|isms showcases contemporary ecological considerations as they relate to culture, politics, spirituality and materialism and provides multiple entry points for critical dialogues that are both urgent and salient in contemporary society. 


Facebook Page with further information:

Please confirm your participation here!

Event Schedule: 
Panel Discussion 
Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 — 7pm-8.30pm 
49 McCaul Street, Toronto

Exhibition Opening Day
Saturday, October 27th, 2018 — 12pm-17.00pm
The White House Studio Project
277 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
*light refreshments will be provided.

Opening Times
Sunday, October 28th, 2018 — 12pm-17.00pm
Saturday & Sunday, November 3rd & 4th, 2018 — 13.00-16.00

By Appointment
Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 — 18.00-20.00pm
Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 — 18.00-20.00
Thursday, November 1st, 2018 — 18.00-20.00

This project is generously hosted by The White House Studio Project and supported by the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.  

Venue & Address: 
49 McCaul Street, Toronto

Register now for Ontario Climate symposium

Logo for symposium with trees and circles
Monday, September 17, 2018

OCAD University is hosting the 2018 Ontario Climate Change Consortium symposium on October 11 and 12. The symposium will explore how the development of positive, innovative, interdisciplinary visions can facilitate a transformative cultural shift toward low-carbon communities, sustainable adaptation and the adoption of green infrastructure and design in cities.

The two-day event is open to all, with students receiving a discounted rate. Come participate in a wide range of activities including a neighbourhood tour, short films, interactive presentations, a guided tour of the AGO’s Anthropocene exhibition, workshops and other activities. OCAD U Associate Professors Selmin Kara and Alia Weston are among faculty speaking or leading workshops.

Programming aims to foster a collective discussion on urban landscapes and highlight the interconnection of policy, public health, urban planning, climate change adaptation and mitigation and urban growth.

Register online for this exciting and informative event.

Established in 2011, the OCC works collaboratively with university researchers and partners from the public, private and NGO sectors on projects aimed at answering specific questions related to climate change and creating the intelligence necessary to address climate risk. Its formal mission: To arm decision makers with “regionally-specific climate data, intelligence and adaptation services that enable effective policy and investment responses to climate uncertainty in Ontario.”


This Art Works! Exhibition

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 to Saturday, October 21, 2017

There are artists who make pretty pictures to hang on your mantle. This Art Works! is not about those artists. A new original series created by Madeleine Co, in partnership with OCAD University for CBC Arts, This Art Works! is a subversively surreal showcase of provocative projects by Canadian artists tackling today's most pressing and controversial issues. Using a variety of artistic methods, the artists let their imaginations run wild to make art work for social change. With a supporting cast of comedians, This Art Works! fuses the wholesomeness of children's television with an absurdist comedic bent, creating a bizarre world unlike any other.

This Art Works! emerged out of the Impact Collective project, led by Zev Farber (Manager, Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers) and Dr Alia Weston (Assistant Professor of Creative and Business Enterprise), at OCAD University.
Watch the original pilot episode from 2016 at

Watch all 10 new episodes at CBC Arts and search for “This Art Works!
This Art Works! has empowered more than 30 OCAD U students and recent alumni to showcase - on a national platform - how they use their art and design skills to effect social change. Students and alumni were employed in the making of the series, every episode was filmed at OCAD U and the project intersects with programs we offer in the Art, Design and Liberal Arts and Sciences Faculties.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Lobby 100 McCaul St.
Image of words on a palette: This Art Works

Teaching creative entrepreneurs about the business of social innovation

Studying the whys, wherefores and how-tos of business is not what first leaps to mind when one imagines post-secondary education in art and design. OCAD University’s Alia Weston, however, believes understanding business history and practices can be a powerful asset for emerging artists and designers: “Equipping our students with business skills that will enable them to be more sustainable and resilient as they forge careers in the creative economy is the foundation of my work as an educator.”

An assistant professor of creative business enterprise in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Weston is motivated, in part, by a desire to share those “things I wish I had been taught when I was pursuing my own undergraduate studies.” Weston explains: “After I completed my BA in silversmithing, jewellery and allied crafts at the Sir John Cass School of Art and Design, I realized that, while I had gained design skills and qualifications and sold my work as a practising jeweller, I didn’t know anything about how to start a business, especially in such a highly competitive place as London.” In order to acquire that knowledge, Weston undertook a master’s in business studies at Kingston University, where she found herself drawn to alternative businesses and micro-economies. Weston stayed on at Kingston to cap off her formal studies with a cross-disciplinary PhD, focusing on creativity in the “informal economy” during the 2000s crisis in her home country of Zimbabwe.

Informed engagement

At OCAD U since 2014, Weston combines her ongoing work as a professional jeweller and her scholarly research on business, creativity and social impact, to design and deliver courses that empower students “to engage with business in a more informed manner.” Weston regards knowledge of business practices and strategies as “essential” for creative people. Art and design graduates, she says, “need to be able to make a living and flourish in society – that’s where entrepreneurship skills are invaluable. On the other side of the coin is learning about social responsibility and mission-driven business.”

Weston’s convictions have taken flight in OCAD U’s Minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation. Co-designed and co-directed with Sarah Tranum, an assistant professor of social innovation design, the program began in September 2015. Open to students pursuing any major, it has proven highly appealing, with both core courses – SOSC 2004: Business, Leadership and Social Innovation and SOSC 3010 Creative Economies – fully enrolled.                             

In the classroom, Weston emphasizes hands-on experiences. “My courses all have a collaborative and experiential dimension,” she says. “I try to get my students to carry out work that is as practically relevant as possible. I therefore incorporate a range of formats and activities, including experiential projects, seminars, industry engagement, visiting speakers, student presentations and real-world business research and analysis.”


Elastic Effect

Elastic effect: Here, students took the most inspiring amount to initiative, and sold refreshments in the lobby of 100 McCaul St. to fund an art exhibition/ networking event that was the main event for their assignment. Their social mission was to give other students the opportunity to exhibit their work and network with local businesses.


O-POP Art Fair

O-POP Art Fair: here, students' social mission was to give a platform for other students to sell their work, they got loads of people to attend the event in 49 McCaul St.



Heartlines: A selfcare colouring book made with artwork from students at OCAD U, and sold to raise money for the health and wellness centre at OCAD U.


Beyond her teaching, Weston expands opportunities for students to learn about and engage in business and social innovation through her leadership of the university’s Impact Economy Research Hub — an arm of the Impact Collective, which she co-directs with Zev Farber of the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers. A notable Impact Collective project is the extended success of the Art Works! Video, which has been newly commissioned by CBC Arts as an online series and showcases how OCAD U community members use art and design to create dialogue about social change.

Good business

For Weston, business education at an art and design university pivots on helping students develop “transferable” skills. These include collaboration, research and analysis, and critical reflection — “acknowledging both the successes and limitations of knowledge and practice.”

“I also want to challenge the view that business and economic practices are fundamentally exploitative, harmful and unethical.” While that is sometimes the case, Weston accepts, what matters most is how one does business. Shedding light on this concept, Weston cites Caitlynn Fairbarns (Photography 2015) who drew on what she learned in Weston’s Entrepreneurship course to turn her final-year thesis project into a mission-driven enterprise that generates income by publishing zines, selling artwork and running community events while demystifying gender stereotypes in fan culture. “As Fairbarns’ Fake Geek Girls Like Us publishing platform shows, business can be extremely beneficial and socially innovative. It can, for instance, promote community values and development while also being economically sustainable. That’s the message I hope I’m able to communicate to my students.”


Morgan Holmes is a writer and editor based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His main areas of expertise are post-secondary education, the arts, and health care. When he's not wrangling words, Morgan enjoys making a racket on the Great Highland bagpipes.

*all images are from Weston's entrepreneurship class
Morgan Holmes

Research Seed Grants and industry partnership news

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 8:30pm

OCAD University Office of Research is pleased to announce the following grant and award recipients: 

SSHRC Institutional Grants, Fall 2014

  • Robert Diaz, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Unsettling the Canadian Global City: Queer Filipino/as and Diasporic Imaginaries
  • Lynne Milgram, Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, From Market to Market: Filipino-Toronto Entrepreneurs Refashion a Transnational Business Landscape
  • Gabrielle Moser, Lecturer, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Developing Historical Negatives: Picturing Race and Citizenship in the Canadian Photographic Archive

OCAD U Research Seed Grants, Fall 2014

  • Greg Sims, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Design, Products Design for Sustainable 3D Printed Matter
  • Alia Weston, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Activate Enterprise: Business Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Development in a Post-Crisis Economy

CORUS Seed Grants, Fall 2014

  • Kate Hartman, Associate Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Concentration-Activated Wearables
  • Barbara Rauch, Associate Professor, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Making Process: A Temporal Aesthetics Surface Investigation

The above grants have a value of $2500.


Prof. Judith Doyle’s installation PointCloud is being hosted by Telus Corporation. Prof. Doyle’s project will be installed in the Telus Innovation Centre.

CineFocus, a resident of the Imagination Catalyst (ICAT), was awarded a $10,000 investment by the Imagination Fund.

Twenty One Toys, another ICAT participant, was included in the roundup of Best Kid’s Design of 2014 by FastCoDesign.