news & events

Decolonizing Design Book Launch

Thursday, February 16, 2023, 6:30 pM to 8:00 pM EST

 February 6th, 2023

How does contemporary design reflect colonial influences? What needs to change, and how can design institutions and individual designers make that change happen? 

From the excesses of world expositions to myths of better living through technology, modernist design, in its European-based guises, has excluded and oppressed the very people whose lands and lives it reshaped. In celebration of the release of her landmark book, Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook, Elizabeth “Dori” Tunstall, sits with Deepali Dewan, Dan Mishara Senior Curator of Global South Asia, to explore how we can transform the way we imagine and remake the world, replacing pain and repression with equity, inclusion, and diversity. In short, she shows us how to realize the infinite possibilities that decolonized design represents. 

Copies of Tunstall’s new book, Decolonizing Design: A Cultural Justice Guidebook will be available for purchase and signing at the program.

Scarborough Charter Logo Design Opportunity

Submission Deadline February 24th, 2023 at 11:59PM

 February 6th, 2023

The Scarborough Charter Executive has launched an open call for student artists and designers at signatory institutions, OCAD University being one, to participate in a logo design opportunity that reflects the principles, commitments, and objectives of the Scarborough Charter in its goal of Black Flourishing within Canadian higher education and communities. The final logo will be used in both print and digital formats, including print materials, event promotion, social media sites and the Scarborough Charter website.

Individual students or student design teams currently enrolled at a Scarborough Charter signatory institution are eligible to send submissions.

Dreams in Vantablack

February 1 to 28, 2023, on the digital screens  

 February 6th, 2023

Dreams in Vantablack is an animated poetry series featuring the work of Black youth, revealing their truths through evocative poetry with rotoscope and 2D animation styles. Watch the whole series on CBC Gem.

Written & Directed: Ian Keteku 

2023 Yonge-Dundas Square Black History Month Digital Exhibition


 February 6th, 2023

We’re excited to announce Sofia Reyes, Pixel Heller, and Steve Williams Jnr as the recipients of the Black History Month Digital Exhibition Curator Career Launcher! Their work will premiere at Yonge-Dundas Square for the month of February 2023.

*TheExhibition will be temporarily paused from Feb 15-19 to accommodate a Yonge andDundas event.

Sofia Reyes is an Afro-Latinx Panamanian illustrator, comic artist, and designer, currently residing in Toronto, ON. Their work focuses on the intersectionality of identity as described through fantastical story-telling and colour.

Pixel Heller
This is my symbol. I’m not an artist. I’m an explorer. Art just happens to be my medium for discovery and empowerment. When I created these masks in search of my identity, I found my home, interwoven within Caribbean roots. These masks represent protection for my culture and my people.

21-year-old Steve Williams Jnr, is a Ghanaian creative who has managed to tap into the fullness of his artistry. The intentionality behind his creative expression has made him a storyteller, telling beautiful stories from his own experiences and the stories of others.

ALMEDA: Up to the Sky Exhibition

Black History Month 2023 exhibition

 February 1st, 2023

The Almeda Collective (The Black Student Association) has developed programming for this year’s Black History Month; This exhibition features artwork from the perspective/experiences of the Black student body at OCAD University. With strong influence from the “Black is Beautiful” movement of the 80s.

This exhibition features artwork from the perspective/experiences of the Black student body at OCAD University. With strong influence from the “Black is Beautiful” movement of the 80s; our exhibition focuses on the beauty of individual truths. Our truth is what we say to ourselves when our social mask is off. How does the world perceive our physical attributes such as hair, culture and how do we internalize those experiences?

February 1st-10th, The Great Hall


Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa

 May 18th, 2021

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Nalo Hopkinson is an internationally acclaimed science fiction author whose writing highlights themes of Afro-Caribbean culture and Caribbean folklore and addresses issues of race, class, feminism and sexuality. She is currently a full professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. in 2021, she will join the faculty at the School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

In June 2021, Hopkinson will receive the prestigious 37th Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, a lifetime achievement award given annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She is the award’s youngest recipient, as well as the first woman of African descent and first Caribbean author to receive this award.

Hopkinson lived in Toronto from 1977 to 2011, spending several years as a grants officer with the Toronto Arts Council. Her first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring (1998) is set in a near-future Toronto threatened by economic collapse and social upheaval. The work received the Locus Award for Best First Novel. In the same year, Hopkinson received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer (previously known as the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer) in 1999. She has since garnered numerous awards and accolades for five additional novels, short stories, and edited collections and anthologies.


Sydney Gittens winner of the OCAD U Medal for Advertising

Sydney Gittens is an award winning art director and designer passionate about diversity and inclusion, collaboration, and big ideas. She and her creative partner Leo Ding are based in Toronto.

“My work explores diversity and inclusivity in industry and aims to amplify BIPOC voices”

Dainesha Nugent-Palache WINS AWARD


Congratulates Dainesha Nugent-Palache on winning the New Generation Photography Award and celebrates her talent. She is one of the three recipients of the 2021 award, presented by the National Gallery of Canada and Scotiabank.

Why gender-inclusive design? Product and service design for everyone – GA:P Events Series

 April 22nd, 2021

Why Inclusive Design? Product and Service Design for Everyone

How can the emerging field of Gender Analytics help leaders identify risks and uncover new opportunities in product and service design? Join this exciting panel for a discussion with business leaders on how gender analysis helped them to find new markets, innovate, improve performance, and grow their businesses.

Scratching the Surface Podcast 

Guest: Dr. Dori Tunstall

April 14, 2021

Dori Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual, and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design. She’s currently the Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design and previously taught at Swinburne University and the University of Illinois Chicago. In this episode, Jarrett and Dori talk about the intersection of design and anthropology, finding new forms for sharing knowledge, and the work of decolonizing design programs.


State of Black Design, April 9-10

Angela Bains will be speaking at this international two-day virtual conference. The conference looks into the intersections of race and practice. In addition, provide networking, development, and career opportunities for students and young designers, with a focus on student designers of colour. The event will be split into four categories: Honoring Our Ancestors, Honoring Our Present, Honoring the Diaspora, and Honoring Our Future. 


Thursday, March 11th, 2 pm EST

OCAD U’s Faculty of Design Black Cluster Hire Faculty will be in conversation at the University & College Design Association’s, Elevating Black Voices Series

OCAD’s Black tenure-track faculty members will be speaking about the cluster hire and what it means to them and the university. Please join us as four of the faculty members and a student discuss the historical importance of this hiring.

Angela Bains
Graduate Program Director, Strategic Foresight & Innovation (SFI)
Assistant Professor Faculty of Design

Kestin Cornwall
Assistant Professor Faculty of Design

Kathy Moscou, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Faculty of Design

Michael Lee Poy
Assistant Professor of Design, University & College Design Association

Sydney Gittens
OCAD Student, Faculty of Design, Junior Art Director, Taxi (in effect May 4, 2021)

Mentorship & Scholarship Program

Apply by: April 20, 2021

The Reason One Mentorship and Scholarship Program (ROMSP) will award Black students between the ages of 17-35 years old enrolled or recently accepted in a digital-discipline program, pursuing or with plans to pursue a career in tech.

The mentorship and scholarship program aims to improve access and remove financial barriers for Black students with six (6) scholarships, including a $10,000 scholarship and five(5) $1000 micro-scholarships. The $10,000 scholarship recipient receives a 1-year mentorship program with Reason One, which involves career planning, professional development, and mentorship to help inform and prepare their transition to a career in tech. 

More information here:

Design Scholarship for Black Students

Deadline to apply: January 14, 2021 3:00 pm CT

Knoll Foundation has established a scholarship program to assist students who identify as black that reside in the United States and Canada who plan to continue their education in a college or vocational school in a design-related program.

This program is administered by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals. Awards are granted without regard to religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, or disability.


Culture, Design & Decolonization: A Conversation with Dean Dori Tunstall

A Culture and isights Podcast

In this conversation, Philip spends time with the Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University Dori Tunstall. Philip and Dean Tunstall discuss how culture and design impact one another as well as take on the idea and philosophy of decolonization in the design space and how diverse voices are incorporated at all levels.

The Drop – The segment of the show where Philip and his guest share tasty morsels of intellectual goodness and creative musings.

10 new rules of design

The design industry has been caught up in Eurocentric ideas for too long. We talked to leading experts from MIT, Twitter, and more, who want to help break the spell.


Dori Tunstall, OCAD

“The ethos of the work I’ve been doing at OCAD [Ontario College of Art & Design University] is really decolonizing design to make it a space for our Black, indigenous, and people of color students and faculty to feel like they can bring their cultures of making into the institution so they can be seen—validated in some ways,” says Dori Tunstall, dean of design at OCAD. “And by doing so, they can be confident about being a designer.


NETWORKING EVENT | January 11 – April 8, 2021

Have you ever wished you could have ten minutes for advice and conversation with established alumni from your program?

The RBC Speed Networking Program is a career take on speed dating that connects students with alumni from their program to gain valuable information on how to kickstart their careers.

Sessions will take place in early 2021. We will be posting program updates and session details as they become available, so please be sure to register for updates below. The online speed networking sessions will be followed by a virtual reception where you can continue the conversation.  

indigenous Fashion Week Toronto


EVENT | November 26th to 29th, 2020

IFWTO – Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto presents Indigenous-made/designed fashion, crafts and textiles in runways, curated exhibitions, artist talks, panels, lectures, hands-on workshops, and a marketplace for all audiences.

IFWTO programs 60% or more Indigenous women artists and their works in fashion, textiles and crafts. All self-identified Indigenous artists and exhibitors from across Canada and around the world are invited to apply to exhibit in runway and marketplace. Emerging, mid-career and established aritsts and designers are equally considered for programming.


Kenneth Bailey and Greg Bunbury

EVENT | Tue, 17 November 2020 | 11:00 – 12:00 EST

Hear from Kenneth Bailey and Greg Bunbury on how design can disrupt racist ideas and beliefs and bring in different voices.

Kenneth Bailey is the co-founder of the Design Studio for Social Intervention, and with his colleague Lori Lobenstein, and their work with communities in Boston, have created a framework they call Ideas, Arrangement, Effects. This helps you see how big ideas (which we might call ‘beliefs’ in the UK) – like racism and which can be ‘invisible’ are translated into very visible effects (or outcomes) – like health or education which are experienced unequally through arrangements which can be social (like how service is designed) or physical (how a place is). But they can be rearranged and disrupted to create different outcomes.

Greg Bunbury is founder of Bunbury, a creative graphic design studio. Greg has been mentoring young black men and encouraging them to take up graphic design careers. Over the summer, he has been working with Brotherhood Media to create #blackoutdoorart, which uses billboards to provide a platform for black voices in the wake of Black Lives Matter, and to use the built environment to reshape the narrative that then informs the design of our worlds. He is interested in how marketing, advertising and UX design continues to drive 400-year old ideas around racism, and how graphic design can disrupt them.

Join them in conversation in November where they will be discussing how design can disrupt racist ideas and beliefs and bring in different voices to create narratives that reshape our worlds.

The Artistry of Compassion

By Kathy Moscou, PhD

We would like to congratulate Kathy Moscou on having her artwork being featured on the cover of the University of Washington Pharmacy Alumni magazine along with a full-page story, “The Artistry of Compassion”


Featuring Ian Keteku and many more

EVENT | November 28th, 2020 | 8PM

The legendary “When Brothers Speak” spoken word concert is happening live online this year. The event showcases poetry with some special guests debuting for the first time.


EVENT | 24 OCT, 2020

Shout out to Liin Nur, Asia Clarke, and Christina Muia for the great work at the Future Festival.

Asia Clarke

Asia Clarke is an international development professional, consultant, strategist and artist who is passionate about re-envisioning pan-African diaspora futures. Asia has been a leader in economic empowerment international development projects professionally for the past 7 years in Canada, Dominica, Trinidad, eSwatini and Ghana.

Christina Muia

From her early years in Kenya to her young adulthood in Canada, Christina Muia has been passionate about poverty alleviation. This has led her to work with the United Nations and several international non-profits in Tanzania, Rwanda, Djibouti and Italy on diverse international development projects. Christina has designed and led a variety of futures sessions including ‘Futures of Youth Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa’.

Liin Nur

Liin Nur is a human-centered researcher, strategist, and futurist. Her work is focused on decolonizing the tools and methods she has learned to create equitable futures for all.


EVENT | 19 OCT To 19 NOV, 2020

A history of anti-black culture and systemic racism continues to shape Canadian frameworks. This extends to the devaluation of Black lives within the Canadian ethos. Black artists continuously create work that reflects and educates others on Black experiences, stories, and Black histories to create social change. 

In light of this struggle, this exhibition was created in response to the current political landscape revolving around the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not just a tool for education to be viewed through the white gaze but also as a method to boost representational imagery within the Black community. Expanding upon the idea that Black art is not restricted to mythologized imagery or trauma-based motivation to be valid or valued. If art is for everyone, everyone should be seen within art. 

Exhibiting artist’s experiences vary within the community. This show looks to reflect the diversity that is Blackness. The artists involved in this show have created visual representations to expand the collective thinking and create transformational change within our society. This includes empowering and amplifying the voices of those within the Black Art Community.  Artists varying from OCAD University first year to the fourth year consider terms that help define their Blackness. Through this lens, the artists seek the reconnection of imagery with terms integral to highlighting the strengths and complexities within the Black community

Dean Dori + Black Graduates Instagram Live Chats

EVENT | JULY 3 and 6, 2020

Each year, Dean Dori Tunstall has held the Black Tour of OCAD GradEx in order to provide a platform to amplify the perspectives of our Black graduating students, introduce them to especially Black community members who could help boost their careers, and inspire Black youth. Traditional GradEx was cancelled due to Covid-19, but we adapt.

Dean Dori will host a series of short (20-30 minute) Instagram Live chats with Black graduates on July 3 and 6, 2020:


3:00 – 3:30 pm: Dori chats with Khalalelo Sithole, MAAD 2020

3:30 – 4:00 pm: Dori chats with Mwangi Gatheca, Environmental Design 2020

4:00 – 4:30 pm: Break

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Dori chats with Bidemi Oloyede, Photography 2020


4:00 – 4:30 pm: Dori chats with Priscilla Zoe McIntosh, Environmental Design 2020

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Dori chats with Daniella Glasgow, Environmental Design 2020

5:00 – 5:30 pm: Dori chats with Kaya Joan, Indigenous Visual Culture 2020

5:30 – 6:00 pm: Dori chats with Emem Essien, Environmental Design 2020

6:00 – 6:30 pm: Dori chats with Liin Nur, Strategic Foresight and Innovation 2020

Black Cluster Hire

NEWS | JUNE 2020

OCAD University hires five new permanent faculty in recognition of the international decade for peoples of African descent (including Africans and African heritage people from the Caribbean, North America and Latin America), as a special program under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Joining the University’s Faculty of Design, as of August 1, 2020 are Angela BainsMarton Robinson, Michael Lee Poy, Kathy Moscou, and Kestin Cornwall (L-R).

Andrea Fatona launches the State of Blackness website

NEWS | JULY 2020

An independent art curator and scholar, and an associate professor in OCAD University’s Faculty of Art, Dr. Fatona has been working for years to rectify the absence of Black visual art from “official records”— art critics’ reviews, art archives and other avenues of representation. She has documented much of her efforts online and is launching a re-imagined version of the site: The state of blackness: from production to presentation. A French version of the website is coming soon. 


Logo for Speak to Power Event for Black students
OCAD U Speak to Power: Black Lives Matter Student Forum

Event | June 26, 2020

OCAD University and OCAD Student Union co-hosted a closed forum for Black students and recent alumni to share their experiences of institutional and interpersonal racism at OCAD University. Co-moderated by Student Union Representatives Kais Padamshi and Adé Abegunde and Dean of Design, Dori Tunstall, the forum drew over 40 Black students, faculty, administrators, and staff who addressed the problems and the ways for administrative and peer to make amends on such topics as Imposter Syndrome, Curriculum and Critique Culture, Feeling Invisible, Resources for Black Students, Micro-Aggressions, and Professional Development for New Black Graduates.

The OCAD U Speak to Power: BIPOC Forum will be held on July 6, 2020 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm via Zoom. BIPOC students and recent graduates must email INFO@OCADSU.ORG with the subject Speak to Power to receive the Zoom login and password for the event.

illustration of Direct X in graduation cap and gown.
Julien Christian Lutz (pka Director X) Given OCAD U Honorary Doctorate

Event | June 12, 2020

Honorary Doctorate Julien Christian Lutz, known professionally as Director X, is one of Canada’s most respected short form/music video directors. Having started out as a graphic designer of event posters and comics, his graphic design-influenced aesthetics and storytelling continues to define and redefine the look and feel of music, especially Hip Hop and R&B music, with talent such as Drake, Rhianna, Sean Paul, Jay-Z, and Miguel. His award-winning forays into commercials, television shows, and commercial filmmaking have earned him prominent accolades, including a Juno Award for Music Video of the Year (2013).

Dean Dori collaborated with Black illustration student, Ene Agi, to create an animated video introducing the community to Julien Lutz and why he was so deserved of OCAD U’s highest honor. Julien responded with a practical video on how students should approach their creative careers and a short meditation. Congratulations Dr. Lutz! Class of 2020

Refuge Alchemy Workshops with Christophe Roberts, powered by Footaction Toronto

Event | Feb 27-29 2020

OCAD University and Footaction Toronto hosted a design charrette/workshop from Feb. 27th to Feb. 29th with US artist, Christophe Roberts, Manza Studios LLC, and his Refuge Alchemy method, by which he up-cycles Nike boxes and turns them into culturally-informed sculptural masks and other objects.