First of its kind in Canada, the Aboriginal Visual Culture Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts will begin enrolment in September 2013
(Toronto—October 11, 2012) Students considering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree have a new option available to them through OCAD University in Toronto. With enrolment starting in fall 2013, the institution now offers an interdisciplinary degree in Aboriginal Visual Culture that combines contemporary Aboriginal aesthetic and social studies with a comprehensive studio-based art education.
"Our new degree program is a major milestone among a series of initiatives we have developed over the last several years that address Indigenous culture and context at OCAD U," said Bonnie Devine, Founding Chair of OCAD U's Aboriginal Visual Culture Program. "Our work has involved creating an Aboriginal student centre and support services, as well as building our curriculum, including a minor."
Combining practice-specific and interdisciplinary studio courses in the Faculty of Art and the Faculty of Design with concentrations from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences in the visual, cultural, social and political history of Aboriginal peoples, the curriculum is designed to develop students' critical, creative and practical expertise in Aboriginal cultural and artistic practices.
"This program is the first of its kind in Canada, especially when considering Aboriginal culture within the spectrum of art and design education," said Kathryn Shailer, Dean of OCAD U's Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies. "It gives students with an interest in Aboriginal issues and practices a degree program that allows them to develop their skills and knowledge, and will graduate students who will be thoughtful contributors to these concerns.
Also new next fall will be an Augmented OCAD U First Year Program for Aboriginal Students, delivered at Laurentian University in Sudbury. "Our Aboriginal Education Council set a priority for us to develop a program where students from Ontario's north can attend a full first-year program at a location roughly midway between their home communities and OCAD U's main campus in Toronto," said Devine. "Our goal is to create an environment for success, and this program will help with the challenges students experience in transitioning to the south. We're very pleased to be working with Laurentian, an institution with a well-developed support system for Aboriginal students that is committed to their success."
The new BFA in Aboriginal Visual Culture will be celebrated with a Symposium and Pow Wow on Tuesday, October 16 at OCAD University. All are invited to these free events. The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and the Pow Wow takes place in the afternoon, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Prospective students can apply for the Aboriginal Visual Culture BFA program now through the Ontario Universities Application Centre for the 2013/14 academic year.
Augmented OCAD U First Year Program for Aboriginal Students at Laurentian University
In an effort to improve access to art and design education for students at home in north-central and northern Ontario, OCAD University has collaborated with Laurentian University to create a full first-year program that will be delivered on the Laurentian University campus in Sudbury.
Although the students recruited for and admitted to this transition program will be OCAD U students, Laurentian students will also have access to the studio and visual culture that OCAD U will deliver in Sudbury. OCAD U students will have access to Laurentian's two-semester transition course for Aboriginal students.
Overall, the Augmented First-Year Program will assist Aboriginal students in negotiating university-level studies and ease the transition from small northern Ontario communities to urban living, first in a midsize and then in a major urban centre.
About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University is Canada's "university of imagination." The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
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Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 x327 (mobile x1327)