President’s message

Happy new year to all faculty and staff! I hope you had a chance to relax and re-energize during the holiday break and I wish you much success in 2018. My time is focused on an intensified lobby for funding for OCAD University prior to the provincial election. The goal is to establish a wider base of partners, industry collaborations and donors; to continue to press for design policy and support; and to refresh cultural policy at all levels of government. As well, I am in conversation with the City of Toronto on its future cultural and economic development policies, Smart City initiatives and overall support for public art. 

What is Foresight? Video Series

Policy Horizons Canada commissioned a series of short videos on the subject "What is Foresight?" that have been conceived, authored and co-produced by Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab), together with students from OCAD University's Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI) and Graphic Design programs.

Produced in English and French versions, and fully captioned for inclusive accessibility (AODA-compliant), the work is co-directed by sLab's Director of Research, Greg Van Alstyne and SFI graduate, Zan Chandler. The production team is rounded out by OCAD U undergrad research assistants Alex Appugliesi and Jazeen Hollings, who developed original visual sequences and edited the video.

The video is composed in the form of three short segments approximately 2-1/2 minutes each which may be viewed back to back or separately.

In English: 
What is foresight?
Why use foresight?
Horizons' Foresight Process

En français:
Prospective: ce que cest? 
Le processus d'Horizons de politiques
Le Processus d'Horizons de politiques

For more information, please visit


Monday, October 23, 2017 - 1:15pm
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne

Your Future at Stake: Canada’s Federal Election and the Arts

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 9:00pm to 10:00pm

“...ordinary people...” don’t care about the Arts
-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The facts:
- The Harper government has just cut $60 million from Arts and Culture funding
- Harper wants to stop artists he sees as "people with narrow ideological agendas"; "people who are rich celebrities"; "really very fringe groups"

How does this affect YOU?
- Less Support for Emerging Artists
- Fewer opportunities for Canadian Artists & Designers to work on an international scale
- A displacement of Canada's long-time standing as a centre of creativity
- Less funding for Art & Design Galleries and Centres
- An undoing of networks of exchange in the creative industries
- Significant job loss in Canada's strong Arts & Culture economy



Find Out More! OCAD hosts an Artists and Designers Town Hall

with Special Guests: The Department of Culture (

You have the right to vote if you are:
-a Canadian citizen
-at least 18 years old on election day (October 14, 2008).

If you have not yet received your Voter Registration Card, it is easy to register. Find out how at

Venue & Address: 
Room 327, Level 3 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Special Exciting Announcement by The Hon. Reza Moridi Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 4:45pm to 6:00pm

Please join OCAD U for a special exciting announcement by The Hon. Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities in the Great Hall on Tuesday, April 12 from 12:45 to 2 p.m. Celebrate our transformation — physically in the heart of Toronto, substantially in the student experiences we offer, and exponentially in our effect on the world.

Public parking is available in the vicinity. 

Refreshments will be served.


Please contact Niya Bajaj at in advance with accessibility requirements. 

Watch a live web-cast of the event: becomes live at start of the event).

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University Level 2, Great Hall 100 McCaul St., Toronto
416.977.6000 x. 3020

SFI Faculty Commissioned to Host Electoral Futures Event

The Situation Lab
Monday, November 2, 2015 - 5:00am

Stuart Candy of the Situation Lab was commissioned by Elections Ontario to host an Electoral Futures event on September 26. The goal of Electoral Futures is to create an understanding of topics being studied in academia, projects being undertaken by citizens and research opportunities identified by electoral officials — and how we might bridge the gaps. The event was held to coincide with Democracy Week 2015.

(Originally published in The OCADU Insider).

Dr. Sara Diamond addresses art, design and the connected world at Toronto Board of Trade

Dr. Diamond at a podium addressing Board of Trade audience
Monday, November 23, 2015 - 3:15pm

OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sara Diamond addressed a capacity crowd of business leaders, government representatives and other stakeholders at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Her topic was Art and design in the connected world.

In her talk, Dr. Diamond discussed various ways creativity and imagination contribute to the skills and strategies necessary for success in a connected world. “There are three vectors through which our world is increasingly connected,” Diamond noted: “the Internet of Things, the exponential growth of and reliance on data and the globalization of culture.”

Dealing in turn with each of those three subjects, Diamond shared examples of exciting work being done by OCAD U faculty and alumni. These included art- and design-driven innovations in fields such as health care and wellness, entertainment, gaming, urban planning, communication and energy production.

Diamond concluded by briefly introducing attendees to OCAD U’s Ignite Imagination private and public fundraising campaign, and by taking several questions from audience members.

Embed Video: 

City Hall Event addresses transit issues facing students

Logo of Student Move TO
Friday, September 18, 2015 - 4:00am

More subways, better streetcars, safer bike lanes…what transportation issues matter to you? On Monday Sept. 21 come to Student Move TO, a free interactive symposium about the obstacles that students face when travelling around the GTA/Hamilton region.

Join the presidents of the OCAD U, Ryerson, York and University of Toronto along with policy leaders and fellow students to discuss needs and solutions.


Date: Mon. Sept. 21

Time: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (registration begins at 3:30 p.m.)

Place: Toronto City Hall, Council Chamber, 100 Queen St. West


(Reception to follow)


For additional information contact

Isabel Meirelles, OCAD University:

Design With Dialogue: Connecting Citizens to Future Governance

Image of three people holding a conversation with black text and speech icon
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 11:00pm to Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 2:00am

Can we motivate civil society to form a collaborative approach to Canadian governance?

How will governing – public decision making – be influenced through citizens evolving new digital and place-based channels?

The January DwD will be a public workshop convened by OCADU’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) as part of our ongoing SSHRC-sponsored action research conducted during 2014.

We invite participants to join us in reframing and representing the key challenges and future innovations that might influence civic participation and governing across Canadian government sectors. You will be engaging in a mix of plenary and focused small-group workshops to develop responses to emerging and future governing challenges. Using our current Gigamap (large-scale system map) as a departure point for participant contributions, you can contribute to the discourse by building on and critiquing the findings of a recent major workshop via card sort and dialogue mapping.

We are interested in discovering how the practices and expectations of governance are and will be shifting from the vantage point of citizens and other stakeholders, communities, and sectors. We aim to explore how Canada – with all of its levels of government and regional diversity – might evolve as a basis for considering how government practices ought to transform.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Room 187

Ministry of Research and Innovation funds OCAD U's Imagination Catalyst Creative Entrepreneurship Incubator

Speakers at the funding announcement for Campus-Linked Accelorators at OCAD U.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 4:00am

Speaking at OCAD University today, The Honourable Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, announced a $950,000 grant to OCAD University as part of the Government of Ontario’s Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA) program.

The investment will support the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD University’s hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization with the mission to support and develop emerging businesses among OCAD U faculty, student and alumni as well as among creative entrepreneurs across the GTA.

Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLA) is investing over $6.8 million to build on world-class innovation and entrepreneurial programs at GTA colleges and universities. On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) is providing more than $600,000 to support GTA academic institutions that are committed to entrepreneurship on their campuses.

“Creative industry and design entrepreneurs play a transformative role for cities and the larger economy, building new products and services and bringing vitality to neighbourhoods.  We appreciate the Ministry of Research and Innovation’s recognition of this significant Ontario growth sector,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University. “This is the natural home for the incubation of startups in the maker, design, digital media and creative arts sectors. Creative and design entrepreneurs are distinct from other entrepreneurs in their needs, which include more workspace and specialized networking and professional development.”

CLA investments will help Ontario accelerate the commercialization of ideas and inventions out of its world-class research institutions, develop the business leaders of tomorrow, and harness the power of its support networks to build competitive regional innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.

“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers,” said Minister Moridi. “By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”

The investment will support the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD University’s hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization with the mission to support and develop emerging businesses among OCAD U faculty, student and alumni as well as among creative entrepreneurs across the GTA.

Under the guidance of OCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab), the Imagination Catalyst will work with Ontario’s Regional Centres of Excellence to design, develop and implement programming that would nurture creative entrepreneurs across the province.

To further strengthen the University’s CLA, it was announced that Relay Ventures is investing $1 million in the Imagination Catalyst Fund over four years. Relay Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in passionate entrepreneurs disrupting and creating new markets through mobile technologies. This investment fund would provide seed funding for emerging entrepreneurs in the program.

“Three years ago, I became involved with OCAD University and its ‘Imagination Catalyst’, a unique and innovative support system designed to increase student entrepreneurship. OCAD U is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets and produces world-class design professionals necessary to the success of any enterprises, large or small,” said John Albright, co-founder and managing partner of Relay Ventures. Albright is also an OCAD University Board of Governors member. “As OCAD U represents creativity and innovation, it brings a completely new dimension to technology-driven entrepreneurship. We are strong supporters of entrepreneurs emerging from Canadian universities, and our investment in the Imagination Catalyst Fund is a logical extension of our focus in that area.”

The Government of Ontario is investing $295 million over two years in the Youth Jobs Strategy to help 30,000 more young people from across the province connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses. More than 20,000 job opportunities have already been created to date under the Youth Jobs Strategy.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University ( 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.


Media Contact:
Christine Crosbie, Media Relations Officer
OCAD University
416-977-6000 x4890 Cell: 647-473-7778

Arts, culture and heritage contribute $47.8 billion to the Canadian economy

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 4:00am

Statistics Canada has released new data on the economic importance and activity of culture, arts, heritage and sport in Canada. Figures from the 2010 Culture Satellite Account (CSA) show arts, culture and heritage contribute $47.8 billion to the Canadian economy.  This represents 3.1% of Canada’s total GDP while contributing over 647,300 jobs across the country. Sport contributes close to $4.5 billion to the Canadian economy and approximately 93,500 jobs across the country.

The CSA is a new accounting framework that captures data detailing the economic importance of culture, arts, heritage and sport in Canada. It is the result of a partnership between Statistics Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, all of the provinces and territories, numerous municipalities and several non-governmental organizations including OCAD U.

OCAD U fuels the creative industries in Ontario, and these industries have grown by 40 per cent over the last decade, creating 80,000 new jobs. The arts, culture and heritage industry in Canada was larger than the accommodation and food services industry ($30.6 billion) and twice as big as the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry ($23.9 billion).

The CSA will provide new statistics every year on a range of culture indicators such as GDP, and jobs. The document can be downloaded from Statistics Canada.