Monday, July 22, 2019 - 1:30pm

Assistant Professor Pam Patterson (Faculty of Art) is the guest editor of the spring 2020 issue of The Canadian Art Teacher (CAT), a peer-reviewed journal published semi-annually by the Canadian Society for Education through Art, edited by April Mandrona. The goal of the journal is to enable the exchange of exciting teaching ideas, to disseminate novel art education research, and to discuss pertinent issues in the field. Readers and contributors include artists, educators, and researchers interested in teaching and learning in the visual arts.

The theme of this issue is art education, trauma, and difficult knowledges. Submissions from art and design educators are welcome! CAT invites teachers and scholars to explore within themselves and with their students artistic and pedagogical responses to complex and potentially “difficult knowledges” and trauma.

Contributions may be theoretical or practical in nature, and submissions may include: scholarly research papers; reports; creative content such as photo essays; reviews of books (academic, children’s, or art), exhibitions, or resources; and lesson/project ideas. For more information, see the call for proposals (attached below).

An expression of interest (approx. 200 words) is requested September 15, 2019 and a full, final submission is due November 15, 2019.  Inquiries and submissions may be directed to Pam Patterson at

Thinking Through Craft and the Digital Turn

Thinking Through Craft and the Digital Turn is an ongoing research project.

Notions of craft and working by hand are inextricably linked in the popular imagination. Yet today's craft studios feature technological innovations such as 3D printing, laser cutting and computerized textile machinery. Students, faculty and technicians, in university studio departments, develop and explore the relationship of handwork to digital technologies daily. This study focuses on questions of how digital technologies intersect and combine with traditional, mechanical and hand fabrication processes, particularly the possible affordances of digital technology through embodied learning, a pedagogy of the whole body not just the intellect. The discourse is complex, however, autonomy and agency---the control of creative methods and output through materiality, tools and process---are central concerns in craft methodology. We interrogate the concepts of re- and deskilling as they pertain to craft and the digital turn.

In 2016, a study titled Craft, Pedagogy and the Digital Challenge sought to consider the place of teaching and learning digital craft at OCAD University from the perspectives of faculty, staff, and technicians. It identified the challenges of merging traditional techniques with the digital tools within an institution and finding ways of improving the gap between students, faculty, staff, technicians, and their work. OCAD Faculty, staff, and technicians who teach and facilitate traditional and digital craft methods provided insight and their perspectives through interviews.

Project Team:

     Dr. Lynne Heller (Material Art & Design) - Principal Investigator
     Dorie Millerson (Chair, Material Art & Design) - Principal Investigator
     Claire Bartleman - Graduate Research Assistant
     Ellie Manning - Undergraduate Research Assistant and Videographer
     Enna Kim - Undergraduate Research Assistant
     Keiko Hart - Research Assistant

Summary of study:

This research was inspired by the teaching environment of the Material Art and Design program, which includes the study of ceramics, jewellery and textiles practices. Research questions included, "What is the relationship between craft making traditions and the advent of advanced digital tools, and what are the pedagogical implications of that confluence"?

A number of faculty, staff and technicians who teach or facilitate digital craft methods were asked to participate in an interview for the Thinking Through Craft and The Digital Turn project. After consenting to participate in an interview and video, participants were given a list of questions in advance. Questions asked participants to discuss experiences in learning and teaching digital craft methods with reference to how they set goals or evaluate digital processes and what they see as the future of digital craft teaching. During the interviews PIs Heller and Millerson encouraged participants to answer or expand the questions in their own ways, which led to a variety of findings.

During the interviews RA Ellie Manning documented audio and visual material to create a video that was used in part to frame the presentation at the Canadian Craft Biennal (CCB) Conference on September 15th, 2017. In addition to the video, RA Claire Bartleman and PI Lynne Heller created a Research Wall in the host lab, the Data Materialization Studio. The Research Wall facilitated a visual and research-creation approach to the data collected and the theoretical stances being explored.

After the interviews, the research team chose a quote from each interview that best represented its participant. Quotes were then incorporated into posters designed by PI Lynne Heller. The posters were hung in the entrance to OCAD U during CCB conference proceedings. The intention in documenting and attributing quotes was to give a voice to the participants and draw attention to the findings of the project. The posters utilized a suffrage banner format as a framing device (based on the poster Standing Together ... by the National Women's Party, 1913-1920, as photographed in the exhibition Agitprop! at the Brooklyn Museum in 2016 by Alex Kittle).

The CCB Conference was well-attended and Hands on the Tech: Craft, Pedagogy and the Digital Challenge was scheduled for the session "Making Education: The Changing Nature of Teaching Craft", which was facilitated by PI Dorie Millerson and included papers from across the world. Heller and Millerson summarized their findings through the video, which was followed by a PowerPoint presentation. Afterwards, in a lively Q&A session, members of the audience asked questions about approaches to intersectional feminism within this context. The CPDC team described teaching practices that encourage students to investigate their own identities through their work and commented that there is an unequal gender representation in Material Art & Design that should be better understood and discussed. 

Moving forward, the Thinking Through Craft and The Digital Turn team is engaging student voices and collecting the findings, along with theoretical analysis, into an edited anthology focused on the relationship between teaching and learning digital craft. In order to expand the research across Canada the team has also applied for an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The research team realizes the world of digital craft is a complicated topic that requires more time to theorize than simply referring to the binaries of digital and analogue. The team believes in providing a voice to OCAD U faculty, staff and technicians and is looking forward to extending this opportunity to students. The Principal Investigators are developing more research with the Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre along with pursuing more funding to augment this initial pilot project.

Click here to view the Craft, Pedagogy and the Digital Challenge video recorded and edited by Ellie Manning, Undergraduate Research Assistant.

A note on the Posters: The quotes that appear on the posters below were developed from each of the inverviews undertaken and include two quotes from the Principal Investigators. The posters were an amalgam of both digital and analogue techniques. The banner image is based on the sufragette banner Standing Together ..., by the National Women's Party, 1913-1920 (as photographed by Alex Kittle in the exhibition Agitprop! at the Brooklyn Museum, 2016). The quotes were 'typeset' in Photoshop and then the posters were printed in black and white. Researchers then hand-coloured the posters using pastels.

The posters are currently being exhibited in OCAD U's Office of Research and Innovation and Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre.

Photograph of CPDC posters exhibited on a wall at OCAD U.
Photograph of PIs Dr. Lynne Heller and Dorie Millerson and Head of Instructional Services Daniel Payne in front of a poster.
Poster reading "Beautiful expensive machines are pretty useless if people do not know how to use them" - Nick Hooper
Poster reading "I like working with the malfunctioning of a computer as the focus of investigation" - Stan Krzyzanovski
Poster reading "It is rare that you just push a button and the hand is not further involved in the making" - Marie O'Mahony
Poster reading "Materiality is the message" - Lynne Heller
Poster reading "Machines do not run themselves" - Laurie Wassink
Poster reading "Whether it is digital or analogue the subjectivity of the maker is paramount" - Kathleen Morris
Poster reading "The digital privileges the design process over making" - Dorie Millerson
Poster reading "The digital calls into question the whole meaning of craft" - Greg Sims
Poster reading "The term rapid prototyping is somewhat of a misnomer" - Darrell Currington
Poster reading "How can we use this technology but make it human" - Chung-Im Kim
Photograph of Lynne Heller and Dorie Millerson speaking about their research to faculty and students at OCAD U
Photograph of viewers examining the hung posters
Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 10:30am
Lab Member: 
Lynne Heller
Dorie Millerson

All Hands on Tech: Craft, Pedagogy & the Digital Challenge

Research Wednesdays: Presentation from Dorie Millerson and Lynne Heller from the Material Art & Design Program

Reflections on the State of Blackness

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Join us for Dr. Andrea Fatona’s discussion of her ongoing interdisciplinary project: “The State of Blackness: From Production to Presentation”. The project interrogates issues of pedagogy and diversity in the context of both tertiary art education and gallery settings. It highlights the dearth of cultural production and in turn, presentation activities by black artists who because of racial difference have historically been at the margins of “traditional” visions of the Canadian nation and its art production.

Andrea Fatona is an associate professor in the Criticism and Curatorial program. She was the former curator of contemporary art at the Ottawa Art Gallery, and has worked as the programme director at Video In, Vancouver, Co-Director of Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, and Artistic Director of Artspace Gallery, Peterborough. Fatona is concerned with the pedagogical possibilities of art works produced by 'other' Canadians in articulating broader perspectives of Canadian identities.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street, Room 190
Reflections on the State of Blackness Poster

Applications are open now for Murmur Land Studios 2017 events

Photo of tents glowing at dusk
Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 5:00am

Murmur Land Studios is an experimental school initiative offering event-based pedagogy in art, philosophy, movement, ecology and community for the post-anthropocene era. Our attempt is to curate spaces of creative inquiry which attract diverse makers, thinkers and doers together around thematic concerns relevant to the challenging times which lay before us. We are interested in exploring the varied human and more-than-human relations that weave and co-compose new possibilities for joy and survival.

Sean Smith is one of the three founding members of the Murmur Land Studios curatorial collective launching this program.  Sean teaches both Wearable Art and Site and Intervention in the First-Year Program in the Faculty of Art. He brings his art teaching experience at OCADU and PhD in Media Philosophy to his role as faculty of the MLS field schools.

Applications are open now for our 2017 events: "The City in Reverse: Diagramming Intelligent Systems" (July - Sherbrooke, NS) and "Wander Lines: Mythodological Escapism" (August - Saysutshun/Newcastle Island, BC). Deadline is December 15.

More information is available at:


Venue & Address: 
Sherbrooke, NS & Saysutshun/Newcastle Island, BC

"Creating Connections, Building Community"

Friday, January 15, 2016 - 2:00pm to 5:30pm

Friday, January 15, 2016

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Level 5, 113 McCaul St.


The Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre is hosting the 3rd Annual Teaching Expo on Friday, January 15, 2016. The purpose of the half-day event is to share advice and connections among OCAD University's teaching community. 

Listen and share with your colleagues how to re-imagine ways to assess and critique students; hear how one chair managers her "work-work-work" balance; and consider how faculty across the university approach the teaching of colour, just to name a few of the topics to be covered. 

 For more information, visit the FCDC's web site, which includes a full schedule, as well as the presentation topics.

Venue & Address: 
113 McCaul Street, 5th Floor (Faculty and Curriculum Development Centre)

Associate Professors Sandy Kedey & Ann Urban speak at the RGD Design Educators Conference

Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 5:00am

Associate Professors Sandy Kedey & Ann Urban (Advertising Faculty) recently spoke a the RGD Design Educators Conference 2015
Submission: Category: “Transmission”


Perception versus reality: Qualitative research exploring the intersections between design education and an evolving industry
As design educators and professional practitioners ourselves, we understand the challenges surrounding the subjects of currency, relevancy and authenticity in design education today.
Technology and workforce demands have impacted not just the classroom but the boardroom, and both sides are scrambling to understand and address the ever-changing implications.
We surveyed 100 students, graduates—and the CD’s, CEO’s and clients who employ them, to gain a better understand of the expectations and needs of all stakeholders in this shifting landscape.
Comparing and contrasting the conflicting voices of the stakeholders has proven to be a study in opposites: opposite needs, opposite expectations, including:
• Entitlement vs. reward for accomplishment
• Creative indulgence vs. professional discipline
• The need for on-going input vs. the need to work independently
• Confidence/ego vs. collaboration
• Portfolio vs. personality
• Internships vs. job security
• Realistic vs. idealistic expectations around salaries, work-life balance, starter jobs and how the industry works.
Applying this research to the new advertising stream at OCAD University has resulted in a more collaborative teaching model bringing clients and “real world” perspectives, projects and feedback, right into the classroom.
Were we successful? Student participants anonymously graded the course value and learning as 100% across all key measures.
We are at an intersection where both industry and academia are simultaneously working along parallel paths to address change. What better time to gain a deeper understanding of the changing landscape and us this as a catalyst to re-evaluate how we teach and inspire new techniques?

Design Research Presentation

Black poster with red and white text
Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

With Nancy Snow and Saskia van Kampen

Studying the benefits of reflective studio practice in the early stages of design education.

Beginning design students regularly struggle to articulate their intent and decision-making regarding the work they produce. This is often demonstrated through students’ naive engagement in iterative processes, simplistic articulation of concept, and ingenuous criticality when critiquing the work of their peers. Can a more holistic inclusion of writing into design process help students engage more critically with work they make and help them to engage in more purposeful critiquing of their peers’ work? Using Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Discipline methods this paper presents the framework for a study being conducted at OCAD University where writing is actively engaged in the design process. The purpose of the study is to help identify students’ knowledge gaps and support the evolution of design pedagogy. The identification of skills, approaches, and understanding of the beginning design student can aid in developing more relevant and specific curriculum.

On Tuesday, February 17th 2015, OCAD U Faculty of Design members Nancy Snow (Lecturer) and Saskia van Kampen (Assistant Professor and WAC Fellow) presented a paper at the Designing Critical Messages Symposium, held at Plymouth University, in the UK.  The symposium was presented in connection with Writing-PAD (Writing Purposefully in Art and Design), a UK-based organization that fosters collaboration between artists, designers, and writing instructors, with the aim of better understanding the writing needs of students in the creative disciplines.  Nancy and Saskia represented OCAD U and Canadian design education at the symposium; other speakers came from a variety of design institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and Parsons The New School for Design. The keynote was given by leading design researcher Lucy Kimbell, and among the attendees was prominent design educator and Writing-PAD co-founder John Wood.

Titled Learning Through and From Process: Studying the Benefits of Reflective Studio Practice, Nancy and Saskia’s paper presented a framework developed for a study currently underway at OCAD U in Communication Design 2 on the effects of writing assignments on students’ processes of design and critique.  The study, a collaboration between Nancy, Saskia, and Emilie Brancato (ELL Specialist, Writing & Learning Centre), examines whether a more holistic inclusion of writing into the design process can help students engage more critically with their making and help them to engage in more purposeful critiquing of their peers’ work.  The study documents students’ perceptions of themselves as writers and makers as they embark upon theoretical and empirical research, peer-to-peer criticism, and self-reflection. The assignment framework employs a pedagogical model that both draws upon Writing in the Disciplines (WID) approaches to writing instruction and honours the synergy between words/visuals, theory/practice, and practice/intent.  This study is being undertaken as part of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Initiative at OCAD U, which aims to improve undergraduate student writing through the integration of discipline-specific writing practice at all year levels of all programs.

Nancy and Saskia will be sharing their talk as well as the responses of other conference participants with the OCAD U community on Thursday March 19, from noon to 1 p.m. in room 530, 100 McCaul.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University  100 McCaul St. Room 530, 5th Floor

Artists Teaching Artists

image credit: Hudson Christie
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 4:30am to Friday, November 29, 2013 - 11:00pm

An exhibition of reflections on the art of teaching by OCAD U students and alumni

In speaking to art and design education, one tends to reference curriculum, the students taught, the educational contexts, and teachers’ pedagogy; but what about our own unique experiences of, and affective, experiential and aesthetic responses to teaching and learning? Our process as artists inextricably intertwines art making and multileveled learning. We are responsive to and responsible for our own personal and project development and their realization. As art and design educators we reflect on our teaching moments and in doing so inform our art practice; this is a reciprocal and complex relationship.

Two concurrent exhibitions at OCAD University and at OISE, University of Toronto strategically and evocatively map artist-teachers learning as process, as evocation and as provocation.

Artists Teaching
Learning Zone, 122 St Patrick Street, OCAD University
Opening Oct 30th 12:00-2.30pm. Artist talk at 1:00pm
Runs Oct 30-Nov 29.

Students and graduates of OCADU’s Art and Design Education Lab (ADEL) present visual and new media work that reveals and explores the anxieties, pleasures and challenges they have encountered as emerging educators in their art and design learning and teaching.

Artists: Hudson Christie, Megan D’Angelo, Nazli Nahidi, , Hareem Qureshy, Peter Rahul, Julia Sardinha, Angelina Stoilkova, Cassidy Tam.

Curatorial Advisors: Marta Chudolinska, Pam Patterson, Daniel Payne, Leena Raudvee.

Teaching Artists
CWSE Hallway Gallery, OISE, 252 Bloor Street West 2nd floor, University of Toronto
Opening: Oct 28th 5.30-7pm.
Informal Artist Talk: 6pm, Oct 28th.
Runs Oct 28-Nov 29.

OCADU faculty and visual artists JJ Lee, Mei Lee Ogden, Amy Swartz and Natalie Waldburger present work in paint and scripto-visual drawing that addresses both the playfulness and complex nature of the art and learning relationship. Lee’s life-sized works on paper, painted collaboratively with her young daughter Mei, speak to the nature of risk, trust, care, creativity and mutuality found in this unique art making and learning relationship. Swartz’s and Waldburger’s intertwined texts draw and map a process of joint discussion, negotiation and mutual reflection.

Curatorial Collective: Pam Patterson, Peter Rahul, Leena Raudvee, Jay Smith.

image credit: Hudson Christie



Venue & Address: 
Learning Zone, Level 1 113 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario