OCADUXYSM [Regent Park]: Elevation Through Creative Collaboration

The Graduate Gallery is featuring our industrial design students' participatory design efforts with a group of immigrant women sewers in Regent Park.

Survivor Sewing Circle

Survivor Sewing Circle @ the HWC
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Quilting has myriad meanings, and has long been understood and used as a safe gathering space, a community-based project, for personal expression and narrative, and for its rich history. In contemporary culture, quilting has been widely used as an activist’s tool – the NAMES quilt, spread on the Washington Mall in October of 1987, made public the many names of those lost to AIDS. More recently, the Monument Quilt is an ‘on-going collection of stories from survivors [of sexual assault]… to create and demand public space to heal.’ Our Survivor Stitch-In remembers the long history of quilting to create a supportive safe space at OCAD U for survivors of sexual assault to come together, create, support each other and raise awareness that the stories of survivors are many, varied and important.

Venue & Address: 
the Health & Wellness Centre
free. supplies and snacks provided.

Survivor Stitch-In

Monument Quilt sample
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - 5:00pm to 11:00pm

Survivor Stitch-In is a free supportive and activist event for the OCADU community. The Survivor Stitch-In draws on the long history of quilting, and specifically on the work of the Monument Quilt, based in Maryland USA, and provides gathering space for survivors of sexual violence and their allies to create quilt squares that will be sewn together into a larger quilt and displayed at OCADU. 


Wednesday November 16 - Friday November 18 from 12-6pm daily

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 1pm - quilting square instruction session

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 2-4pm - Health & Wellness Centre supportive staff present


Survivor Stitch-in is generously supported by: ODESI and the OCADU Material Art & Design program

Organized by the Health & Wellness Center and the Student Gallery


Venue & Address: 
Student Gallery, 52 McCaul St.
Monument Quilt sample

Industrial Design students help make Regent Park Proud

Group of six students and faculty in front of display
Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 4:00am

Messenger bags, placemats, hats and totes were on display at Regent Park Proud, an exhibition at the Student Gallery on June 17 and 18. The exhibition is the outcome of the second year Industrial Design class Identity Materialized, led by assistant professor Ranee Lee. Students in the class collaborated with members of a women’s sewing collective in Regent Park to develop prototypes for soft goods that could be fabricated by the collective and sold within and outside the community.  

Identity Materialized introduces students to the field of design for social change and engages them in experiential learning. OCAD University students had the opportunity to be immersed in the diverse backgrounds of the women from the Regent Park community and work with the Yonge Street Mission on a project that has the potential to reduce poverty on a local scale.

Lee and her students thank Zev Farber, manager of the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, and OCAD U’s social innovation hub, Impact Collective, for their support with the ambitious project.

To learn more about the students and the project read this story in the Toronto Star.




Regent Park Proud

Friday, June 17, 2016 - 2:00pm to Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 8:00pm

A relationship made in Toronto —
OCAD University Industrial Design, YSM, and
the Regent Park Women’s Sewing Collective.
Design as a strategy. Sewing as a skill.
Profits are made towards the Collective.

Venue & Address: 
Student Gallery 52 McCaul Street
Regent Park Proud poster with event info

Industrial Design students designing for social change

Industrial Design students with sewing collective members
Sewing collective member shows fabric to students
Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 5:00am

The students have the concepts, the sewing collective has the skills. Second-year Industrial Design students are teaming up with a sewing collective run by women in Regent Park to create marketable products and a potential source of added income for the community.

The collaboration came about when assistant professor Ranee Lee met with Angela Draskovic, president of the Yonge Street Mission, to discuss how design for social innovation can fit in with Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Lee learned about projects going on in Regent Park and found a way to integrate the sewing collective into her existing curriculum for the design course Identity Materialized, giving students an opportunity to engage in experiential learning.

Members of the collective welcomed the students to their workspace at a Gerrard St. community centre in November. They started the collective as a way to get together with other women and sew clothing and household goods.

The students are now taking what they learned from members of the collective and applying it to a soft goods project in class. This involves designing products that can be produced locally by the collective, developing a brand identity that reflects the revitalized Regent Park, conducting market research and creating advertising for the collective and its products.

In December, members of the collective will come to OCAD University to hear the students present their design ideas and, in turn, to give their own feedback and input.