Study Abroad India Exhibition

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 12:00am to Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 12:00pm

An exhibition of work by OCAD U students in the Design Abroad: India course in May 2017, inspired by their experiences engaging in participatory design projects with communities in Goa, India.


Venue & Address: 
OCAD U Great Hall, 2nd Floor, 100 McCaul
Study Abroad India

CleanCube Project

A project focused on bringing human-scale solutions to the large-scale challenge of clean water.

  • The CleanCube Project is built on a holistic model designed to provide an accessible, affordable source of clean water to people who need it most.
  • Currently in the prototype stage, the CleanCube product is a dissolvable cube made of natural plant-based material that can be added to stored drinking water to kill 100% of E. coli bacteria.
  • This product is part of a larger system that includes small batch production, community-based education, alternative marketing and distribution strategies, and appropriate pricing that fit the realities of CleanCube’s target users.



Worldwide, 783 million people lack access to clean water. In India alone, approximately 600,000 children die annually due to diarrhea or pneumonia, often caused by unclean water and poor hygiene. The sad irony is that water-cleaning devices are available, particularly in India where cheap manufacturing abounds. With so many options available, why are millions of people still lacking access to clean water?

One simplified answer is that the fit, scale, and sustainability of the solutions are insufficient to meet the needs of millions of people lacking access to clean water.

Some water cleaning products are too expensive for the average Indian family. Even if sold at an affordable price, the technology for some products does not reflect the daily realities of those living at or near the poverty line. The requirements needed to make them work effectively do not align with the challenges faced by the people who could most benefit.

Perhaps the most significant reason why the problem of access to clean water persists in India is that the solutions offered are not designed to scale up to reach a large, diverse, primarily rural population. As such, they are not inherently sustainable. Without a sustainable model for production, distribution, maintenance, and local economic impact, products have little chance of making meaningful inroads to eradicating the problem.

So what is the answer?

The answer is that a sustainable solution, one that closely considers the environmental, cultural, social, and financial impacts, has the best chance for making measurable change over the long term. This is the mission behind the CleanCube Project.

It is CleanCube’s interconnected systems approach consisting of small batch production, engaged community education, and innovative distribution and promotion activities that can bring clean water to the people who need it most. And to do so sustainability over the long term by creating economic opportunity, local ownership and by empowering individuals, especially women, at the community level.

The next steps for the CleanCube Project are continued research testing in the lab and in the field. The goal is also to use this human-scale approach to create other powerful design interventions that can overcome the barriers of distribution, financing, and cultural adoption to reach scale in other communities and around other global challenges.



Project Website
OCAD InStudio Interview with Sarah Tranum
Relating Systems Thinking and Design 5 Conference presenation

Illustrated CleanCube banner featuring several families surrouding a water drop, medical symbol and
Infographic demonstrating stages of development in CleanCube project, from production to final impact in the community
Photograph of woman working at home on CleanCube production
Sarah Tranum discussing the CleanCube project with local women
CleanCube infographic illustrating the multiplicative positive effect of having clean water in the community
A photograph of group of women who participated in the project, standing together and smiling
Illustration showing 3 groups of 5 women standing around a grid of clean water droplets
Friday, October 6, 2017 - 11:00am
Lab Member: 
Sarah Tranum
Embed Video: 

Students Begin the Design Abroad:India Course

First Day - Group Photo
Monday, May 15, 2017 - 1:45pm

Nine students from the Faculty of Design have arrived in India to start the three-week Design Abroad: India course. Since the program began in 2013, this is the fourth cohort of OCAD U students to travel to India to engage in participatory, multi-disciplinary design projects with community-based organizations.

Follow the students on their journey as they co-design live projects by visiting the course blog.

Over the next three weeks, students will be posting about their daily activities and sharing their reflections about the projects and their experiences traveling and designing in India. For more information, contact Sarah Tranum, Assistant Professor, Social Innovation Design and faculty of the Design Abroad: India course.

You can also follow the course on instagram @designabroadindia


Design in India

Design in India: A Paradigm of Ascension

Shri Shashank Mehta
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 10:00pm

The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) is pleased to welcome Professor Shashank Mehta to Toronto for the week of September 22 to 26, 2008. The Office of Graduate Studies and the Faculty of Design will host a lecture by Professor Mehta on Tuesday, September 23, at 6 p.m. in Central Hall. Professor Mehta is a Mechanical Engineer and a Post Graduate in Industrial Design (Product Design), and is currently the Activity Chairperson, Research & Publications at India’s esteemed National Institute of Design (NID). Prior to this, he headed NID's Programs for Education, Outreach, and Industry, and International Departments at the Institute.

Mehta has successfully anchored Design Clinic and Design Awareness Workshops for various small-scale Industry clusters in India, including: 'Competitive Advantage through Design' (2004); 'Design as Strategy for Development and Quality of Living' (2005), and 'Strategic Design Intervention for Developing Economies' (2006), with specific focus on 'design for crafts' and 'design for development' for the participants from various developing countries. Mehta has authored various articles and actively contributed to various bodies in diverse capacities including lectures on topics such as 'Understanding Design'; 'Imperatives of Technology & Design Interface'; 'New Product development', and 'Aspiring Creativity: the Indian Context'.

All are welcome, admission is free.
Limited seating available. Guests are advised to arrive early.

Venue & Address: 
Central Hall (Room 230) 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

An Evening with Shohini Ghosh

Shohini Ghosh
Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 8:30pm

The Faculty of Art of the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) will present a screening and lecture with New Delhi filmmaker and scholar Shohini Ghosh.

This event is part of the Lecture Series on Ethics in Art, Design and Media

On Thursday, September 25, a 4:30 p.m. screening of her film, Tales of the Night Fairies, will be followed with a lecture entitled “Shadows in the Clear Light of Day: Making Tales of the Night Fairies.”
In her talk, Shohini Ghosh will reflect on the artist-subject relationship, the ethics of documentary filmmaking and the representation of marginalized sex workers in the media. In particular, Ghosh will discuss the necessity of putting herself, as filmmaker, into her film, as a means of giving the film context and an ethical perspective.

Tales of the Night Fairies
Five sex workers — four women and one man — along with the filmmaker/narrator embark on a journey of storytelling. Tales of the Night Fairies explores the power of collective organizing and resistance while reflecting upon contemporary debates around sex work. The expansive and labyrinthine city of Calcutta, India, forms the backdrop for the personal and musical journeys of storytelling.

The film attempts to represent the struggles and aspirations of thousands of sex workers who constitute the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (or ‘Durbar', which in Bengali means un-stoppable or indomitable), a forum of 65 000 sex workers based in West Bengal, India. A collective of men, women and transgendered sex workers, Durbar demands decriminalization of adult sex work and the right to form a trade union. Tales of the Night Fairies was made with support from the New Delhi-based Centre for Feminist Legal Research and the Amsterdam-based Mama Cash, an international women’s fund that supports pioneering and innovative women's initiatives around the world.

Shohini Ghosh is Zakir Hussain Professor at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University) in New Delhi. From 1990 to 1996, she was Visiting Associate Professor of the Department of Communication at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Globalization-McArthur Fellow at the University of Chicago in 2001. She has also served as Fellow at the Gender, Sexuality and Law Research Group of the Law Department at Keele University in the United Kingdom, and Visiting Professor at the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture and Society at the University of Amsterdam. Ghosh writes extensively on popular culture and the media for both academic journals and the popular press. A major part of her current work involves theoretical interventions in public debates around issues of sexuality, speech and censorship.

Venue & Address: 
Central Hall (Room 230), Level 2 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario

Study Abroad India -- INFO SESSIONS

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 1:00pm

Reduced program fees and bursaries are now available!

Design Abroad: India is an exciting opportunity for students in all Faculties to travel, explore, and co-design with a local community in rural India. This 1.0 credit elective course will run from May 9 to May 27, 2016, in India. If you are a second year student or above and have a 70% overall average or higher, attend an upcoming info session, and submit your application today.

Attend an Info Session!
Location: 100 McCaul St., Rm 670

Wednesday, January 20 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Friday, January 22 - 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 26 - 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Applications are due:
Friday, January 29th by 5:00 p.m.

To learn more about the course and how to apply, visit or send an email to

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St., Rm 670
Design in India poster with event info

Sarah Tranum presenting her paper at the 2015 Mumbai Conference

Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 2:00pm

Sarah Tranum, Assistant Professor of Social Innovation in the Faculty of Design, will be presenting her paper, "Designing sustainable clean water solutions using women’s livelihood generation and empowerment strategies", at the International Conference Cumulus Mumbai 2015 "A Vision of Sustainability with Focus on Water". This conference is being hosted by the Industrial Design Centre at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay from December 3-5, 2015, in Mumbai, India.

Ahmedabad Cross-section

The diversity and dynamism of India play a central role in Photography Professor Peter Sramek’s teaching as well as his own art.

In 2012, for instance, Peter led a workshop on sustainability issues at the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad. Back home in Toronto, Peter’s links to India have helped his students expand their knowledge of global art production and concerns. With funding from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, Peter brought NID’s head of Photography and two students to OCAD U, enabling them to participate in a workshop with his International Collaboration Studio students. Peter has also taken OCAD U students to the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, and he has facilitated online collaborations between photography students in India and Canada.

In this story we have included six of Peter’s photographic collages from his Ahmedabad Cross-section, and a first-person look inside his artistic practice:

During my first visit to Ahmedabad, I was fascinated by the transition from a city with a 600-year history to a modern economic centre. It had just been named “the most livable large city in India” by a national magazine, and was undergoing some major development along the river that divides the old and new cities. Controversial relocation of the urban poor prompted heated discussions as the area was cleared for Governor Modi’s vision.

I walked from the train station in the east of the old city, directly west to the river and then out to the new ring highway. I passed through the lively, old markets, to colonial and post-colonial neighbourhoods and finally out to new commercial developments topped with billboards promoting consumer products, condominium oases and luxury holiday getaways.

The structure of the visual documentation mirrors the experience of walking a line and aims to capture the high energy of this busy city, as well as the contrasts of old and new.


Gary Taxali teaching at the National Institute of Design, Bangalore

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 5:00am

Assistant Professor Gary Taxali is in Bangalore this month teaching at the National Institute of Design (NID) as part of OCAD University’s exchange agreement with the school.

Taxali’s workshop “Drawing Your Personal Voice” is part of NID’s two-weeks of open electives, and works with twenty students from various disciplines.

While in Bangalore, Taxali will give a talk about his work and creative process at the INSIGHT 2015 Design Research Symposium hosted by NID and organized by the Design Management Institute.

For updates on Taxali’s experience in Bangalore, follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.