Digital Futures Grad Students lauded as "artists to watch" on BlogTO

DF Students Make BlogTO
Friday, May 5, 2017 - 10:30am

It's an exciting time of the year at OCAD University as the creative works of over 900 emerging artists are showcased at the 102nd annual GradEx. The exhibition runs May 3-7 and features several graduate students who's work is catching the attention of local and national media, including the very popular BlogTO. We congratulate Digital Futures graduate students; Fusun Uzun (medal winner), Jordan Shaw and Jazmine Yerbury, for their excellent work and for making BlogTO's list of artists to watch at this year's GradEx.

The 102 annual GradEx showcase is on at OCADU until May 7th, and it features installations from 900 up-and-coming artists throughout three different buildings. You can visit this awe-inspiring exhibition for free until Sunday, May 7 at 5 p.m. There's so much to see, so be sure to take your time.

For the full BlogTO list of artists to watch at this year's GradEx, visit:


GradEx Schedule

Opening Night Celebration Wednesday, May 3 6:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Thursday, May 4, 9:30 a.m.– 8 p.m.
Friday, May 5, 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 7, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Facebook Event

Secondary school visits can be booked on both Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5 between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Book your secondary school visit today!

Questions? Email

Venue and Address

OCAD University:
100 McCaul St.
113 McCaul St.
115 McCaul St.

TTC Directions: Get off at St. Patrick Subway Station and walk west on Dundas to McCaul (south of Dundas).

Accessible parking permit holders may park in designated city parking spots for free

Please note that parking along the west side of McCaul Street between Dundas Street and Grange Road will be closed on Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

DF Grad Students create immersive installation, “The Living Room,” for ROM Family Camera

Barbara with her kids Naina and Arjun, and grandma (daddi) Indira, who is visiting from India. Anil Dewan, Niagara Falls. Ontari
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 1:00pm

Source: Royal Ontario Museum New Release,  Friday, April 28, 2017 from:

TORONTO, April 28, 2017 – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce the opening of The Family Camera, an original ROM exhibition that explores how family photographs reflect and shape our experiences of migration and our sense of identity. On display from Saturday, May 6, to Monday, October 29, 2017, in the Museum’s Roloff Beny Gallery, the exhibition is part of the ROM’s Canada 150 year-long celebration. The Family Camera is one of the primary exhibitions of the 2017 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

“The Family Camera exhibition uses a visual lens to bring personal, everyday stories of the Canadian experience into focus, making this exhibition a fitting way to celebrate our 150th year,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “This exhibition highlights the ROM’s vital role as a place of discovery and new research, where the public is engaged as active participants in the museum experience.”

The exhibition examines the enduring connection between migration and family photography. In Canada, migration is central to family history, whether recent or in the past and whether over short or long distances. From departures and arrivals to everyday moments and milestones, family photographs depict our journeys and our deep-rooted need for connection. The exhibition considers the political, social and technological factors that reconfigure families, including dislocation, marriage equality, and social media. The Family Camera also explores how these factors transform the photographs we capture and how we share them.
Almost every photograph in this evocative exhibition comes from a Canadian home. As a result, it demonstrates the familiar and unexpected ways that family photographs define our sense of self, family, community, and nation.

“The Family Camera encourages visitors to think differently about family photographs. Rather than just reflecting or illustrating the past, family photographs are active agents that continue to shape our memories and experiences and define a sense of family. The exhibition examines family photographs as a cultural practice,” says Dr. Deepali Dewan, the Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture, ROM.

The Family Camera is a partnership with the Art Gallery of Mississauga (AGM), with works on display at both venues. Over two hundred objects are featured in the exhibition, including photographs, vintage cameras and ephemera. These objects have been collected through a public archive project launched in 2016 by The Family Camera Network. This multi-year research project includes six partner institutions supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Canadians can participate in the ongoing project until the end of the year and contribute to the exhibition through digital and social media. The Family Camera also includes work by contemporary artists Deanna Bowen and Jeff Thomas on display at the ROM, and Dinh Q. Lê (at the AGM).  An immersive installation, “The Living Room,” created by graduate students at OCAD University, uses projection-mapping technology to explore the power of storytelling through the sharing of family photographs.

“The ROM is renowned for its ability to showcase important works throughout our history in new and innovative ways, and The Family Camera is another great example of this,” says Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The use of family photographs from diverse communities highlights the cultural fabric of our province and our diversity, which is something to celebrate in our 150th year. I’m delighted that the Ontario150 program is supporting this unique exhibition that will help ensure our artistic and cultural legacies are treasured by future generations.”

Exhibition Details

The Family Camera is divided into several sections. Cameras for the Family features a timeline of cameras made for the amateur photographer. The timeline includes early box cameras preloaded with film and costing only one dollar, as well as digital cameras and cellphones that have made taking and sharing digital photographs increasingly easy. State of Family considers the ways state policy determines which photos can be taken, who gets recognized as a family, and therefore what a family photograph looks like.
For example, the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act barred the families of Chinese men who had come as labourers from joining them in Canada, and until 1996, Indian residential schools split up Indigenous families. Snapshots Don’t Grow Up presents conventional ways of photographing children, such as birthdays or Christmas, that camera advertisements encouraged, showing parents how to compose “Kodak moments”. These three sections provide context for the largest grouping, On the Move, which explores family photographs in a world of increasing mobility. The images in this section capture people before, during, or after a move. They also show how photographs travel across distances, through the mail or social media, as a way to strengthen familial bonds. This section includes a wall of photographs taken at Niagara Falls over the last hundred years, showing how even tourist images bring together different forms of mobility and help families assert a sense of national belonging.

The Art Gallery of Mississauga features a unique section of the exhibition that runs from May 4 to August 27, 2017.   Missing Chapters examines family photographs that are lost, abandoned, don’t survive, or don’t exist. The work “Lost Photographs” invites visitors to contribute stories of “missing chapters” in their own family archives.

The exhibition has been curated by Deepali Dewan (lead), Jennifer Orpana, Thy Phu, Julie Crooks, and Sarah Bassnett, with the assistance of Sarah Parsons and Silvia Forni.

Visit here for full exhibition details.
– 30 –

Media Contact
Wendy Vincent, Bilingual Publicist

Social Media
Like: ROM Facebook
Tweet: @ROMToronto 
Instagram: romtoronto
Join the Conversation: #Ontario150 #ROMFamCam #atROM

Wednesday: LEVEL UP 2017 Showcase

Detail from poster
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 5:00pm to 10:00pm

The 7th annual Level Up Showcase puts the spotlight on Ontario's most talented post-secondary students in game development, using the latest platforms and tech, including VR, motion sensing and more.

This year featuring over 14 institutions, the Level Up Showcase is the biggest Toronto event for players, developers and recruiters, to get the inside scoop on the future leaders of the game industry. 

Participating schools:

  • Algonquin College
  • Brock University
  • Centennial College
  • George Brown College
  • Humber 
  • Laurentian University
  • Niagara College Canada
  • OCAD University
  • UOIT
  • University of Toronto
  • York University
Venue & Address: 
Design Exchange 234 Bay St., Toronto

CURRENT: Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition 2017

Current DF Thesis Show
Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 6:00 PM (EDT)

Saturday, April 15 - 12:00–6:00 PM
Monday, April 17 - 12:00–6:00 PM
Tuesday, April 18 - 12:00–6:00 PM

Noun: a flow of electricity which results from the ordered directional movement of electrically charged particles; a body of water or air moving in a definite direction; the course of events. Adjective: belonging to or existing in the present time; happening now.

Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition 2017
The Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition is an annual event hosted by Graduate Studies at OCAD University and our partners the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab.

CURRENT features the Master's thesis projects of 12 Digital Futures graduate students. Thesis work ranges from augmented and virtual reality to digital and electronic fabrication, holography, digital artworks, serious games, data visualisation, transmedia storytelling and immersive audio-visual environments.

Michael Carnevale
Margarita Castro
Ling Ding
Marcus Gordon
Leon Lu
Marcelo Müller Luft
Jordan Shaw
Nimrah Syed
Fusun Uzun
Egill Runar Vidarsson
Jazmine Yerbury
Davidson Minsheng Zheng

CURRENT is presented by:

CFC Media Lab and OCAD University

Venue & Address: 
Open Space Gallery 49 McCaul Street Toronto, ON M5T 1V7

DF Talk x Talk Industry Panel Discussion

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm

Digital Futures work with industry partners in a range of ways from the classroom to student placements to research collaborations. Each year we organize events for our students to connect with industry partners with the intent of building meaningful relationships that lead to future work opportunities.

Panellists include:

- Brittney Oberfeld, Producer, Kids and General Entertainment, Digital, Corus Entertainment and Miranda Madden, DF Undergrad

- Leona McCharles, Customer Experience, Transformation and Organizational Change Management Executive, RBC and Matt Crans and Karina Kurmanbayeva, DF Undergrad

- Vlad Dascalu, Entrepreneur, PinchVR and Parth Soni, DF Undergrad

Join us for this series of panel discussions in which our students and industry partners talk about their experience of student placements. The discussion will identify tips, techniques and best practice approaches for successful placements.

Venue & Address: 
Room 510, 205 Richmond Street West
DF Talk x Talk Industry Panel Discussion

Digital Futures & CFC Media Lab welcome Kanien'kehá:ka artist Skawennati

Skawennati: Becoming Sky Woman
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 6:30pm

Skawennati makes art that addresses history, the future, and change. Her pioneering new media projects have been widely presented across Turtle Island in major exhibitions such as Now? NOW! at Denver’s Biennial of the Americas; and Looking Forward (L’Avenir) at the Montreal Biennale. She has been honoured to win imagineNative’s 2009 Best New Media Award as well as a 2011 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Her work in is included in both public and private collections. Born in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory, Skawennati graduated with a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, where she is based. She is Co-Director of Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC), a research network of artists and academics who investigate and create Indigenous virtual environments. Their Skins workshops in Aboriginal Storytelling and Experimental Digital Media are aimed at empowering youth. In 2015 they launched IIF, the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.

Venue & Address: 
205 Richmond St. W. Room 115
Free all welcome!
Skawennati Flyer

Student Maya Wilson-Sanchez’s work featured on ROM website

Monday, March 13, 2017

Current BA (Honours) in Visual and Critical Studies student Maya Wilson-Sanchez's text "Collaboration, Family and Photography: The Process of Creating an Installation for the Family Camera Exhibition" is featured on the ROM's blog. Maya gives an overview of the Family Camera project through her participation in the Digital Futures Graduate Program course “Special Topic: Family Camera at the ROM.” The Sesquicentennial Exhibition The Family Camera will launch at the ROM in May 2017.  

The Exhibition will examine ideas surrounding the contemporary Canadian family through vernacular photography and the changing definitions of family, experiences of migration, memory and mementos. "The Family Camera" project asks the questions: What are family photographs? How do they shape our memories? How do they mediate our experiences of migration? What can they tell us about our national histories? 

The Family Camera opens May 6 at the Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park.




Three OCAD U teams heading to the Hult Prize regional finals

Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Friday, February 3, 2017

Students from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI) graduate program and the Digital Futures (DFI) program are on their way to the next level of the million-dollar Hult Prize competition on March 3, 2017.

The Hult Prize Foundation is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurs emerging from the world’s universities. The goal of the annual competition is to create and launch the most compelling social business ideas—start-up enterprises that tackle issues faced by billions of people. Winners receive $1 million U.S. in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.

The 2017 Hult Prize "President's Challenge" is "Refugees - Reawakening Human Potential" and will focus on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustices, politics, economic pressures, climate change and war. We will also work to restore the rights and dignity of those currently living in informal / illegal settlements. Our aim is to reach 10M by 2022 and believe young people and their collective wisdom is the only way forward. This challenge was selected by President Bill Clinton and announced at the 2016 Hult Prize Finals and Awards program New York.

The OCAD University teams:

Competing in Boston: Team Hive  

Collective Farming in Refugee Camps

Team Hive’s DIY Modular Indoor Farming Kit hopes to capture the talent and knowledge of the people in refugee camps. The kit is a self-contained low-tech module that will give people the opportunity to grow their own produce and redistribute to the local economy. The kits are designed with the concept of biomimicry - looking to nature to see how bees have created a community. Team Hive hopes to inspire the same sense of a collective community with the kits. Each module will be able to connect to another which will allow a larger system to be built over time, thus increasing the production capabilities within refugee camps.

  • Tania De Gasperis (SFI)
  • Daniel Ura  (SFI)
  • Sugeevan Shanmuganathan (DFI - undergraduate) 
  • Manik Gunatilleke (DFI - graduate)

Competing in London: Team Sage

Turning camps into classrooms without the need for internet connections or physical spaces.

As a universal right, education gives people the baseline skills to thrive, but for many children living in refugee camps, access to education is not guaranteed.

What if refugees could receive education without interruption? What if it was low cost, used existing infrastructure, and even created employment opportunities?

Using the smartphone that nearly every refugee already has, Sage turns refugee camps into classrooms without the need for internet connections or physical spaces. A mobile education solution, Sage uses mesh networks to connect students with tutors, and provides the necessary curriculum for them to continue their education while living in uncertainty.

  • Courtney Cooper (SFI)
  • Vince Galante  (SFI)
  • Ziyan Hossain  (SFI)
  • Lisa Hart   (SFI)

Competing in Shanghai: Team Forsati  

A mobile platform for economic resilience within refugee camps

What if a refugee could capitalize on the time they spend waiting in a refugee camp? What if the “wait” was not an obstacle, but an asset, to economic mobility? Forsati, which translates to “My Opportunity” in Arabic, is a simple but powerful mobile platform that helps refugees find safe work opportunities within a camp. Whether they have resources to rent, baking to sell, childcare to offer or trade skills to employ, Forsati can help connect them with the right buyer. Meanwhile, an authenticated work history log tracks completed jobs and compiles them into an accessible, usable résumé for life after the camp.

  • Alastair Woods (SFI)
  • Jessica Thornton (SFI)
  • Lindsay Clarke  (SFI)



Family Camera at the ROM - Digital Futures Graduate Student Projects

picture of Digital Furtures graduate students
Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - 5:00am

At Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum in mid December, students from the Digital Futures Graduate Program course “Special Topic: Family Camera at the ROM” presented their proposals for interactive installations to become part of the upcoming Sesquicentennial Exhibition “The Family Camera” which will launch at the ROM in May 2017.  

“The Family Camera” will examine ideas surrounding the contemporary Canadian family through vernacular photography and the changing definitions of family, experiences of migration, memory and mementos. "The Family Camera" project asks the questions: What are family photographs? How do they shape our memories? How do they mediate our experiences of migration? And what can they tell us about about our national histories? 

Three student groups presented their interactive proposals to an esteemed audience of curators and ROM staff members connected to the upcoming exhibition. The class presented on three self defined themes: family photography and the domestic space, family photography as performance, and family photos in the private and public spheres. 

This course, which continues in the winter to develop and execute the interactive exhibition theme chosen by the ROM, is led by Dr. Martha Ladly, and “The Family Camera” curators Dr. Jennifer Orphana and Dr. Julie Crooks. This class is also mentored by lead curator Dr. Deepali Dewan and ROM Exhibition Manager Steven Laurie. Participating students are Samaa Ahmed, Bijun Chen, Margarita Castro, Mudit Ganguly, Afaq Ahmed Karadia, Annette Mangaard, Ania Medrek, Katie Micak, Natasha Mody, Maya Wilson- Sanchez, and April Xie.

Find out more about "The Family Camera" at and

For more on the Digital Futures program:

INT VAR VOID - end of semester showcase

Monday, December 12, 2016 - 11:00pm to Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 2:00am

Creation & Computation is a course in the first year of OCAD U's Digital Futures graduate program in which students learn to create works using programming, physical computing, visual computation, networking and connectivity.

Come join us for our end-of-semester showcase “INT VAR VOID” where we will be sharing selected projects from a series of five rigourous 2-week experiments. Works exhibited include games, art installations, design prototypes, and more.

Be sure to bring your smartphone fully charged as we will have several opportunities for participation via a mobile device.

Please RSVP to int var void event at:

Venue & Address: 
Graduate Gallery, ground floor, 205 Richmond Street West
poster for INT VAR VOID