Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Saturday April 6, 2019, 2 pm

Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario

West Coast-based poets and friends, Cecily Nicholson and Juliane Okot Bitek will be joined by Toronto’s Lillian Allen (OCADU) in a conversation about cross-cultural memory and collective amnesia. The authors, whose work has contemplated these themes, will think through the poem as a document of memory: considering what poetry can add to existing narrow histories, and the role of memory in building resilient futures.

Juliane Okot Bitek ’s work has been published widely online, in print and in literary magazines. Her work has been recently anthologized in New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent; Transition: Writing Black Canadas; Great Black North; Contemporary African Canadian Poetry; and Revolving City: 51 Poems and the Stories Behind Them. Juliane’s 100 Days (University of Alberta 201) is a poetic response to the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Inspired by the photographs of Wangechi Mutu, Juliane wrote a poem a day for a hundred days and posted them on her website and on social media. The book won the 2017 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award for Poetry and the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. Other recent poetry awards include the 2017 National Magazine Awards for which Migrations: Salt Stories was shortlisted and the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize for which Gauntlet was longlisted.

On Musqueam-, Squamish-, and Tsleil-Waututh- land, Cecily Nicholson has worked in the downtown eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver since 2000 — most recently as Administrator of the artist-run centre, Gallery Gachet. A part of the Joint Effort prison abolitionist group and a member of the Research Ethics Board for Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Cecily is the newly appointed Interpretive Programmer at the Surrey Art Gallery. She is the author of TriageFrom the Poplars, winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and Wayside Sang, 2018 winner of the Governor General's award for poetry.

Lillian Allen is a Jamaican-Canadian professor of creative writing at OCAD University, Toronto. Multi-disciplinary and experimental, Allen’s creativity crosses many genres including radio, theatre, music and film. As a two-time JUNO Award winner (Revolutionary Tea Party, a Ms. Magazine Landmark Album Conditions Critical) and trailblazer in the field of spoken word and dub poetry, Allen artistically explores the aesthetics of old and new sounds in music to create her distinctive brand of Canadian reggae. Allen’s debut book of poetry, Rhythm An’ Hardtimes became a Canadian bestseller, and she has held the post of Writer-in-Residence at Canada’s Queen’s University and University of Windsor. Founder of the Toronto International Dub Poetry Festival and a variety of cultural organizations such as Fresh Arts that empower youth, Allen has spent over three decades writing, publishing, performing and doing workshop presentations of her work to audiences around the globe.

This event is organized in-part by the first-year Criticism and Curatorial masters students of OCAD U.

Jackman Hall is accessible.

Venue & Address: 
Jackman Hall Art Gallery of Ontario 317 Dundas St W, Toronto

Meet Criticism and Curatorial Practice grad Shauna Jean Doherty

How did you get started in your career?

After university I worked a number of freelance jobs. I had a short term gallery assistant position at Hamilton Artists Inc. and commuted to Hamilton from Toronto everyday for a summer. At that point I was spending a large portion of my wage for the day on my commute. During that time I also tried to write as much as possible. I reviewed exhibitions, wrote book reviews, and even when no one would publish them I would post them onto my website. 

I also volunteered, submitted my video work to screenings, and interned. I also went to almost every exhibition opening I could find. It was important to me to network and stay present within the Toronto art scene, even though, for a number of months after graduating, that wasn't translating into a job. 

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Admissions Segment: 

OCAD University mourns the loss of Mary MacDonald

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Canada has lost a celebrated artist, curator and writer, OCAD U alumna Mary MacDonald (MFA, Criticism & Curatorial Practice, 2012).

Born in Nova Scotia, MacDonald was a well-known figure in the arts communities of St. John's NL and Atlantic Canada. She ran the Eastern Edge gallery in St. John’s from 2012 to 2015. She was also one of the founders of Girls Rock NL, a mentorship program and summer camp that provides girls and women opportunities to empower themselves through musical expression and education.

In 2014, MacDonald was selected by ARTINFO as one of Canada's 30 under 30.

She passed away in St. John's on July 18, 2017, surrounded by her family and close friends. Her obituary can be found at CBC.ca.


Logs at Y+Contemporary - exhibition curated by alumnus Tak Pham

exhibition poster - aerial image of roadway and monument
Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 12:00pm

EXHIBITION ON VIEW: October 29 – November 19, 2016

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, October 29 from 2:00pm - 5:00pm

"The curatorial framework of Logs consists of exhibiting a selection of video and digital works that tackle the differences between an expatriate and [im]migrant, the contradictions between seemingly “beneficial” treaties and their material outcomes, and question terms such as “efficiency”, “nation”, and “speed”. The four artists exhibited; Rouzbeh Akhbari, Benny Hunter, Mariam Magsi and Ash Moniz are committed to these themes. Their artistic practices demonstrate a politically rigorous ambivalence towards finding solutions to these complex local, national, and global issues. This diverse group of makers utilizes first person experience working and living outside and inside their original homes as an integral framework for their work. While some focus on their perception of time as foreigners, others shine light on the struggles of navigating spaces that are programmed to suppress them. By bringing their work together, Logs hopes to present the audience with a multifaceted perspective on the historical and contemporary realities of movement." - Tak Pham, Curator - Architectural Historian - Creative Strategist

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Rouzbeh Akhbari, Benny Hunter, Mariam Magsi and Ash Moniz

CURATOR’S TOURS: Saturday, November 5 and Saturday, November 19

Exhibition website: http://ypluscontemporary.com/logs/

More on the CCP program: http://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies/criticism-and-curatorial-practice.htm

More on the IAMD program: http://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies/interdisciplinary-masters-in-art-media-and-design.htm

Criticism and Curatorial Practice Alumna, Lisa Myers, AGO Artist-in-Residence

Criticism and Curatorial Practice Alumnae, Lisa Myers, AGO Artist-in-Residence
Friday, September 18, 2015 - 4:00am

Lisa Myers' (MFA '11) work as an artist is influenced by the many years she worked as a cook and by her family stories and history from the Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario regions. She grew up on a farm in Milton and is of Anishinaabe ancestry from Shawanaga and Beausoleil First Nation. Lisa experiments with walking and cooking as ways to think through the ideas in her work. She uses a range of media and materials including printmaking, sewn structures, film and surfaces often involving video projections, audio and the assemblage of materials such as food, seeds, canvas and beads. The tactile nature of working with these materials is similar to the creative process of cooking. Each ingredient has a story and its origin or cultivation contributes to the meal, as do the materials that Lisa brings together in her artwork. In addition to being an artist, Lisa is a curator, musician and chef. Lisa earned her Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University. She has exhibited her work in venues including Urban Shaman (Winnipeg), Peterborough Art Gallery (Peterborough), MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie), and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto). Lisa works and lives in Port Severn and Toronto, Ontario.

Art Gallery of Ontario

Criticism and Curatorial Practice Graduate Program

Established scholars and emerging thinkers converge in Toronto for Architecture is All Over

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 - 5:00am

(Toronto — February 8, 2011) OCAD University is proud to support the sold-out transdisciplinary symposium Architecture is All Over, examining the pathology, ubiquity and negentropic potential of architecture, to take place on Saturday, February 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

Co-organized by Esther Choi, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Criticism & Curatorial Practices and Photography at OCAD U, and Marrikka Trotter, co-founder and editor of Work Books, Architecture is All Over is an international symposium featuring provocative papers from emerging thinkers and challenging conversations between established scholars both within and outside the discipline of architecture. In addition to presentations from Choi and Trotter, the symposium features an impressive panel of experts from around the world, including:

  • Dr. D. Graham Burnett, Professor of History and History of Science at Princeton University and an editor at Cabinet magazine;
  • Dr. Jill H. Casid, Associate Professor of Visual Culture Studies in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University;
  • Dr. David Gissen, Associate Professor of Architecture and Visual Studies and the Coordinator of the history/theory curriculum for architecture at the California College of the Arts;
  • Dr. K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at Harvard University Graduate School of Design;
  • Patty Heyda, Assistant Professor in Urban Design & Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis;
  • Dr. Sanford Kwinter, Professor of Architectural Theory and Criticism at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and co-director of the Master in Design Studies program;
  • Jennifer W. Leung, Critic at the Yale School of Architecture and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP;
  • Trevor Patt, Researcher and Instructor at the Media X Design Lab in the School of Computer and Communications Science and School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland;
  • Dr. Andrew Payne, Senior Lecturer in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, where he also teaches in the Literary Studies Program;
  • Richard Sommer, Dean, John H. Daniels School of Architecture Landscape and Design, University of Toronto;
  • Olga Touloumi, an architectural historian in training, studying the disciplining of architecture in its marginal engagements with the arts and the sciences, and a PhD Candidate at Harvard University;
  • Mason White, Assistant Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto;
  • Alexander Hilton Wood, a graduate student in the S.M.Arch.S. Program in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.

All contributions will offer new ways to analyze, re-imagine and foment architecture’s paradoxical contraction and expansion as it both affects and is affected by a larger milieu, and is situated within a range of spatial practices.

The first of three sessions, The Pathology of Architecture will explore architecture’s (in)ability to cope with the challenges and contradictions inherent in its own indeterminate identity. Mason White (University of Toronto) will discuss how other practices have poached terms and territory from architecture as a disciplinary agent. Jennifer Leung (Yale) will examine the architectural responses to existential external threats and internal weaknesses, focusing on the strategies of heraldry, camouflage and risk. A psychoanalytic conversation between the architectural theorists, K. Michael Hays (Harvard) and Andrew Payne (University of Toronto) will close the session.

The Nebulous and the Infinitesimal will survey architecture’s simultaneous tendencies to both expand and evaporate. Alexander Hilton-Wood (MIT) will present the case for smallness in architecture. Olga Touloumi (Harvard) will take on the surprising power of architecture as electronic media. To conclude this session, the historian of science, D. Graham Burnett (Princeton), and architectural theorist, David Gissen (California College of the Arts), will discuss alternative architectural approaches to environmental modification that recognize our dawning apperception of our agential extension.

Finally, Negentropic Machines will feature speculative proposals for architecture as it could become. It will include a presentation by Patty Heyda (Washington University in St. Louis) arguing for architecture’s emergence in the waste zones created by large-scale urban infrastructural development, and a provocation by Trevor Patt (EPFL) about the agonistic potential of a forgetful, generic architectural interface. A conversation between the architectural theorist, Sanford Kwinter (Harvard), and the historian and theorist of visual culture, Jill Casid (University of Wisconsin-Madison), will explore how architectural discourse might formulate new, critical and interpretive vantages capable of reimagining the monstrous actions we release into the world as possibilities rather than pathogens.

Architecture is All Over is made possible through the financial support of OCAD University, Office of the President; University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; in conjunction with the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada and Bohart.

Architecture is All Over
Saturday, February 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, Toronto

Organizer Biographies
Esther Choi is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Criticism & Curatorial Practices and Photography at OCAD University, an artist, and the co-founder and editor of Work Books. She is the co-editor of Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (Work Books / MIT Press, 2010). Her current work explores the collision between empiricism and biopolitics in a range of postwar spatial practices within architecture and the visual arts.

Marrikka Trotter is a PhD student in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the co-founder and editor of Work Books, and the founder of the Boston-based art and design initiative, The Department of Micro-Urbanism. She is the co-editor of Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (Work Books / MIT Press, 2010). Her current work examines the problematic yet productive intersection between aesthetic and geological notions of form and formation in topographical and architectural discourse at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Presenter biographies and a complete schedule of events.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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Download this release as a PDF file.

For more information contact:

While the symposium is sold out, members of the media interested in interviews or attendance may contact conference organizer Esther Choi.

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)