LAS/SIS Mini Talks

Black Text on White Background: LAS/SIS Mini Talks
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Please join the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies for mini talks:

Dr. Julian Haladyn, "After the End of History Painting: David Dao and On Kawara"

Dr. Kathy Kiloh, “The Death Drive Revisited: the late works of Eva Hesse and Julia Kristeva’s herethics”

Dr. Jessica Mace, “The city as spectacle: modernity and the urban fabric of Jarvis Street, Toronto.”

Dr. Milena Tomic, "Walter Benjamin’s Unmaking of Art: Anonymity, Parafiction, and the Lecture-Performance in the Museum"

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, 205 Richmond St. W., Room 420
LAS/SIS Mini Talks Poster

Rescheduled - Sabbatical Talks: Dr. Lynne Milgram and Dr. Charles Reeve

Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 3:00pm

Please join the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies for two sabbatical talks:

“Social Entrepreneurship, Specialty Coffee Production, and Transnational Trade in the Northern Philippines”
Dr. Lynne Milgram

3:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M
While the fair-trade-certified coffee movement created advantageous terms for producers, its perceived inadequate concern for higher quality and its uneven producer-vendor relations have given rise to social entrepreneurial initiatives marketing more directly-traded, specialty coffee. The latter’s practice champions business transparency, high quality, and sustainability. As these enterprises expand, however, questions arise regarding the extent to which operations can scale up from their start-up premises and still maintain quality standards and a social justice mandate to engage socioeconomic infrastructure change for producers?
Engaging these issues, this paper analyzes new northern Philippine Arabica coffee enterprises that employ “fairly traded” practices. I argue that while social entrepreneurs have established more equitable terms for their local and transnational trade, people’s subsistence needs can challenge enterprise sustainability. By shortening commodity chains, paying higher prices, and providing cultivation training, Philippine social entrepreneurs have enabled farmers’ engagement in alternatives to conventional mainstream and fair trade markets. Yet, Philippine farmers’ lack of income diversity, weak government support, and competition among traders for limited supplies, can frustrate entrepreneurs’ efforts. Given coffee culture’s growing third wave, I explore whether Philippine entrepreneurs’ timely initiatives might still resolve these push-pull tensions to yield an industry for, and more responsive to, stakeholders needs.

“Artists, autobiography, auto fiction”
Dr. Charles Reeve

4:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.
An “embarrassment,” Paul de Man said. “Disreputable” and “self-indulgent.” He was speaking about autobiographies, and no doubt his assertions would intensify if he focused specifically on artists’ autobiographies, given how that sub-genre doubles down on unreconstructed Romanticism. Omissions, misrememberings and outright lies notwithstanding, though, artists’ autobiographies have been popular ever since the Vita of Renaissance sculptor Bevenuto Cellini was unearthed and published in 1728. If anything, as Julie Rak shows, autobiography enjoys more popularity now than ever before—and artists’ accounts contribute robustly to that popularity. Why? What launched that interest in the first place and what sustains it now?

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, 100 McCaul St., Room 258 (George Reid Wing)
Poster for Sabbatical Talks: Dr. Lynne Milgram and Dr. Charles Reeve

Complexity versus Simplicity: Historic Influences on the Contemporary Work of T.M. Glass

Thursday, August 8, 2019 - 6:30pm

Complexity versus Simplicity: Historic Influences on the Contemporary Work of T.M. Glass
Thursday, August 8, 2019
6:30 p.m.

Onsite Gallery
199 Richmond St. West

Free event as part of Onsite Gallery's public event program for T.M. Glass: The Audible Language of Flowers.

Jennifer Franks will discuss the pendulum swing between complexity and simplicity throughout art history, while highlighting the historic influences in the contemporary work of T.M. Glass.


Jennifer Franks is an art historian specializing in Decorative Arts, specifically Ceramics and Glass (1600 to present), with a MA in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies via Parsons, The New School for Design (New York). She has worked for Christie’s (New York), Waddesdon Manor (Buckinghamshire, UK) on behalf the National Trust and Rothschild estate, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among other leading art institutions as museum Researcher, Chief Curator, and Executive Director.


T.M. Glass: The Audible Language of Flowers
May 8 to August 18, 2019

Curated by Francisco Alvarez, Dorene & Peter Milligan Executive Director, OCAD U Galleries

T.M. Glass: The Audible Language of Flowers presents recent series of images by lens-based artist T.M. Glass that feature blooms and vessels from unique gardens across the globe. Glass' distinct photographic style is characterized by extensive digital embellishment of textures and colours to enhance the emotion and geometry of flowers. Recently, the artist’s large-scale flower images expanded into the third dimension through advanced 3-D printing technology. Inspired by 17th century European flower paintings, the artist contends that contemporary digital photographers are also painters who work with pixels instead of oils.

Onsite Gallery is the flagship professional gallery of OCAD U and an experimental curatorial platform for art, design and new media. Visit our website for upcoming public events. The gallery is located at 199 Richmond St. W, Toronto, ON, M5V 0H4. Telephone: 416-977-6000, ext. 265. Opening hours are: Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Free admission.

Onsite Gallery acknowledges that the gallery construction project is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Canada Cultural Spaces Fund at Canadian Heritage, the City of Toronto through a Section 37 agreement and Aspen Ridge Homes; with gallery furniture by Nienkämper. Onsite Gallery logo by Dean Martin Design.


Image: Installation view: T.M. Glass: The Audible Language of Flowers, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Yuula Benivolski.

Venue & Address: 
Onsite Gallery (199 Richmond St. West)
416-977-6000 x456
Installation view: T.M. Glass: The Audible Language of Flowers, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University, Toronto, 2019. Photo: Yuula Ben

Following the Frivolous Image: The Historical Development of Manga

Part of a Japanese scroll of a frog and rabbit chasing a monkey
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Manga, or Japanese comics, is one of Japan’s most recognizable cultural exports. In 2009, The Japan Times claimed that manga was the heart of Japanese popular culture. Although much has been written on its status as a lucrative global phenomenon, only a few scholars are interested in tracing its movement through art history.

In this talk, Dr. Max Dionisio, East Asian Librarian at the Royal Ontario Museum, and Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, examines the diverse historical and artistic roots of modern manga. We will see how ancient Japanese narrative scrolls, Buddhist paintings, Edo period (1600-1868) prints, late 19th-century political cartoons, and early 20th-century comic strips helped to lay the foundation for the creation of one of the most popular reading forms of today. We will also consider the differences and changing attitudes toward visual literacy in Japan and in North America.

About Max Dionisio

After earning his doctorate in Japanese studies, Dr. Dionisio came to Canada in 2007 to attend library school at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Before joining the ROM in 2015, Dr. Dionisio was Assistant Librarian at Upper Canada College in charge of technical services. He is also a sessional instructor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information where he teaches courses on advanced cataloguing, comic books, and book history. Dr. Dionisio is currently researching early 17th-century Japanese Christian art and the material history of the Japanese Christian persecutions of the mid 17th-century.

This free public lecture is produced with the support of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Visual and Critical Studies Program.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St., Room 230
Max Dionisio bespectacled and smiling in front of a book case

Sabbatical Talks by Dr. Keith Bresnahan and Dr. Dot Tuer

Monday, November 19, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Working with Emotions in Architectural History
Dr. Keith Bresnahan

November 19, 2018
205 Richmond St. West Room 420

This talk describes a body of work developed during my sabbatical in 2016-17, including fellowships in Berlin and southern France. 

It explores my engagement with new research in the history of emotions, and my attempt to bring this into conversation with architectural history.


Traces and Talismans: Reflections on Witnessing and the Performing of Memory
Dr. Dot Tuer

November 19, 2018
205 Richmond St. West Room 420

This talk addresses site specific research that I undertook for my half sabbatical in the winter/spring of 2016. During this time, I visited the Guaraní community of Loreto in Corrientes, Argentina, to witness the procession of their personal saints; traveled to Rosario, Argentina with my partner to witness his return to a clandestine torture and extermination centre, now a Space of Memory; and accompanied a collective of artists to the Atacama Desert in Chile to witness a performance about the disappeared of Pinochet’s regime of terror. How witnessing as a form of research illuminates the intersections of history and haunting, materiality and mourning will be the focus on my reflections.

Venue & Address: 
205 Richmond St. West Room 420
"Sabbatial Talks" in black text on white background; photo of gentlemen in suits and top hats; photo of concrete corner pillars

Citizen Subjects: photography, race and belonging in Canada — with Dr. Gabrielle Moser

Gabrielle Moser in the Black Star Agency archives
The Prevoe Family of Halifax on the front page of The Clarion
Viola Desmond on the cover of The Clarion
Richard S. Finnie, Pangnirtung Federal Hostel and Day School (now Nunavut), 1927, Library and Archives Canada
Wilfred Doucette, Inuit transporting supplies for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) from C.D. HOWE, Pangnirtung, 1951

Dr. Gabrielle Moser, assistant professor in Art History in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, sifts through photographic archives looking for Canadians in social situations and at political events. She questions the documented and the undocumented.

Black Star Agency archives, Ryerson Image Centre. Photo: Paul Tjepkema

In the early stages of what could be a five-year project, Moser reflects on both the photographic evidence from the past as well as those untaken photographs not captured by a camera at significant moments in time. “Can we imagine other histories,” she wonders, “other possible outcomes of those moments?”

With her latest project, Citizen Subjects: photography, race and belonging in Canada, Moser looks at how racialized subjects pictured themselves as citizens. So far, she has examined a series of photographs produced by the Canadian government that show the forced relocation of Inuit people above the Arctic Circle. She has also reviewed photographic archives from Nova Scotia’s African-Canadian newspapers.

It is her hope that the project will help to build the public’s visual literacy skills, encouraging them to read photographs for these overlooked citizens. She says, “Canadians don’t know their own history of racial discrimination and settler colonialism. When it comes to this very specific history, they don’t want to know.”

In 1947, Canada passed its first Citizenship Act, replacing the category of British subjects with the new category of Canadian citizens. Indigenous peoples were not included in this Act. With a few exceptions, Indigenous peoples were not included until a 1960 amendment of the Citizenship Act was passed.

But evident in the photographic archives, Moser explains, is the idea that racialized subjects did picture themselves as citizens.

Wilfred Doucette, Inuit transporting supplies for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) from C.D. HOWE, Pangnirtung, 1951. Courtesy Library and Archives Canada and the National Film Board

Richard S. Finnie, Pangnirtung Federal Hostel and Day School (now Nunavut), 1927. Courtesy Library and Archives Canada  

Nova Scotia’s The Clarion newspaper used the word ‘citizens’ to describe its African-Canadian audience well before the Citizenship Act came into existence. Additionally, more than 300 people emigrating from India on the SS Komagata Maru were turned away from disembarking in Vancouver in 1914. More than 30 years before the passing of the Citizenship Act, the group argued that as citizens of the Empire, they were also citizens of Canada.

The Prevoe Family of Halifax on the front page of The Clarion, vol. II, no. 2, February 1, 1947. Courtesy Nova Scotia Archives.

Viola Desmond on the cover of The Clarion, vol. I, no. 1, December 1946. Courtesy Nova Scotia Archives.

An art historian, critic and curator, Moser is analyzing how photographers, as well as their subjects and viewers, used and responded to the camera and its images in the first half of the 20th Century. She speaks of how, in many of the images, subjects show a tendency to choose somber and serious expressions over those that are more jubilant or expressive. “This response to the camera,” she explains, “was in part a bid to be taken seriously as citizens, and also a reaction to what was happening in the mainstream press at the time.” But it wasn’t the only reaction. Moser also describes how families posing for portraits in The Clarion newspaper — families whose members were, in this case, smiling — approached the experience of being photographed differently. “They were thinking about these images as a counterarchive to coverage of racial violence happening internationally,” she says. “The people in these photos were hearing and reading and responding to things like lynching postcards — terrible visual documents that spectacularize Black death."

Moser’s work certainly raises some difficult questions. What if, for example, we were to consider that which had been made invisible by existing accounts of those moments deemed ‘important’ in history?

Consider our approach in 2017 to the commemoration of Canada’s 150th year of Confederation. About this Moser is cautionary, and of course she’s not alone. “If we’re not careful,” she says, “this very nationalistic moment could erase a 12,000-year history of Indigenous ownership of the lands we now call Canada. So if we’re going to celebrate this history, how do we do so in a way that makes it possible to think about our complicated histories — those of settler colonialism and participation in the transatlantic slave trade?”

A Fulbright Canada Visiting Scholar at Rhode Island’s Brown University, Moser’s project is partially funded by $12,500 from the Fulbright Foundation. She has also received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Moser has plans to mount an exhibition related to Citizen Subjects: photography, race and belonging in Canada at Toronto’s Gallery 44 and Critical Distance in May 2019, as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The exhibit will include contemporary artists’ projects that reimagine the archive materials and images from her research.

Heather Beaumont ( is both a creative and corporate writer, fascinated by ideation, art making and communication. Among her projects is a workshop she designed to showcase the art and text in children's picture books and help parents and caregivers develop stronger connections to the children in their care.

Heather Beaumont
Inline Image Template

Dr. Coffey wins 2015/16 award for Early Stage Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activity

HCoffey feature photo
Friday, May 5, 2017

Heather Coffey, PhD joined OCAD University in 2013 and received a tenure-track appointment in Medieval and Renaissance Art History in 2015. Prof. Coffey’s research centres on the history of the links between the Islamic World and Europe to provide a context and an understanding for cultural exchange today. Prof. Coffey is admired for her courageousness as a scholar for venturing into the fraught terrain of the history of Islamic/Christian exchanges in the contemporary context of growing fundamentalism across religious traditions. She demonstrates, through her work and writing, the significance of focused research for understanding and reflecting upon the cross‐cultural and global realities in which we live.

Prof. Coffey’s historical scholarship, and the way in which it informs her teaching and her mentoring of students, is of the utmost relevance to OCAD and to the research profile of the university. For example, her article in preparation, “To Inspire and Delight: Demi’s Illustrated Mi’rajnama for Children,” provides a brilliant interpretation of contemporary representations of the Islamic World. The article links the compositions in a popular children’s book to complex and shifting regimes of representation that range from present-day Iran to fourteenth-century century Persia. In other projects, Prof. Coffey has set herself the task of envisioning how representations of Islamic culture in Western texts engender cross‐cultural dialogue and exchange both historically and currently. Her intellectual passion and far‐reaching breadth of inquiry is as evident to her students as it is to her peers in her field, for whom her work is of the utmost merit.

Prof. Coffey has received prestigious awards to undertake her doctoral research from multiple agencies and institutions, such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Max‐Plank‐Gesellschaft, and has published impressive articles in significant books on Islamic and Christian art and cross‐cultural perspectives. Most recently, she was a co-applicant for a SSRHC Connections Grant in support of the interdisciplinary conference Global Reformations: Transforming Early Modern Religions, Societies, and Cultures, at the invitation of Dr. Nicholas Terpstra at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies in September 2017.

Whose Art Counts?

Whose Art Counts? event poster
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm

Whose Art Counts
Moderated by Emily Norry

Whose Art Counts is a night of presentation and discussion to consider who is and is not included in art and art history. Our speakers will take varied approaches to the subject consider what art is left out of our mainstream culture and what problems do these artists face. Together we will question the cultural canon and broaden ideas of whose art has value.

This event is fully wheelchair accessible.


  1. Pamila Matharu - Worlding the Art World
  2. Ojo Agi - African Art and the Politics of Authenticity
  3. Ryan Rice - Whose Art Matters
  4. Rei Misiri- Re-Rooting Urban Arts culture: Why We Must Give Exposure to Hip Hop's True Reputable Face

Artist Bios:

Pamila Matharu
Pamila Matharu is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, and cultural producer. Her practice engages a close reading of the ‘other’ experience; examining issues of identity and representation through socially-engaged art, critical / feminist pedagogy and the minutiae of the everyday. Installation artworks are the result of combined strategies through collage, analogue + new media, printed matter and social practice. She received her BA in Visual Arts and her Bachelor of Education in Fine Arts Education, from York University (Toronto), has exhibited and screened her work, locally, nationally and internationally.

Ojo Agi
Ojo Agi is a Nigerian-Canadian self-taught artist living and working in the GTA. Ojo studied Health Sciences and Women's Studies at the University of Ottawa and is currently taking Continuing Studies courses with OCADU. She studied anti-racist feminisms throughout her undergraduate degree and has a deep interest in applying a social critical lens to contemporary art. For more of her work visit

Ryan Rice
Ryan Rice, a Mohawk of Kahnawake, Quebec received a Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and received an Associate of Fine Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has worked for the past 18 years within the museum/art gallery milieu at various centers including the Iroquois Indian Museum, Indian Art Centre, Carleton University Art Gallery and the Walter Phillips Art Gallery. Rice was also a co-founder and former director of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. His exhibitions include ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native Land, Oh So Iroquois, Scout’s Honour, LORE, Hochelaga Revisited, ALTERNATION, Soul Sister: Re-imagining Kateri Tekakwitha and Counting Coup. In August 2014, Rice was appointed the Delaney Chair in Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University.

Rei Misiri
Rei Misiri is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist and designer migrated from Tirana, Albania. Since 2006, he has been consistently involved in community related urban art projects. As an urban arts youth educator and performer, Rei has had the privilege to spread the discipline of urban arts and dance across Ontario. Moreover, he has extensively worked along leading Canadian urban arts organizations such as Unity Charity, Toronto Crime Stoppers, and The Patch project. Since 2010, he has hosted and curated over 15 integrated urban arts events - providing youth opportunities to preform and compete along some of the world’s highest ranking urban dancers, artists, and DJ’s. Upon graduating from OCAD University with a major in fine arts and a minor in graphic design, Rei plans to pursue a masters in visual arts to further merge urban arts into academia and other professional fields.

This event is funded by the OCAD U $1,500 Big Ideas Fund. The fund is sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives and made possible with generous support from OPSEU Local 576 Unit 1. 


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University The Lambert Lounge - rm. 187, 100 McCaul Street
416.977.6000 ext.3840
Free public event
Whose Art Counts? event poster

Guided Tour: Design for the Other 90%

Design for the Other 90%
Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 11:30pm

The OCAD Professional Gallery presents a series free of 20-30 minute discussions of the works on view in the Smithsonian's touring exhibition Design for the Other 90%.

November 27: Ananda Shankar Chakrabarty is an art historian with a strong interest in music, and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Studies at the Ontario College of Art & Design.

January 15, 2009: Eric Nay is an architect, design history and theory scholar and an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Liberal Studies at the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Venue & Address: 
Professional Gallery 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario


Avatar Daughters: Envisioning a Spectrum between the Material/Virtual through Feminist Theory

The hypothesis of this research is that a mother daughter relationship is a metonymy for a human to avatar affinity. This idea is explored through feminist analysis, a lyric essay and the practice of visual arts, specifically a series of comic books featuring an avatar created in Second Life, an online, user-built virtual world. Through a human connection to an avatar, the boundaries of the material and the virtual are blurred and become a seamless spectrum—a space of suspension—which can be infinitely mined but never parsed. The thesis employs both practice-based (visual art) as well as theoretical (art historical and feminist) frameworks, to explore the spectrum of the material/virtual. The corresponding relation- ship, artist/avatar is also a spectrum between self and not self— subject and object at the same time.

An avatar is envisioned by an individual creator but is also the result of a necessary collaboration with the developers of the virtual world where the avatar is digitally materialised, so thus another spectrum between the individual and the collective is delineated. By acknowledging the agency that we often confer on images, and the nature of complex identities, the avatar, though ostensibly insentient, is positioned as an animated, mercurial image that encourages a psychologically complex reaction from humans. In linking the feminist analysis of French philosopher-artist, Luce Irigaray, to an affective reaction towards an animated avatar, an argument for a new perspective on a stubbornly enduring mind/body dichotomy is offered. These ideas are poetically echoed in the included artwork and theorised in the interwoven supporting academic analysis. Art making methods, such as collage/found object, playfulness, and unstable authorship, collectively named in this writing as a methodology of poïesis, are interjected into academic discourse, and literary strategies, and employed in the creative practice to con- struct a holistic approach to art and knowledge production. De- fining the material as the physically present and the virtual as a collective imagining supported by digital materiality, tools and technology, the resulting gamut becomes an inherently fluid, un- stable and contested expanse for which binaries of subject and object, material and virtual, are wholly inadequate. It is a vast, oceanic unknown that supports different ways to dream, from the mundane to the beautiful to the sublime.

Photograph of a pink hardcover edition of Lynne Heller's PhD Thesis
Image of Lynne Heller's avatar, Nar Duell
Image of a spread from Lynne Heller's PHD thesis, including a graphic of her avatar Nar Duell
A grid of of pages from Lynne Heller's PHD thesis which include graphics of her avatar, Nar Duell
Friday, February 5, 2016 - 9:15pm
Lab Member: 
Lynne Heller