University description (as per official university website)
The Ontario College of Art & Design has more depth and breadth in visual arts and design programs than any school of its kind in Canada. OCAD offers its students a unique environment that combines studio-based learning with critical inquiry. Programs lead to a BFA or BDes and, as of 2008/2009, an MA, MFA or MDes.
At OCAD, we educate imaginations. We consider the future. We also honour our history, recognizing the more than a century of achievement that distinguishes our alumni. Joining the remarkable artists and designers we’ve graduated are established cultural leaders, educators, innovators, creative thinkers and strategists.
OCAD students experience a range of research contexts and methodologies via the university's significant research arm. Now, they also have the opportunity to experience graduate programs.
OCAD is located in the heart of Toronto, Canada’s largest centre for design, culture and business. This vibrant nexus brings together a diversity of creative forces. And where great minds meet, magic happens.
The Digital Futures Initiative is one such meeting. Breakthrough partnerships like this one represent the emerging imagination economy, and open the door to greater innovation, collaboration and research at OCAD and beyond. They unleash a wave of talent whose imaginings will revolutionize how Canada works, builds, designs, thinks and lives.
With the Age of Imagination upon us, creativity and innovation are transforming cultures and economies worldwide. Now more than ever before, we speak the language. We are the currency. Members of the OCAD community – our students, faculty and graduates – are uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” Established in 1876 by the Ontario Society of Artists, the university was originally known as the Ontario School of Art, and was incorporated as the Ontario College of Art in 1912. OCAD was the first school in Canada dedicated exclusively to the education of professional artists in fine and commercial art. In 1996, it was renamed the Ontario College of Art & Design. Today, OCAD is the third largest of the approximately 40 professional art and design universities in North America.
Throughout its distinguished history, OCAD has been shaped by many of Canada’s leading figures in art and design. One of the institution’s earlier principals, celebrated painter George A. Reid, designed its first purpose-built home on Grange Park, a beautiful Georgian building that to this day is part of the OCAD campus. The Group of Seven’s Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald were once vice-principal and principal, respectively. Many other famous Canadians have taught or studied at OCAD, including artists Fred Hagan, Jock Macdonald, Michael Snow, Graham Coughtry, Doris McCarthy, Gordon Rainer and, more recently, Colette Whiten, Joanne Tod, Barbara Astman, Gary Neill Kennedy, Ian Carr-Harris, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Rebecca Belmore, George Bures Miller, David Rokeby, Kristan Horton, and Shary Boyle; as well as designers Clair Stewart, Carl Dair, Allan Fleming, Theo Dimson, Ken Rodmell and, more recently, Debbie Adams, Helen Kerr, Anita Kunz, Douglas Ball, Marcos Chin, Donald Stuart, Gary Clement, Gary Taxali, Jeremy Kramer, Floria Sigismundi and Scot Laughton.
The Ontario College of Art & Design Act, passed by the Government of Ontario in 2002, allowed OCAD to confer on its graduates the degrees of Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Design. This new university status has led to a number of significant institutional changes. These include a renewed undergraduate curriculum, three new graduate studies programs, a new professorial structure for faculty, the introduction of research programs and myriad opportunities for collaboration.
The changes make OCAD even more distinct in Ontario’s educational sector. OCAD now delivers art and design education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, integrating studio-based education with historical, critical and scientific inquiry. This unique learning environment draws from its high quality and diverse research practice, which is undertaken with extensive outreach and partnerships. Disciplinary and cross-disciplinary programs offer opportunities for cultural and life-long learning in concert with local, national and international communities.
OCAD students have the opportunity to learn in what is best understood as a creative “hothouse,” a one-of-a-kind environment dedicated exclusively to visual culture. Innovation and creative work is further inspired by a vibrant community life, situated in a new, dynamic campus facility. The critically-acclaimed $42.5 million expansion and redevelopment, featuring the Sharp Centre for Design at 100 McCaul Street as well as, most recently, the acquisition of 205 Richmond Street West, is a catalyst for creative risk-taking and new collaborations.
On July 1, 2005, Sara Diamond joined OCAD as President, leaving her position at The Banff Centre in Alberta, where she was Director of Research, Banff Centre, and Artistic Director, Banff New Media Institute. She is internationally respected as an artistic director, educator, researcher, critic, video artist, television and new media producer/director, and curator
Following OCAD’s recent, unprecedented physical transformation, Diamond led the university through a programmatic transformation and strategic planning process, which culminated in December 2006 with the OCAD Board of Governors approval of “Leading in the Age of the Imagination.”
On May 1 2007, OCAD introduced the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI), an important new interdisciplinary program made possible through a $2 million annual investment by the Government of Ontario, as well as support from industry and education partners. The DFI puts OCAD at the forefront of education in the 21st century, creating new opportunities for students to study art and design practice using digital technology.
The university’s new vision and mission — and initiatives like the DFI — will ensure that OCAD fosters a community of students, faculty and alumni who make significant contributions as cultural leaders, educators, innovators, creative thinkers and strategists in the field of emerging technology and in the art and design professions. This community will contribute significantly to local and global cultural initiatives and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.
The Diversity & Equity Initiatives Office at the Ontario College of Art & Design works with members of the OCAD community to promote a respectful, inclusive work and learning environment.
The Office will work to support, review and develop policies that support an inclusive environment based on the Ontario Human Rights Code, which provides that every person has the right to equal treatment without discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed (religion), sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family status, and receipt of public assistance.
The Office will also support initiatives that will enhance access for underrepresented groups at OCAD based on the multiyear agreements and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities priorities.
The Director, Diversity and Equity Initiatives recognizes that diversity implementation can never be all things to all people. Faced with the reality of minimal resources, yet motivated by the need to be inclusive in our intentions and approach, we shall strive to develop strategies and solutions that address the concerns of many diverse groups simultaneously.