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Ontario College of Art

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Title: Ontario College of Art  
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Ontario College of Art

Template:Use Canadian English

"OCAD" redirects here. For other uses, see OCAD (disambiguation).
OCAD University
Logo of OCAD University
Motto Imagination is Everything
Established 1876
Type Public university
Endowment C$9,576,604[1]
Chancellor Catherine Delaney
President Sara Diamond
Academic staff 200[2]
Admin. staff 485
Students 6,072[3]
Undergraduates 4,882[3]
Postgraduates 100[3]

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43°39′11″N 79°23′28.3″W / 43.65306°N 79.391194°W / 43.65306; -79.391194Coordinates: 43°39′11″N 79°23′28.3″W / 43.65306°N 79.391194°W / 43.65306; -79.391194

Campus Urban
Former names Ontario School of Art (1876–86)
Toronto Art School (1886–90)
Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design (1890–1912)
Ontario College of Art (1912–96)
Ontario College of Art & Design (1996–2010)
Affiliations AICAD, AUCC, CBIE, COU, IAU,

OCAD University (/ˈkæd/ ) is a public university whose campus is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school is within the Grange Park neighbourhood, and adjacent to the Art Gallery of Ontario. The school is Canada's largest and oldest educational institution for art and design.[4] OCAD U offers courses through the Faculties of Art, Design, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and alternative programs. The enabling legislation is Ontario College of Art and Design University Act, 2002.[5]


The University's beginnings stretch back to the project of the Ontario Society of Artists whose objectives included the development of art education in Ontario. The first School of Art opened on October 30, 1876, funded by a government grant of $1,000.[6][7]


In 1969–70, Roy Ascott radically challenged the pedagogy and curriculum structure of the College.[8]

In 2008, OCAD president Sara Diamond changed the pedagogy. She emphasised academics over studio time and required full-time instructors to hold an advanced degree. There was some controversy as two faculty resigned over the changes.[9]

Sharp Centre for Design

In 2004 work was completed on a new expansion. The Sharp Centre for Design, designed by architect Will Alsop, of Alsop Architects, in a joint venture with Toronto-based Robbie/Young + Wright Architects Inc.[10] It consists of a box four storeys off the ground supported by a series of multi-coloured pillars at different angles and is often described as a tabletop.[11] The $42.5 million expansion and redevelopment has received numerous awards, including the first-ever Royal Institute of British Architects Worldwide Award, the award of excellence in the "Building in Context" category at the Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards, and was deemed the most outstanding technical project overall in the 2005 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.

Name changes

OCAD University has had a number of names over time.[12][13]

  • Ontario School of Art, 1876–86 founded by the Ontario Society of Artists to provide professional training in art.[14]

  • Toronto Art School, 1886–90
  • Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design, 1890–1912
  • Ontario College of Art (OCA), 1912–96
  • Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), 1996–2010
  • OCAD University, 2010–present

Academic degrees

The school combines a studio-based education with liberal studies, which is recognised with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), a Bachelor of Design (BDes), an Interdisciplinary Master's in Art Media and Design (MA, MFA or MDes), a Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial Practice (MFA), a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation (MDes), an Executive Master of Design in Advertising (EMDes), a Master of Design in Inclusive Design (MDes), and a Graduate Program in Digital Futures (Graduate Diploma and MA, MDes, MFA).


The OCAD campus consists of a north campus and a south campus.[15] The north campus includes the Main Building and Sharp Centre for Design, the adjacent Butterfield Park, the Annex Building, the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, the Student Centre, the Inclusive Design Institute, and the Continuing Education Centre.[16] The south campus consists of buildings that are physically situated on Richmond Street West, plus the proposed Mirvish-Gehry development further south on King Street.[17][18]

Buildings at OCAD are referred to by their street addresses.[19] Some buildings are also assigned a building number that is encoded as the first digit in 4-digit room numbers.[16]


A number of galleries or exhibition spaces exist both on-campus and off-campus. A faculty gallery is planned as part of the proposed Mirvish-Gehry development.[17] The existing major exhibition spaces are:

  • Onsite [at] OCAD U. Created in 2007 as the OCAD Professional Gallery before taking on its current name in 2010, Onsite [at] OCAD U is features works by national and international professional artists and designers.[20]
  • Student Gallery. The Student Gallery curates and features works submitted by current OCAD students and recent alumni.[21] The Student Gallery used to be located at 285 Dundas St. West and 76 McCaul Street. It was created in the early 1970s[22][23]
  • Graduate Gallery. The Graduate Gallery is a gallery for graduate students and research faculty.[24][25]
  • Xpace. The OCAD Student Union runs a gallery called the Xpace Cultural Centre, located off-campus. (Hence Xpace, which stands for “external space.”) It aims to provide students and emerging artists a space to exhibit their work in a professional gallery setting, and to better respond to "contemporary issues in theory and aesthetics" in the community through the use of shorter time frames in its programming.[26][27]
  • Open Gallery. The Open Gallery is an exhibition space inside the Inclusive Design Institute building at 49 McCaul Street.[28] [29]


As a research university, OCAD also conducts art and design research via the Digital Media Research + Innovation Institute (DMRII) which focuses on creative applied research in digital expression, digital immersion, digital experience and digital media industries. It consist of 19 research labs, including:

In addition to research centres within the school itself, OCAD also belongs to a number of research networks, including:

Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design. The Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD), led by York University,[35] is a 5-year research initiative launched in March 2010 to address “innovation and training in information and scientific visualization in Ontario.”[36][37] It consists of a team from York University, a team from OCAD University directed by Sara Diamond, a team from the University of Toronto, 14 industry partners, and a number of international collaborators.[34] It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.[38]

Inclusive Design Institute. The Inclusive Design Institute (IDI), directed by Jutta Treviranus,[39] is a regional research network for inclusive design founded in 2008[40] and officially launched on 24 May 2012,[41] with the aim to “address the challenge of designing our information and communication systems (ICT) so that they work for all potential users, including users with disabilities, varying language needs and diverse cultural preferences.”[39] It consists of eight core postsecondary partners (OCAD University, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Sheridan College, George Brown College and Seneca College) and over 100 collaborating organizations,[39] and is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.[42][43][44]

Research by students, alumni, and faculty receives support for commercialization through its incubator program called the Imagination Catalyst, under the direction of the AVP Research and Graduate Studies and coordinated by the Digital Futures Implementation office. This incubator was established in August 2011 as the Digital Futures Accelerator and the Design Incubator.[34][45]

The MEIC convergence centre is the industry mobile incubator under the direction of the MEIC which is a not for profit association of mobile industry stakeholders and academia.[46]

Notable faculty members

Faculty and staff of OCAD University have included

Notable alumni

See also

Visual arts portal


External links

  • Official website

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