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Innovation & Job News

OCAD University will be part of waterfront revitalization

Collaborators behind City of the Arts meet together at gala announcement.

Discussions on waterfront revitalization have been a hot topic as of late, and last week news broke that OCAD University and other innovators would be part of the revival.

City of the Arts, a waterfront condo development, is intended to become a mixed-use “live, work and play” neighbourhood. OCAD University will occupy space in the neighbourhood, and reap the benefits of Artscape Launchpad, an incubator for creative professionals.

Artscape Launchpad is described as being “part incubator, part coworking space”, and will provide design professionals with resources and mentorship to build sustainable businesses. As George Brown College is also setting up their School of Design at the waterfront — and the OCAD University and George Brown schools will be working as partners — the presence of the two postsecondary institutions alongside Launchpad will foster a creative community. “When artists and designers converge on a place, they tend to build or infiltrate networks and find ways to leave their mark on it. Part of this stems from a need to find an audience/outlet/market from their creative expression,” said Tim Jones, Artscape president and CEO. “There are positive cultural, social and economic outcomes that flow from their interactions. The cluster becomes a magnet for other innovators, and in the real estate market one finds that galleries, cafes and specialty retailers often follow their lead. All of this leads not only to the physical transformation of a neighbourhood but to a new narrative or identity for it.”

OCAD students will be able to leverage the presence of Artscape to strengthen its own burgeoning art community. “OCAD University’s Campus for a Connected World will amplify the institution’s digitally-focused learning, research and creation, as well as its connection to industry and community partners,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University’s president. “OCAD University sees this as an ideal environment to address the challenges and opportunities of the connected world of machine to machine communication - ensuring  that human imagination is in the equation of this future and that values such as social and cultural inclusion, creativity, beauty and great design are core.”

Diamond added that the location will expand on OCAD University’s emphasis on experiential learning. “What is exciting about this project is our plan to create a virtual circle with our industrial and not-for-profit partners,” said Diamond. “Focused on combining excellence in creative education with experiential learning and entrepreneurship, OCAD University is uniquely prepared to train the workforce that will power the 21st century’s digitally connected innovation economy.”

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