Lunch & Learn | Social Media for Artists & Designers

Text featuring event details with illustration of circles framing food in pink, green and light pink
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Lunch & Learn | Social Media for Artists & Designers
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
12:00 –2:00 PM
Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, Level 3, 115 McCaul St.
RSVP to Secure a Spot

Join the CEAD for a casual lunch and learn session with artists Kendra Yee, Mohammad Rezaei, and Jason Zante as they discuss how artists and designers can leverage their social media presence to make connections, cultivate an audience and generate opportunities for their work.

Venue & Address: 
Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers Level 3, 115 McCaul St, OCAD University

Visualizing Emergence

A project currently in development, Visualizing Emergence seeks to explore and visualize phenomena of emergence in data representing technologically mediated human communication and exchange within a techno-social complex adaptive system (CAS).

Using textual analysis and other data as substrate, research will focus on data from CIV-DDD partners, IBM Cognos and public sources, possibly including Twitter and other accessible APIs. In time we expect to aggregate data from additional sources. Leveraging senior researcher and student contributions from OCAD and York Universities, the project will explore and exploit a synthesis of scientific, artistic and aesthetic techniques, with software from partners including IBM / Cognos.

Project challenges include:

  • Finding the right data set; evaluating data quality
  • Representing, managing multi-variant data
  • Models, metaphors; legibility, navigation

Visualizing Emergence will examine model-based scientific visualization of complex data sets as well as emergent systems, data mining techniques and visualization. We will test, review and select the most appropriate software approach for developing the data models and generating dynamic results. The work will also deliver findings tied to the following CIV-DDD project aims: appropriateness of 2D or 3D visualizations, visualization aesthetics, and use of specific vs. generic tools.


For more information, please visit .

Visualizing Emergence is supported by NCE-GRAND. This project is funded in part by the Centre for Information Visualization and Data Driven Design established by the Ontario Research Fund (ORF).


Photograph of sLab members Greg Van Alstyne and Trevor Haldenby working at a table
NCE logo
Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:45am
Lab Member: 
Greg Van alstyne

Imperial Measures: An Exhibition of Networked Art

Saturday, April 5, 2008 - 4:00pm to 9:00pm

Imperial Measures is social network experiment created by students of Ryerson University and OCAD. With twenty-four exhibition sites and a wireless network, people will be able to communicate, touch and even play with those in other locations. The network creates both a path for data and a circuit within which people travel from one place to the next to connect the dots, determine outcomes, and even physically transport and reassemble the pieces of a geo-political puzzle.

As New Media student Jeff Graham puts it, "the people are what make the art." The event is entirely participatory, the audience and participants play just as much of an important role as the artworks themselves he says. The inputs, outputs, relationships, and experiences are completely unique to each participant, which makes for an incredibly exciting and unpredictable experience. Fellow student Diana Brucculieri adds, "people will be able to see how the students of today will be changing the world of tomorrow through technology."

If it sounds like you might get lost in transit, the students want to assure you that the journey will be just as much fun as the destination.

Takes place at OCAD, Ryerson University School of Image Arts, 122 Bond Street, and Ryerson University, Rogers Communication Centre at 80 Gould St.

Venue & Address: 
Integrated Media Wing, Level 3 (Grange Wing) 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario


Three related factors appear to be relevant in allowing an understanding of online behaviors: attention (the time that individuals and groups expend); influence (the relationships between ideas, products and behaviors) and affect (the emotions and sentiments that are expressed in relation to ideas and products). The extraction of accurate data, then the analysis of these factors in online behavior, and the charting and representation of relationships between these factors poses a significant challenge. For one thing, these factors need to be related to specific content. Data analytics and visualization tools are needed to represent each factor and to chart these relationships. There is very little research to date that works across these fields. This large-scale project seeks to shed light on each element of online social media practice and to then draw relationships between these elements.

Research Description:

People perform topic-based content exploration on large-scale social media systems. Such sites continue to expand rapidly. For example, Twitter continues to grow around the globe at a record pace. Just a year ago, they delivered 65 million Tweets a day. Today, they generate over 200 million Tweets per day. One year ago, there were approximately 150,000 registered Twitter apps. Now, there are more than one million. Facebook has more than 800 million active users of which more than 50% log on to Facebook in any given day where the average user has 130 friends. Seventy-seven percent of active Internet users read blogs. At the same time specialized media companies, brand development agencies and brands have developed social media applications that allow their users to communicate and at the same time, allow them to track the resulting data.

Editorial and business leaders see value in understanding the emotional tone, influences, attention span and diversity of their various sections and offerings, contributors and readers. Attention and influence, for example, currently directly impact advertising dollar interest in an article. In going digital, media publications have added commentary in the form of opinion blogs by its core of writers as well as ample opportunity for readers to vote and comment. Currently a majority of online media allow readers to express their thoughts and opinions on content through social media commentary. This information can impact advertising sales, decisions on style and relatedness of writers and design and even the kind of influence that different sections, authors or columns may have. Editorial leadership is eager to better manage the means for reader commentary. At the same time it is valuable to understand any underlying patterns that suggest reasons for specific emotional tone. Discovering sentiments, patterns and relationships embedded in articles as well as comments is important for tracking the newspaper’s role in shaping public opinion on contemporary issues and the ways that readers interact with these opinions. It can help media analysts better understand the impact of sentiments on news events. What is more, new tools, on multiple platforms can be developed for media users that allow them to shape their emotional content and respond to others, and chart the influence of their ideas, media patterns and behaviors.

For almost a decade contemporary brands have relied on a growing direct dialogue with their consumer base through social media, and gamification (direct play as a means of polling). These relationships engender loyalty and provide a rich source of data to understand and predict consumer behaviors. Consumer opinion that is expressed in response to new offerings, system breakdowns, or customer service is of critical importance in a world where viral trends erupt quickly with significant impact. Events and opinion outside of an immediate enterprise can have a direct impact in a social media era. Marketing and advertising companies analyze consumer attitudes and relationships to brands for trend analysis and product development. The technology of “predictive analytics” is being fine-tuned by digital media and ICT companies with new offerings such as inferSYTEMS. While the technology of monitoring is becoming more sophisticated, the underlying assumptions of analysis have not changed dramatically for many years, continuing to rely on twentieth century psychology structures. Brands and media analysis companies seek to bring together social media data with data that tracks consumer behaviors – in specific their attention to media, to products and services and their consumption patterns.

In some areas, e.g., healthcare, free-form texts are the most common form of valuable data. These data range from doctor’s notes, descriptions of patient histories, to healthcare-related messages posted by patients on social media such as blogs, bulletin boards, and discussion forums. Such narrative text data contain the most valuable information for physicians to use in their practice and for public and government agencies to make their healthcare-related decisions. Recently, the New York Times reported on a study by MIT researchers, which showed that companies included in their study that adopted data-driven decision-making achieved 5-6% higher productivity than those that did not.

Since data are continuously generated every day in large volumes, the sheer amount of data is too overwhelming for humans to read and analyze manually. Automatic text analysis tools are in great need to discover the hidden information trapped inside the free-form texts. For example, a tool that identifies and analyzes the healthcare-related posts in social media can detect public opinions, activities and preferences in healthcare-related issues.

Understanding consumer opinion of reliability and service quality across an industry like banking can have an impact on a specific company’s quality of service as well as enabling an entire industry to improve. Natural language analysis, data mining and information retrieval are key techniques that can be used to build such text analysis tools.

It is difficult to discern meaning by extracting information piece by piece. We hypothesize that taking a data-driven design approach to visualizing content would make the aggregate meanings more apparent. The advantage of working with this partially processed data is that issues of confidentiality do not arise since any confidential or client information has been abstracted from the media. A second advantage is that research can also focus on visualization and design issues rather than duplicate commercially available linguistic parsing capabilities.

Colourful lines from design piece
Colourful lines from design piece
Colourful lines from design piece
Monday, September 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Sara Diamond

Digital Image Slam brings powerful pictures to the Great Hall

Two images of a woman on a pink background
Group of people in hats and colourful clothes
Picture of troll dolls lined up on a shelf
Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 4:00am

It was an evening filled with humour, inspiration and personal experiences. Members of the OCAD University community and the general public were invited to share their pictures and talk about them at an un-curated digital image slam on June 15. 

#trending: Mobilizing Art and Culture

Saturday, March 12, 2016 - 1:00pm to Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 3:00am

OCADU Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories Conference 2016

Conference Date: Saturday, March 12, 2016

The influence of trends is undeniable in contemporary culture, but rarely are its implications fully fleshed out. How can a trend mobilize or call others to action? As scholarship in contemporary art, design and new media becomes increasingly focused on networked lives, the digital platforms through which we communicate, interact, and share information demand academic and social inquiry.

Our keynote speaker for #trending: mobilizing art and culture, is Janaya Khan. Janaya is a black, queer, gender-nonconforming activist, staunch Afrofuturist, social-justice educator and boxer based in Toronto.

Please visit for further information, or to register.

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul Street
#trending: mobilizing art & culture poster

How to make a viral video

Dave Keystone, an OCAD U Industrial Design program alumni, has a hit viral video! He’s created a YouTube channel, Canoodle Content, and a series of videos featuring kids offering dating advice.  His video about whether it’s better to call or text has almost 200,000 views and was covered by media all over the world.

“We created this series because we find that adults tend to over-complicate things​, while​ kids ​think in much simpler terms,” says Dave about the videos, directed by co-creator Nolan Sarner. “Kids give you the straight goods, whether you like it or not!”

“While creating the series, we spent a lot of time researching YouTube and ​what makes something go ​"viral​"​. ​ It is our belief that there needs to be an emotional tug - you have to make people feel something other than a quick laugh,” says Dave. “There are a lot of​ online​ videos involving kids, but most of them are aiming for ​just ​funny.​ We don’t prompt them and we don’t feed them lines. We simply put a question in front of them and wait for the magic to happen.”

“We uploaded it to YouTube and just used our personal social media channels to promote it, and it just hit!” 

Embed Video: 

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

What artists and designers need to know about social media

Rachel Clarke, a fouth-year Industrial Design student at OCAD U, talks about what artists and designers need to know about social media.

Rachel Clarke
Embed Video: 

In Fragments: New Media Works by Lindsay Fisher

Photograph of a human eye looking to the left
Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 4:00am to Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 4:00am


In Fragments is a collection of new media works by Lindsay Fisher that break down and critique perceptions of the deviant body. Through youTube videos and digital self portraiture, Lindsay utilizes the style of animated GIFs to investigate a visual culture of “spectacle” in the form of feminism, freakery and the everyday act of performing ourselves.

Opening reception:
Friday, October 24, 6 p.m.
Accessible, free, and open to the public

This exhibition is part of the University Arts Association of Canada on disability arts and culture; and the Common Pulse Festival and Symposium funded through SSHRC. This event is co-sponsored by Tangled Art + Disability.

Venue & Address: 
Open Gallery 49 McCaul St.