Asia-Global Cultural Studies Forum

Asia-Global-Cultural-Studies-Forum (AGCSF) is a forum of a lively discussion of Asia and Asia Global-related art, design, culture, media, creative strategy, and research. It is initiated by the professors and students at OCAD U who aspire to support and promote creative and critical research as well as art, design, media productions and ideas by Asian and/or Asia-Global students, professors, researchers, and professionals. The artist-designer-creator-researchers whose works are inspired by Asian cultures, values, and epistemology, as well as those who explore the latter’s connectivity to their work, are welcome to the forum.
The forum invites 3 tiers of presenters: the students, the professors, and the professionals.

The participatory organizational model of this forum consists of the presenters, the discussants, and the audience whose participation is to be valued equally to bring about a diverse and multidirectional discussion. The selection criteria of the presenters are based on merit and the contents of their works, not on rank or prestige.

The current focus of AGCSF is East Asia, particularly China, Korea, and Japan. However, the topics can be extended to include the issues related to South East Asia (i.e. the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand), the historical development and cultural formation of which are closely connected to that of the East Asian region through migration, etc. 

Everyone is welcome to participate in this forum or become a presenter in future events.

The AGCSF does not support any form of ethnocentric/regional chauvinism or hegemonic nationalism unfit for our vision of the future. The AGCSF does support the emergence of other cosmopolitan research groups and fora at OCAD U - based on a non-hierarchical and non-exclusionary notion of regional, national, ethnic and cultural identities.

For more information, please visit the website:


The Ethos of AGCSF

• A syncretic forum of all levels of researchers (students, professors, and professionals)

• Merit- and contents-based (not rank or prestige).

• No ethnocentric/regional chauvinism or hegemonic nationalism.

• Cosmopolitanism and exploration of difference and alternative epistemologies.

• Non-hierarchical organizational model for the promotion of a culture of open discussion.

• Participatory forum: The participants will consist of the presenters, the discussants, and the audience whose participation is to be equally valued to bring about diverse and multidirectional discussions.

• The Discussants are an important category of this forum. They are the generators of discussion as well as latent presenters. Those who are interested in presenting are recommended to participate as the discussants first. The discussants – along with the audience – who have previously participated in the forum and substantially contributed to the discussions will be considered with priority as the presenters for the following event.

• Embodied participation is implied in its growth model based on merit and contribution (rather than on rank or prestige). AGCSF hopes to make this forum truly an intellectually viable place for lively exchange and discussion of ideas and visions, a lively intellectual fora filled with genuine curiosity and openness to different perspectives.

• Embodied and experiential knowledge: AGCSF values embodied and experiential knowledge, research, and ideas rather than the overly academicized outcomes short of the conductive power to generate grounded and real conversations.

• ESL students are the most welcome. You are the holders of up-to-date global knowledge. If you have any ideas to share but the only thing that makes you hesitate is your English, please bring a translator or discuss the ideas with us.


The inaugural AGCSF event

The inaugural AGCSF event occurred on May 17, 2019 between 1:00 and 6:00pm at 205 Richmond St. West, Rm. 115.

Presentations delivered included:

• Dr. Soyang Park (OCAD U), A Cosmopolitan Remapping of East Asia and the Asia-Global: Notes Towards Asia-Global-Cultural Studies Forum(AGCSF)

• Leon Hsu (OCAD U), Reinventing Tradition Beyond Cultural Paradigm: A Brief Discussion of Cai Guo-Qiang’s Pyrotechnic Ephemera Works

• Christie Carriere (OCAD U), Returning the Gaze: Contemporary Asian Female Artists Responding to (Techno) Orientalism

• Richard Luong (OCAD U), Directing Orientalism: The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)

• Jessica Liu (OCAD U), Painting My Own Being in the World, Falling in and out of Past and Contemporary

• Christine Li (OCAD U), Manuel Ocampo and Colonial Legacy: Trauma, Multidirectional Memory, and Redemption

• Ema Dan (OCAD U),  Idol, Not Celebrity: K-Pop, K-Pop Fans, and their Symbiosis

• Yilong Liu (OCAD U), Confronting Ambiguity: The Intersection of Racial and Sexual Repression and Marginalisation in Rex vs Singh and Seeking Single White Male

• Florence Yee (OCAD U), Bad Forgeries Make for Good Originals: A Studio-Research Project into Cantonese-Canadian Issues of Authenticity, Belonging and Diaspora Subjectivities Working with Text-based Art

• Yujia Shi (University of Toronto), From One-Child to Two-Child: Understanding Birth Planning Policies in China’s Population Governance

• Hannia Cheng (TeaBase), Tea Base: Against the Displacement and Gentrification of Chinatowns


Additional Information:

What is Culture?

Culture is the shared value system and code of conducts that exist in interconnected and contingent differences across communities, cultures, and nations.

Culture in all its manifestations – conventional, popular, emergent, marginal, and resistant – are constantly shaped by and are (re-)shaping our status quo, ways of thinking, and visions.

Culture is not fixed but constantly shifts through the intersecting influences of politics, economy, populations, migrations, and even environment.

The study of culture is empirical as well as theoretical, and most importantly, it is an interdisciplinary endeavor. The set of questions, analyses, and evaluations it involves itself in interacts with other fields of study such as the study of economy and politics; social studies, ethnic studies; cultural anthropology and media studies; identity, gender, sexuality, class, and ideology studies.

What is a Forum?

A gathering place for exchanges of ideas and views. It is also the agora (Greek), a proto-site of democracy.


Event photographs courtesy of Carlina Chen.

Photograph of Dr. Park and speaker conversing with audience at the AGCSF event.
Friday, July 12, 2019 - 12:15pm
Lab Member: 
Soyang Park

Inaugural Event of Asia-Global-Cultural-Studies-Forum (AGCSF )

Photograph of Dr. Park and presenter conversing at the AGCSF event.
Friday, July 12, 2019 - 11:45am

The inaugural event of the Asia-Global-Cultural-Studies-Forum (AGCSF) facilitated by Dr. Soyang Park (LASSIS) was successfully held on May 17, 1-6 pm in room 115 at 205 Richmond St. West.

11 speakers presented their research, creations, community activities/entrepreneurship on and dealing with diverse topics concerning the issues in Asia and the Asia-Global. The presenters and discussants consisted of OCAD U student-researchers from both undergrad and graduate programs (Art, Design, CADN, VCS, CRCP, CCP, and IAMD), OCAD U faculty members, graduate researchers from other institutions (UofT), and a professional (the founder of Tea Base).

Topics dealt with at this event included: the art, creation, media, and strategies concerning, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, (techno-)orientalism, memory/trauma, multi-directionality, race and gender, the matriarchic history of Vietnam, the colonial history of Philippines, K-pop and Korean pop cultural industry, the intersection of racial and sexual oppression in Canada, the visual strategies of the artists working in-between cultures, etc. 

The interdisciplinarity (art, research, and media) of the presentations and syncretic organization (intersecting all tiers of presenters such as professors, students, and professionals), endorsed as the key ethos and organizational model of AGCSF, were attested to be conductive and refreshing throughout this inaugural event. The forum really came alive within about an hour or so, as the participants became more relaxed and more engaged in the presentations and discussions. Different views were presented, engaging the participants in truly lively discussions. With Dr. Park in the role of active mediator of the multilateral conversations and learnings, the forum successfully made the event a participatory occasion for intellectual conversations about the presented topics and researches wherein the contributions by the presenters, the discussants, and the audience were all equally valued.

The event’s organizer received many heartfelt feedback from the students and faculties (including those from the LAS Office) who participated and witnessed the event. Many appreciated how the forum was so lively and inclusive. Also, they shared that they are looking forward to the next event and that they wish for this forum to continue and grow further in the future. Many attendees have expressed their interest in presenting their works at future events.

Thanks to a few engaging and extended presentations and discussions, the event went over the intended 5 hours and continued until 7 pm. Despite the extension, 35-40 people (5-6 coming in and out) stayed until the end with such enthusiasm and keen interest.

The organizer wishes to extend thanks to all participants in the forum, especially Yilong Liu (Louie) and Richard Luong for their hard work as the coordinators, and to the Research Office and the LASSIS department for extending the funding and supporting the event. The organizer also thanks Professors Ian Clark, Marie-Josée Therrien, and Ashok Mathur who came to witness and participate in the event. Special thanks also go to Kirstyn Moore for assisting the coordinators with circulating the event announcements to the wider OCAD U community and to Carlina Chen for her support as well. 

For more information on AGCSF and its future events, please visit the website:


Event photographs courtesy of Carlina Chen.

Dr. Alexis Morris Interviewed on CBC Spark

Assistant Professor Alexis Morris, director of ACE Lab and Canada Research Chair in the Internet of Things, has been featured in an interview with CBC Radio's Spark, hosted by Nora Young. The segement, titled "What living in a hyper-connected city means for human beings", explored the critical nature of context awareness when designing smart cities.

Listen to the full segment here:


Research Funding Panel Discussion

Photo of panelists Ryan Rice, Ashok Mathur and Dori Tunstall speaking.

On Wednesday, April 24th the Office of Research and Innovation hosted an eye-opening discussion on research and arts funding applications and reviews, featuring panelists who have served as reviewers in the past. Topics included: keys to a successful funding application, navigating reviewers’ expectations, experiences with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and funding for the Arts.

Thank you to the panelists - Dr. Dori Tunstall, Dean, Faculty of Design; Dr. Ashok Mathur, Dean, Graduate Studies; and Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and SIS, - for sharing their wisdom and experience! 



Sesesiw (Yellow Legs) poster
Serious Play Poster
Monday, April 15, 2019 - 2:45pm

The Office of Research & Innovation is excited to announce the launch of the second iteration of the "THIS IS RESEARCH" campaign.

OCAD University faculty are engaged in inclusive, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research that audaciously and responsibly pursues the questions of our time.

THIS IS RESEARCH features posters and media showcasing the many forms of research at the University. You can see the first set of these on the many screens across campus and our website.

In concert with provincial efforts being coordinated through the Council of Ontario Universities, “THIS IS RESEARCH” will help to raise the profile of research performed across faculties by the creative professionals, scholars, and strategic thinkers that make up our research community.

If you would like your research to be profiled through “THIS IS RESEARCH” please contact our office at

See the first announcement here:

The Entangled Gaze... poster
Understanding Environments Poster
Sitting in a circle with Tahltan Ancestors on Tahltan Land poster
Enhancing Environments Poster

New Resources from the OCADU Research Ethics Board (REB)

Please see below for new resources available from the OCADU Research Ethics Board:

To make suggestions on other resources you would like the OCADU REB to develop, email


Research Achievements

Congratulations to the following faculty on their recent research achievements:

  • Dr. Gabrielle Moser and co-applicant Carol Payne (Carleton University) have been awarded a SSHRC Connections Grant titled "Reparative Frames: Visual Culture After Reconciliation."
  • Dr. Gerald McMaster has been awarded a SSHRC Connections Grant titled "Arctic/Amazon."
  • Dr. Michele Mastroeni and co-applicant Francisco Alvarez have been awarded a SSHRC Connections Grant titled "Anticipating Futures: Forming, Reforming, and Transforming."

 For the Winter 2019 competition for the OCAD University Research Seed Grant, the Research Office received 23 applications of which a total of six were awarded. Congratulations to the successful applicants:

  • Dr. Gabrielle Moser
  • Kate Hartman
  • Veronika Szkudlarek
  • Dr. Lynne Milgram
  • Dr. Suzanne Morrissette
  • Dr. Marta Wnuczko (with co-PI Dr. Peter Coppin)

OCAD U Celebrates Research with CRAM

CRAM logo. Colourful text on a black background.

On April 5th 2019, OCAD U participated in CRAM, a city-wide free event that brought Toronto's universities together to share their research with the public. Jointly hosted by OCAD University, the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University, CRAM featured 30+ interactive and entertaining events across the GTA. Visitors to OCAD had the opportunity to enjoy the following sessions:

  • Hey Autonomous Vehicle – Can You Tell Me About Yourself? – Assistant Professor Sowmya Somanath
  • Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Reversing Our Throwaway Culture – Assistant Professor Michele Mastroeni
  • Will Our Future Be A+? Avatars, Agents and Adaptive A.I. Assistants – Assistant Professor Alexis Morris
  • Communities on the Move: Finding a Sense of Place in the City – Assistant Professor James Miller
  • Can I Feel What You See? Multi-Sensory Design – Associate Professor Peter Coppin

Read James Miller's interview about CRAM with Philip Lee-Shanok of the CBC here:

As a result of his successful CRAM talk, Michele Mastroeni was invited to appear on Breakfast Television (CityTv). See the interview here:

Visit for CRAM's official event recap.


New models of research space sharing

A message from Dr. Robert Luke, VPRI:

With spring comes news of recent grant recipients, and as you have seen elsewhere in this newsletter we are excited to be announcing recipients of funding for research at the University. Congratulations to all who have been successful! Congratulations also to those who applied for research funding. Applying is important as through this process we get to learn more about projects and to further develop them through iteration.

The University has over the past decade+ built considerable research infrastructure, from faculty pursuing research through to centres, studios and labs that house specific projects and programs of work. With the growth in University research over the past several years we now face constraints on research space. This is in fact a good problem to have, as it means there are more faculty conducting research and creative practice and being successful at obtaining external funding to support these activities.

Over the past two years the Research Office, in concert with the Research Committee, has conducted the Research Space Allocation Project, including numerous consultations with the OCAD University community on how we can best manage access to research space for a growing number of research-active faculty. This effort has resulted in new models of research space sharing.

Effective 1 June 2019 all research space at the University will be considered shared use. A regular process will be used to allocate research space as per the criteria developed through the Research Space consultations. The form that will be used for application for research space as well as the Assessment Criteria were both included in the memo sent to all University faculty on 16 April 2019.

New research space allocation will include dedicated space for Research, Equity, Decolonization, Diversity & Inclusion. This project is working to create a more supportive and inclusive research environment for all equity-seeking groups, including Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, people with disabilities, women, the neurodiverse, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, and 2-Spirit. The project is jointly led by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Sustainability Initiatives and the Research Office, and is building  on the work to date by the Presidential Task Force on the Under-Representation of Racialized and Indigenous Faculty and Staff. Stay tuned for further updates.

I wish you all a happy spring, now that the sun shines warmer.


Update on Post Colonial Hot-Ones

Photograph of participants in Post Colonial Hot-Ones event, seated on rugs and engaging in discussion
Photograph of participants in Post Colonial Hot-Ones event, helping themselves to a meal
Featured participant Ryan Rice speaking at Post Colonial Hot-Ones

On Thursday, February 28th Assistant Professor Immony Mèn and Public Visualization Lab hosted the first installment in a new panel series, Post Colonial Hot-Ones. There was a great turnout for the event, which fostered discussions that centered around communal knowledge sharing, tools for resistance, intergenerational healing methods, mobilization plans for marginalized voices, and recipes for dishes/sauces. Featured participants for this installment included Ryan Rice, Camille Turner, Casey Mecija, Patricio Dávila, and Immony Mén. Stay tuned for details about the next installment of Post Colonial Hot-Ones!