Canada Council Visualization: Training for visual analysis of complicated data

The Canada Council for the Arts engaged researchers from OCAD’s Visual Analytics Lab to meet a need for the visual analysis of complicated data from various industries, including the Canada Council’s Open Data set, the CADAC data set, and Parliamentary appropriation tables.

Researchers met with Canada Council staff to identify key challenges and gain an understanding of the user group that the visual analytics approach would first serve. They defined co-dependencies of this user group and, working closely with Canada Council employees, developed an appropriate approach to visualizing the various data sets.

A key component of this collaboration was the training of Canada Council employees in the methodologies and applications of data visualization.

This project culminated in the creation of a web-based interface and methods to guide users in exploring and gaining valuable information from the visual representations of grant allocation data.

See the data visualization tool in action on the Canada Council's website.


Canada Council for the Arts dashboard
Canada Council for the Arts dashboard
Canada Council for the Arts Logo
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 12:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Sara Diamond
Dr. Ana Jofre
Afrooz Samaei
Marcus A. Gordon

Patricio Davila

Patricio Dávila is a designer, artist and educator. He is currently Associate Professor in Design at OCAD University, Director of Public Visualization Lab and member of the OCADU Mobile Media Lab and Visual Analytics Lab. His research focusses on developing a theoretical framework for examining data visualization as assemblages of subjectivation and power.

Isabel Meirelles

Isabel Meirelles is an information designer and educator whose intellectual curiosity lies in the relationships between visual thinking and visual representation. She is a professor in the faculty of design at OCAD University, Toronto, and the recipient of the 2015/2016 OCAD University Award for Distinguished Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. From 2003 to 2104, she was on the faculty of Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media and Design in the department of art and design, where she helped create the MFA in information design and data visualization.

Advanced Visualization: A Boom with a View

ORION summit
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 6:30pm to 7:45pm

A session – leading up to a full-day workshop at co-hosted by OCAD and SHARCNET – exploring the impact of advanced visualization technologies in science and design. Advanced visualization is transforming the approach, implementation and outcomes of collaboration and research in such diverse fields as bioinformatics, human-computer interaction, geography, language visualization, environmental sciences, physics, as well as collaborative, interactive teaching and learning.

Note: There is a half-day workshop on this topic being held at OCAD on Wednesday, November 5. If you are interested in attending, please contact Hilary Krupa at for more details.

Session Chair: Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art & Design
President of OCAD University (Ontario College of Art & Design), Canada's largest and most diverse art and design university. Diamond is building OCAD's capacities in undergraduate learning, research and graduate studies, as well as building links with medical and scientific research. Before moving to OCAD in 2005, she was the award-winning Director of Research at The Banff Centre and Artistic Director of Media and Visual Arts for fourteen years. She founded the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) in 1995 and since then, with her team at Banff and a number of national and international partners, has built the BNMI into a globally recognized content incubator, workshop and think tank. Diamond's network reaches from Asia to Eastern Europe, Brazil, and the Arctic; from research labs to Silicon Valley; from television to software development. She is currently co-principle investigator on the Mobile Digital Commons Network. Her research and publications explore software visualization and the history of media art.

Pierre Boulanager, Professor, Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta

Dr. Boulanger graduated from Laval University in Engineering Physics. He also received his Masters in Physics from the same university and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Montreal. He worked for 18 years at the National Research Council of Canada as a senior research officer where his primary research interests were 3D computer vision, rapid product development, and virtualized reality systems. Since 2001, he has been a professor at the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta doing research and teaching on virtualized reality systems. He is also an adjunct scientist and principal investigator for new media at TRLabs and at the Banff Centre. In 2004, Dr. Boulanger was awarded an iCORE industrial chair in Collaborative Virtual Environment. He is also the Director of the Advanced Man-Machine Interface Laboratory. On the commercial side, Dr Boulanger is the president of PROTEUS Consulting Inc., an Alberta-based consulting firm specializing in Virtual Reality Applications.

Chaomei Chen, Associate Professor, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University
Dr. Chaomei Chen is associate professor in the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University and a visiting professor at Brunel University in the United Kingdom since 2002. He received his bachelor degree in mathematics from Nankai University, China, his master's degree in computation from the University of Oxford and his doctorate in computer science from the University of Liverpool. His research interests include information visualization, knowledge domain visualization and mapping scientific frontiers. Dr. Chen is the author of Information Visualization: Beyond the Horizon and Mapping Scientific Frontiers: The Quest for Knowledge Visualization. He is the founder and the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Information Visualization. He received the 2002 ASIST/ISI Citation Research Award. He is a member of the Thomson Scientific Strategic Advisory Board and the principal investigator of research grants from NSF and other sponsors. Dr. Chen created the widely used software CiteSpace for visualizing and analyzing emerging trends in scientific literature.

Venue & Address: 
Metro Toronto Convention Centre 255 Front Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Who’s dating whom in Toronto… and how often

Single doesn’t have to mean lonely this Valentine’s Day — not in a city as vibrant as ours, and definitely not according to findings from the 2016 NOW LOVE AND SEX SURVEY. INSTUDIO asked OCAD U Graphic Design student Shaheer Tarar to dive into data supplied by Now and create a picture of how we date.

The resulting visualization shows how frequently Torontonians date according to age, gender and sexual orientation. A matrix was used to organize survey respondents by age (see the columns) and frequency of dates (see the rows). Each dot represents a person — with an inner-circle colour identifying gender and an outer-circle colour identifying sexual orientation. 

Who’s dating whom in Toronto, and how often visualizes the 735 Torontonians who fully completed the survey. Want to learn more about how they lusted and loved? See full survey results at


Who’s dating whom in Toronto… and how often, Shaheer Tarar, 2016

Click to see larger version


Dating patterns and presumptions:

  • The grass isn’t always greener. That is, no one is dating as much as we think that they are. Across all categories of respondents, ‘several times a week’ was selected by a comparative few.
  • Toronto youth really embrace diversity. In the 19–25 age group, dating frequency is fairly even across the board, with similar numbers of people going out ‘weekly;’ ‘monthly;’ ‘less often, if ever;’ or responding with the words ‘at this point…’
  • Millennials aren’t that easy to peg. The majority of those aged 26–35 date weekly. But a surprisingly high number in this group also identified their dating frequency as either ‘monthly’ or with the words ‘at this point…’
  • Our second-timers are a whole new breed. No clear pattern emerged in the 36–45 age group. Are these the divorce and re-marry years, or is middle age just a lot more fun?
  • Either love wins at some point, or Netflix does. Most of those aged 46–55 identified their dating frequency as ‘at this point…’ A high number still admitted to dating, albeit only ‘monthly’ or ‘less often.’
  • Some romance required? Most of those aged 56–69 described their dating frequency with the words ‘at this point…’ For this age group, the selection got double the number of respondents than the three other most popular answers.
Standard Template

Little Sister (is watching you, too)

screenshot of North America
Friday, December 11, 2015 - 5:00am to Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 5:00am

Nancy Paterson, Ph.D [Faculty of Art] is exhibiting her work in Internet infrastructure visualization at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery December 11, 2015–January 30, 2016 ---[]

Curated by Christiane Paul

Nancy Paterson’s contribution to this group exhibition has 2 parts: the original interactive visualization which became located at a hidden URL [flash based animation] entitled CHmaps -
and the project collaboration with the University of Toronto entitled IXmaps -

Artist statement:
Cyberfeminism gave rise to networked feminism a development that paralleled the transition in my creative practice/research. The Internet based mediawork Stock Market Skirt led directly to creative visualization of Internet infrastructure in an early first generation flash project depicting Internet carrier-hotel interconnection points in NAmerica. This early work was entitled CHmaps, now located at a hidden URL. The visualization attracted attention from potential collaborators including Dr Andrew Clement at the Faculty of Information University of Toronto and the project transitioned to UofT database servers and became re-titled IXmaps. After a period of time it became more driven by research aims at UofT and at this time the database is still hosted there.

Curator statement:
This exhibition will investigate the strategies and social relevance of digital art works exploring surveillance, the rights of the individual, and the transparency (or lack of transparency) of government programs. The exhibition features artworks and activist projects that look back at the apparatus of government agencies and systems of control, addressing issues surrounding ethics, accountability, and the visual and sonic vocabulary used to see or hear the individual or systems of power. Neither a surveillance nor sousveillance exhibition per se, the show is supposed to ask questions about limits of transparency and visualization and what we can know from data. How are we being watched and how are we watching government agencies and systems of control? What are the differences in how citizens see the state apparatus and how systems of power see the citizen? Where are the boundaries between the protector and traitor and where do we need to protect ourselves from our protectors (the governments trying to ensure our safety)?

Venue & Address: 
144 West 14th Street, 2nd floor New York, NY 10011 212.647.7778