Register now for DEEP 2019 (Designing Enabling Economies and Policies), Oct. 18th

DEEP 2019, Designing Enabling Economies and Policies
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 9:00am to Friday, October 18, 2019 - 6:00pm

This year the one-day DEEP event will be the beginning of a series of challenge workshops that extend throughout the year. These workshops will address challenges that are important to all of us, but that don’t receive enough attention or investment because they are too complex or because the people that are most affected don’t have enough influence or power.

We also hope you will get involved in many new and ongoing inclusive design projects. Our new projects are Code Learn Create and Project We Count. Code Learn Create is building inclusive educational coding tools, so that everyone can participate in this “new literacy”. We Count makes sure that people are not excluded from the data economy, and that data-based decisions are not biased against minorities, diversity and complexity. 


We are gathering our international partners to help us plan the next iteration of our Social Justice Repair KitFLOE and Platform Co-op Development Kit projects. 


The topics we will tackle are tough, but also personally relevant to everyone attending. Among the themes running through our discussions will be: 

  • ownership and agency in a data-driven world, 
  • how truth and value are determined, 
  • reversing rising financial disparity and political polarization, and 
  • the relationship between inclusion and sustainability.

We also intend to have fun and celebrate the opportunity to connect with old and new friends.


Venue & Address: 
Location: Cooper Koo YMCA 461 Cherry Street Toronto, ON M5A 0H7
416-977-6000 x3967
Free to register but please tell us if your plans change.

"title:______________" (to be defined by you)

Friday, June 21, 2019 - 5:00pm


Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Graduate Gallery 205 Richmond St. W.

Peter Coppin

Dr. Peter Coppin is an Associate Professor of Design at OCAD University. He is a core Program Faculty member in the Master of Design (MDes) in Inclusive Design program where he runs the first and second-year Inclusive Design Laboratory courses and serves as Principal Advisor for a number of graduate student Major Research Projects (these are the culminating focus of the program's final year).

Design ManifesT.O 2020

Recipients of 2018 OCAD University Research Seed Grant, Associate Professor Cheryl Giraudy and Assistant Professor Saskia van Kampen, Faculty of Design have just launched a two­-year research effort with the working title Design ManifesT.O 2020: creating new ideas for Toronto. The project has begun with an audit of past and ongoing proposals, movements, policies, and calls to action that evolve art, design and creative endeavours of place­making as part of transforming the city, including aspirations for greater equity, democratic reform, infrastructure, transit, amalgamation, and neighbourhood redevelopment.

The project launched with a public panel discussion as part of the 2019 DesignTO Festival at the Open Gallery, 49 McCaul. The panel of community­-based activists, writers, critics, and makers, moderated by Councillor Kristyn Wong­Tam, Toronto Centre Ward 13, shared their stories for grassroot endeavours and disruptive strategies for place­making and included Author Dave Meslin, Community organizer Sabina Ali, Manager, Community + Policy Connections Ajeev Bhatia, and Public Art Critic Sarah Ratzlaff. Research Assistants Christine Xia and Samantha Matters contributed significantly to efforts of planning, and research collection. The research team has begun planning the second forum in collaboration with potential sponsors, and aimed for Scarborough neighbourhoods, to gather/listen to citizen efforts for community-based creative placemaking.

In conjunction with faculty partners, early plans for a ‘Creative Practice as Protest Workshop’ with Colloqate.Org, an award winning community platform for racial, social, and cultural equity in city­making, are being discussed, potentially aligned with a student competition for new ideas for Toronto. Stories and information collected from all events, forums, workshops, as well as interviews, will form a rich database to explore and ideally manifest a creative artefact, be it video, book or toolkit for planning Toronto 2020 and beyond.


Photograph of Borough Posters installed in the windows of 49 McCaul.
Guest Panelists Dave Meslin, Ajeev Bhatia in discussion prior to event in front of Borough Posters
Photo of Project Launch with Panel Discussion and Open Mic at Open Gallery 49 McCaul St
Photo of Research Collaborators Saskia Van Kampen, Cheryl Giraudy and Bryan Lee Jr., co-founder of Colloqate.Org meeting
Monday, February 4, 2019 - 10:30am
Lab Member: 
Cheryl Giraudy
Saskia van Kampen

OCAD U brings multisensory project to the AGO

Friday, January 4, 2019

Gallery visitors with vision loss have a new way to enjoy some iconic paintings at the AGO: using multisensory aids that allow them to “feel” the works on the wall.

The AGO already has multisensory tours that allow people with low vision to touch certain sculptures and listen to audio descriptions. Now, OCAD U students have designed 3-D replicas, or “translations,” of paintings to give visitors a sense of the mood and shapes in the images through touch.

Students in OCAD U’s Multisensory course chose four paintings for the project: Tom Thomson’s The West Wind, Otto Dix’s Portrait of Dr. Heinrich Stadelmann, La demoiselle de magasin by James Tissot and Jar of Apricots by Jean-Siméon Chardin. An electric fan, fruit and cold “slime” also help convey the experience of the paintings.  

The Multisensory course is offered to senior students (undergraduate or graduate), and is a partnership between the AGO and OCAD University. Lectures by various academic and museum experts, including Professors Peter Coppin and Beverly Dywan and the AGO’s Melissa Smith, teach students theories of sound and other senses for their translations.

“The translations are very effective for people with vision and other sensory impairments, but also helpful for others to find greater depth in their understanding of the chosen artworks. These provide better engagement from the visitors, which is a desirable quality for visitor experience at museums,” says Dywan.

You an read the Toronto Star's coverage of the project online. 





Documentation of audience at conference
Thursday, November 1, 2018

The IACS conference series gathers together scholars and scientists in semiotics, cognitive science, linguistics, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and related fields, who wish to share their research on meaning and contribute to the interdisciplinary dialogue.

From July 13th to 15th, 2018 OCAD University and Ryerson University (in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario) co-hosted the Third Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics, co-organized by Dr. Peter Coppin (Graduate Program Director, Inclusive Design). 

Presentations by Inclusive Design students and faculty were featured in the conference including:

Veronica Geraldo (with Jordan Zlatev)
Referential iconicity in music and speech within and across sensory modalities

Brandon Biggs, Lena Yusim, and Peter Coppin
The Audio Game Laboratory

Peter Coppin (with Richard C. Windeyer) 
Sonifying Napoleon's March: A cognitive semiotics approach to translating infographic maps into cross-modal information displays

Annie Levy and Peter Coppin
A Participatory Approach to Cross-Modal Translations/Interpretation of Visual Artworks

The conference also included a tour of an exhibition titled "Multi-Sensory Expo" that featured projects by INCD students at OCAD U's Ada Slaight Student Gallery, as well as a poster presentation by INCD student Felipe Sarmiento (with Peter Coppin) investigating an evolving multimodal sign system for the non-visual and non-aural soccer spectator.

The International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS, founded 2013) aims at establishing cognitive semiotics as a trans-disciplinary study of meaning. More information on the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics can be found at

The full program from the conference can be found here

Cognitive Semiotics investigates the nature of meaning, the role of consciousness, the unique cognitive features of human beings, the interaction of nature and nurture in development, and the interplay of biological and cultural evolution in phylogeny. To better answer such questions, cognitive semiotics integrates methods and theories developed in the human, social, and cognitive sciences.


Local Organizing Committee

Core Committee Members
Jamin Pelkey, Ryerson Chair: Associate Professor, Ryerson University
Peter Coppin, OCAD Chair: Associate Professor, OCAD University
Stéphanie Walsh Matthews, Coordinator: Associate Professor, Ryerson University 
Dana Osborne, Coordinator: Assistant Professor, Ryerson University

Conference Liasons 
Dave Kemp, IMA Liason: Assistant Professor, Ryerson University School of Image Arts
Melissa Smith, AGO Liason: Coordinator, Art Gallery of Ontario
David Lidov, General Advisor: Professor Emeritus, York University 

Conference Assistants
Ali Aird, Volunteer Coordinator, Ryerson University, Masters Student
Gabriele Aroni, Volunteer, Ryerson University, PhD Student
Calla Evans, Photographer, Ryerson University, Masters Student
Talia Eylon, Media Support, Ryerson University, Masters Student
Annie Levy, Volunteer, OCAD University, Masters Student
Ambrose Li, Web Designer, OCAD University, Masters Graduate
George Martin, Volunteer, York University, PhD Student
Sophia Melanson, Volunteer, York University, PhD Student
Paul Messina, Volunteer, Ryerson University, BSc Student
Natasha Naveau, Media Support, Ryerson University, Masters Student
Sari Park, Volunteer Coordinator, Ryerson University, BA Student
Sahar Raza, Volunteer, Ryerson University, Masters Student
Richard Rosenbaum, Volunteer, York University, PhD Student
Jana Vigor, Volunteer Coordinator, Ryerson University, Masters Student


Innovative Designs for Accessibility Competition | Opens November 1st!

Image of hand and light bulb
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Innovative Designs for Accessibility Competition launches November 1st and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students!
For more information about the competition click here

About the competition
The Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition aims to inspire  students to use their creativity to develop innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions to accessibility-related issues resulting in communities that are more accessible for persons with disabilities.

The objectives of the program are:

  • to contribute to the creation of a culture of accessibility in Canada
  • to motivate students to think about accessibility issues and to include accessibility in their creation of social and technological innovations now and in the future
  • to develop cost-effective, practical and innovative concepts, programs, initiatives or designs that address everyday accessibility issues

Who is eligible?
Eligible applicants must be:

  • Currently enrolled in any postsecondary program at a university which has recognized provincial degree-granting power, or their affiliates
  • Students in all programs including architecture, arts, business, computer science, early childhood education, engineering, industrial design, medicine, nursing, political science, psychology, sociology, social work, etc. are welcome to apply

First place: Three prizes of $5,000 (Students who finish in first place will receive $5,000 and all expenses paid trip to showcase their project at a national conference.)
Second place: Three prizes of $1,500
Third place: Three prizes of $1,000

Brian Carriere
Program Officer
Universities Canada
Tel.: (613) 563-1236, ext. 279

Actor Elizabeth Morris on Inclusive Design for Theatre and Film

Image of actor, Elizabeth Morris
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Actor Elizabeth Morris’s latest role is in Jean Giraudoux’s satirical play The Madwoman of Chaillot at the Stratford Festival. Like any performer, she works hard to captivate audiences through strong acting and stage presence. Her work is expressed primarily, however, in American Sign Language (ASL).  

Morris’s substantial resume of theatre and film production credits includes a wide range of ASL storytelling, visual work, miming and stand-up comedy: “Sometimes I have ASL interpreters on hand to voiceover for me, for hearing members to hear, but my body language and facial expressions are very clear and big, so non-signers can pick up some of my signs,” she says. 

Morris also works as an ASL coach, an accessibility consultant, and an inclusive designer for theatres and films. She is a member of ACTRA and CAEA union.  She decided to attend OCAD U’s Inclusive Design program to research ways to make live theatres more accessible and inclusive for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and for their families.  

“I believe that if you want a change to happen, you have to be the person to change it,” says Morris of her research. In becoming an inclusive designer through the program, she hopes to reduce gaps in accessibility and forge new solutions specifically suited to theatre and film: “This research will always be evolving. I plan to open minds and help theatre companies be more willing to try new things.”  

Through interviewing Deaf actors and directors as part of her investigative process, Morris discovered different perspectives on accessibility issues: “Each individual is different,” she says. “The research is not only biased based on my own experiences, it’s inclusive of Deaf and Hard of Hearing who may have different levels of hearing loss.” She says that the program also made her more aware of accessibility issues for the blind.  

In film and theatre environments Morris works with ASL interpreters so that rehearsals and shows are accessible both to her and everyone else she’s collaborating with. Within the Inclusive Design program, OCAD U provided an ASL interpreters and a note taker for the same purpose, and much of the program is delivered through an online technology and learning system. Prior to attending OCAD U she completed her BA in Elementary Education and Educational Drama at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., which remains unique as the only liberal arts university for the Deaf in the world.  

Find out more: 

Diverging from The [Main] Stream and Multi-Sensory Exhibit

Friday, July 13, 2018 - 12:00pm to Sunday, July 15, 2018 - 2:00pm

The second year Inclusive Design graduate students  invite you to our Summer Intensive exposition - Diverging from The [Main] Stream. Students from the Inclusive Design program will be exhibiting their current work and research in the Ada Slaight student galleries located at 100 McCaul St. from noon until 7:30 pm on Friday July 13. The students are looking forward to receiving feedback on their research. Please see poster with more information. All are welcome.

Multi-Sensory Exposition

In association with the Third Conference of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS3—2018) please join us at the Multi-Sensory Exposition taking place in the Ada Slaight Gallery this weekend. Kicking off Friday July 13, join us for our opening reception from 2:35 pm until 3:20 pm. On Saturday July 14 and Sunday July 15 the gallery will be open from 10 am until 2 pm. All are welcome.

Venue & Address: 
Ada Slaight Gallery OCAD University 100 McCaul St. 2nd floor
Poster for exhibition