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Project Third 2021 Workshops

Indigenous Knowledges / Decolonial Pedagogies

Inaugural Events: A three-session workshop introducing decolonial approaches to pedagogy through examples of Indigenous epistemologies as a framework. Presented by Nadia McLaren, Indigenous Community Relations Advocate, and Ilene Sova, Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Drawing at OCAD University, Toronto. An Indigenous Elder will also be present to help guide the work in a respectful manner. 

All Sessions are Online  (min. 5, max. 30 participants)

RSVP required here

Session 1: Land Acknowledgement 

Monday, October 26 at 3pm-5pm     OR       Friday, October 30 at 11am-1pm

Session 2: Relationship – Wholistic Pedagogy Theory and Community Building

Tuesday, November 10 at 3pm-5pm  OR      Friday, November 13 at 11am-1pm

Session 3: TBD Spring 2021


These inaugural events, which are primarily offered to Pratt’s administrators, faculty, and staff, and are led by Ilene Sova and Nadia McLaren of OCAD University, Toronto, will lay the foundational groundwork of centering Indigenous knowledges and ways of being to demonstrate how these approaches are integral aspects of decolonizing work.  

Session 1: Land Acknowledgement 

Monday, October 26 at 3-5pm

Friday, October 30 at 11-1am

Online (min. 5, max. 30 participants)

Registration required: Link

Land Acknowledgment – Elder Opening. “What brings you here today?” is the topic of a community circle activation, through the modeling of decolonial discussion, whereby introducing ourselves and our stories in relationship to Land (or with positionality to our own histories and relationships to colonization). We will look at how colonization operates within our current context and how this affects students and faculty whose lived-experiences remind us of the urgency in which this work needs to be actively confronted by educational institutions. The participants will be introduced to an Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel and learn how the teachings embedded within can inform and guide institutional transformation Wholistically (Emotionally, Mentally, Physically and Spiritually) building a stronger and safer community.   

Session 2: Relationship – Wholistic Pedagogy Theory and Community Building

Tuesday, November 10 at 3-5pm  
Friday, November 13 at 11-1pm

Online — Same session offered twice for access  (min. 5, max. 30 participants)

Registration required: Link

SESSION 2 Relationship – Wholistic Pedagogy Theory and Community Building 

Elder opening. We will share OCAD University’s Wholistic Approach to Curriculum and Indigenous Learning Outcomes, the key principles and commitments underlying their development, and some important learnings from the consultation process that preceded their approval by the Senate. To ground the discussion, we will also share promising practices that have emerged from the work of the Decolonizing Studio Education Committee, a group of Drawing and Painting faculty and academic staff that have been working together since Fall 2018 to explore what it might mean to decolonize their program curriculum. We will conclude with an activity that allows participants to both share experiences of decolonizing curriculum in their own institutional contexts and explore OCADU’s Indigenous Learning Outcomes in the context of their own programs. 


Nadia McLaren
Indigenous Community Relations Advocate, OCAD University 
As Indigenous Community Relations Advocate at OCAD University, Nadia McLaren contributes to the decolonization of OCAD University practices, policies and structures through a Wholistic approach to advocacy and community-building, working collaboratively throughout all sectors of the community. Nadia McLaren brings to this work her Anishnaabe (Bear Clan) ancestral and community knowledges and is also an OCAD Drawing and Painting graduate. As a writer and director, Nadia is currently involved with a project appearing on APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) and is a published author finishing a graphic novel, “Ever Good,” which was awarded a grant from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) as a project of commemoration. All aspects of her work involve deep knowledge and experience in the areas of Indigenous community wellness, pedagogy, professional development, meaningful community engagement and relationship building. As an accomplished inter-national public speaker, educator, artist and storyteller with more than 15 years of experience working in Indigenous educational contexts, Nadia works to continuously honour the love she carries for her grandmother, Theresa McCraw.  One of the results of this love was an award-winning documentary she created in her honour, titled “Muffins for Granny” (Mongrel Media 2007). This documentary, part of the esteemed Criterion Collection (2012), is also endorsed by the TRC, and continues to be used in many educational institutions across Canada, shedding light on the intergenerational impacts of Canada’s Residential Schools Policy.

Ilene Sova
Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Drawing, OCAD University 

Ilene Sova identifies as mixed race with Black Carribean and white settler ancestry. Ilene’s painting practice focuses on social change with a feminist focus on creating a dialogue around anti-oppression. As the founder of the Feminist Art Collective she is also heavily involved in the areas of arts advocacy, community activation, and promoting pluralism in the arts. In particular, Ilene has worked with both Harbourfront Centre and the Art Gallery of Ontario to do training in diversity and equity practices. This work was incorporated into the development, implementation, and delivery of arts curricula. Due to this work, Ilene was invited to sit on the board of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario. She holds an honours BFA from the University of Ottawa in Painting and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Windsor. With extensive solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad, Sova’s work has most notably been shown at Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Mutuo Centro de Arte in Barcelona.. A passionate public speaker, Sova was chosen to speak at the first TEDxWomen event in Toronto, where she presented a critical analysis of her painting series the Missing Women Project and Southern University New York where she gave an all University Lecture on Art and Social Change. In October 2018, Sova was in invited to deliver the Arthur C. Danto Memorial Keynote Lecture at the 76th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics (ASA)


Medicine Wheel colors poster