Projects selected in Graduate Studies Indigenous Innovation Award Competition

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Two projects led by OCAD U faculty have been successful in the inaugural Graduate Studies

Indigenous Innovation Award Competition. This $15,000 funding envelope will be shared by Dr.

Suzanne Morrissette and Dr. Amish Morrell.


Dr. Ashok Mathur, Dean of Graduate Studies, expressed his gratitude to the team of OCAD U

Indigenous faculty members – Dr. James Miller, Prof Howard Munroe, and Prof Melanie Hope –

for their comments and recommendations to the Dean’s office regarding this competition.

“This is an exciting time to explore new approaches and models of Indigenous education in

Graduate Studies,” said Mathur. “These two projects are exceptional in their scope and potential,

and they will both open up new opportunities for Indigenous scholarship at OCAD U.”


The projects include:

Contemporary Approaches to Indigenous Art Histories

Proposed by Dr. Suzanne Morrissette

Summary: Models for writing and teaching art historical knowledge has traditionally emerged

out of a western framework. The implications for knowledge formed under this lineage are

often wrapped up in questions of perception and culture. In conversations about

Indigenous art these factors call into play ideas of pedagogy and practice. The question of

how Indigenous artists, curators, and scholars define art historical knowledge in relation

to their own work locates Indigenous art histories in practices that come from

contemporary and dynamic Indigenous-led research. The objective of this project will be

to provide students and faculty with a structure that foregrounds Indigenous led-research

through pedagogical approaches that engage Indigenous curriculum, practices, and ways

of looking and learning.

Comments from adjudicating committee:

The video series is great as it can be broadcast to a larger audience and integrated into course

assignments. The pedagogical application of the proposal and the theoretical approach are both

clear and strong…could provide a good framework for engaging in Indigenous research at both

the graduate and undergraduate levels…. The lists of proposed speakers are certainly at the top

of their profession as artists/curators and would supply valuable information to the students

and faculty at OCAD University.


Decolonizing the Outdoors

Proposed by Dr. Amish Morrell

Summary: This proposal is for a series of outdoor seminars accessible to students and faculty

from across Graduate Studies, that emphasizes the critical re-spatialization of thought and

artistic practice through experiential, land-based, and decolonial learning methods. Through field

trips and reading sessions, led by artists and thinkers with land-based practices and held in sites

around and within Toronto/Tkaronto these activities will locate OCAD University and its

students and faculty on and in relation to land and territory.

Comments from adjudicating committee:

The concept of decolonizing the outdoors is interesting and engaging with Indigenous

perspectives of the landscape. Land based learning is essential for understanding identities

rooted in place and understanding how these identities transform through colonization. The

proposed speakers are great. ….supports land-based knowledge and allows the OCAD

community to focus on the land we reside on. It also has an impressive list of scholars as

potential speakers.

OCAD U Grad Studies