Sarah McLean Knapp

I am a theorist and historian in the areas of Graphic Design, Illustration and visual culture with a keen interest in the developments of Pedagogy within art and design education. My research interests include the examination and development of contextual studies for practice based visual communication students as well as the potential role of praxis in liberal arts education. I am also actively engaged in research into popular culture for children specifically in relation to branding, graphic design and illustration.

"True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada" Exhibition

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 8:00pm

Come celebrate the end of exams by joining OCADU professor Dr. Michael Prokopow. He will give VCS students a tour of his brilliant exhibition, "True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada," at the Gardiner Museum on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 3:00pm.

All in the FoLASSIS community are welcome!

Come out and reignite your love of art history by looking at amazing objects of art and design in the flesh!

Please RSVP to Amy Jung, Program Assistant, FoLASSIS,

Venue & Address: 
Gardiner Museum, 111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C7
Poster of the "True Nordic: How Scandinavia influenced design in Canada" exhibition

Canadian Visual Culture? (Vol. 1)

CVC Panel
Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 11:30pm

Today many believe that globalization is making the nation-state obsolete. But is it? Michael Adams’ research suggests that Canadian culture is distinct from that of the USA in its values. Could we assume then that different values have given rise to a different visual culture? If Canada has a distinct culture, what typifies it? How would we study it?

Michael Adams is the founder of Environica Research, a polling firm, and the best-selling author of several books, including Sex in the Snow and Fire and Ice.

Yam Lau is Assistant Professor of painting at York University. He has written criticism, curated exhibitions, and has recently exhibited His work is represented by the Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto and Yuanfen New Media Art Space in Beijing.

Mark Cheetham is Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto. He has curated two exhibitions, and is the author of Abstract Art Against Autonomy, Remembering Postmodernism: Trends in Recent Canadian Art, as well as a book on Alex Colville.

Lisa Rochon is the architecture critic for The Globe and Mail, and author of Up North: Where Canada’s Architecture Meets the Land.

Panel Moderator: Andy Patton, artist, curator, OCAD faculty member.

Venue & Address: 
Rm 7104, OCAD Graduate Gallery 205 Richmond St West, Toronto, Ontario

GradEx 101 draws 40,000 visitors

Group shot of medal winning students with Dr. Sara Diamond
Monday, May 9, 2016 - 5:30pm

From opening night on Wednesday, May 4 to closing on Sunday, OCAD University was teeming with excited visitors for its annual graduate exhibition, GradEx 101.

More than 900 students exhibited their thesis projects throughout the campus. On Wednesday night, special guests, medal winners and their friends and families joined faculty members for Celebrate Excellence, a private party where the names of medalists were announced.

In her speech, Laura Thipphawong, the first medal winner in the Visual and Critical Studies program, reflected on how the support and inspiration of faculty members and her peers influenced her. “Not only have they encouraged me in getting a head start in my career, being immersed in an environment centred on the things I truly care about has made a world of difference.”

“Tonight is an evening of great pride, where we give back to the city of Toronto through the presentation of the talent who will contribute to social, economic and cultural transformation here and far beyond,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, president and vice-chancellor.

High school students came by the busload on Thursday and Friday, enjoying the wide range of art, design and digital media projects, some asking about the admissions process.

On Saturday, over 200 alumni, from the Class of 1952 to the Class of 2015, came back to campus to enjoy VIP treatment in the Alumni Lounge.

OCAD University’s annual Graduate Exhibition is generously supported by Presenting Sponsor Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Delaney Capital Management, First Capital Realty, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, CP24 (Media Supporter), NOW (Media Supporter) and Steam Whistle Brewing (Event Supporter).





Bake Sale for BA in Visual and Critical Studies!

Paoster with a three-tier cake stand and treats
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Come to our bake sale to support the NEW BA program in Visual and Critical Studies at OCAD U!

TIME: 1-4pm

Delicious treats available - with vegan and gluten-free options!

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul - lobby, main floor
depends on the baked good!

OCAD U to offer new Honours BA in Visual and Critical Studies

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 4:00am

(Toronto—September 26, 2013) For the first time in OCAD University’s 137-year history, students who love art and design and want the opportunity to study its history and context in depth will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Visual and Critical Studies with a specialization in art history.

The BA in Visual and Critical Studies offers students an exceptional educational experience through the study of art history in the creative and dynamic environment of Canada’s premier art and design university; the opportunity to pursue Liberal Arts and Sciences and Interdisciplinary minors; and access to designated studio courses and minors.
“This is an exciting moment in the history of our institution,” said OCAD University President, Dr. Sara Diamond. “The new BA recognizes the academic depth of our students and provides even more pathways for those wishing to come to OCAD University to pursue careers in digital and cultural industries such as gallery and exhibition management, arts and entertainment promotion, curating, publishing and arts management.”

OCAD U’s unique BA program’s academic specialization and breadth — with more than 90 visual culture courses and over 80 breadth courses in English, Humanities, Social Sciences and Science/Technology to choose from — also prepares students for post-graduate study in art history and related fields.

The emphasis of the BA in Visual and Critical Studies is on the expanded field of modern and contemporary art history, which includes the theory and history of design, photography, architecture, performance and new media as well as painting and sculpture. This mix provides an innovative approach to the discipline.

Core program faculty are recognized scholars in the fields of art, design and new media art histories, and are professionally active in the fields of curating and publishing. The range of their scholarly expertise in Asian, Latin American, African, Islamic, Indigenous, Canadian, Medieval, Renaissance and modern European visual culture ensures that the study of art history at OCAD University is genuinely global in scope.

Students can apply for direct entry into first-year beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. Advanced entry is also available for second-year transfer students from other OCAD U programs or other universities.

Detailed information on the admissions process and requirements can be found on the OCAD University website.

Students are also welcome to learn more about the new BA by speaking to OCAD University representatives at the Ontario Universities’ Fair this weekend, September 27 to 29, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

This program is offered under the written consent of the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities for the period from 26 June 2012 to 25 June 2017.  Prospective students are responsible for satisfying themselves that the program and the degree will be appropriate to their needs (e.g., acceptable to potential employers, professional licensing bodies or other educational institutions). 

About OCAD University
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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For more information please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, OCAD U Marketing & Communications
416 977 6000 x327
mobile: x1327