Assistant Professor, Faculty of Design
Creative and Business Enterprise
Alia Weston is an Associate Professor of Creative and Business Enterprise at OCAD University. Alia is of South African and British heritage, and was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. Alia is a practicing jewellery designer, entrepreneur and scholar. Through her scholarship Alia explores the intersection of business, creativity and social change. Using a critical perspective, she questions dominant paradigms and redefines how we understand knowledge; exploring themes such as critical business, creativity in resource constraints, social innovation, and experiential food methodology. Examples of Alia’s research include the exploration of postcolonial issues related to business in Southern Africa. In previous projects, she has engaged with creative business practices of grassroots communities in Zimbabwe and South Africa. A current SSHRC funded project with the Hatcliffe Extension Community Trust, and Sarah Tranum, explores economic and environmental sustainability of menstrual health management systems in Zimbabwe. In Canada, she has worked on further business and social innovation projects, including the RECODE funded Impact Collective social innovation project, which she co-directs with Zev Farber of the OCAD U Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers (CEAD). A notable collaborative outcome was This Art Works! a 10-part original online series created by Madeline Co, for CBC Arts, featuring the work of OCAD U students and alumni. Additionally, with Alexandra Hong and Zev Farber is Good w/ Food a project funded by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, a national initiative headed by Ryerson University. Good w/ Food examines experiences of women creative entrepreneurs through a community dinner, food-based methodology. Finally, Alia’s work is supported by her practice as a design-entrepreneur. She uses her two jewelry brands Alia Weston Jewellery @aliawestonjewellery, and Fireflies Atelier @firefliesatelier, as living research projects, teaching OCAD U students about the how-to aspects of running creative businesses and designing from heritage.
Portrait photography: Gilad Cohen @mrgiladcohen
Jewellery images: Model is Sharene Shafie @shareneshafie. Make up by Sindhu Sentilnathan @sndhurella. Photography by Julie Riemersma @julieriemersma