Trini Tabanca

When approaching this presentation, I was thinking about what aspects of my life I could dissect. However, I quickly realised that I shouldn’t just dissect my relationship with land, I should be dissecting my identity to establish a relationship with land. I hope you enjoy going through a mini-nostalgic journey to my home.


(I was having some trouble putting the PDF directly in this post, sorry.)

Link to Narrated Version:

Link to PDF:


Alina & Mohammad


For this project we brainstormed what we had in common and learnt that we are both originally from Lahore, Pakistan. We both moved to Toronto at different times but had similar experiences, and our relationship to the land is also similar. We wanted to capture the bits of our homeland are present in Toronto, and the places we go to when we feel homesick. Enjoy!


The Story of My Land

There is not one specific place that I would consider as my main land, rather it is a feeling of comfort that can emerge from anything, anywhere, at any time. The story of my land begins at the root of my culture, it has been influenced by the generations before me, and will continue to be impacted by those who come after me. I connect with all the land that resonates with me because it allows me to live a life of adventure. Furthermore, I am grateful that Toronto is so culturally diverse because it brings people together through accepting, respecting, and acknowledging our differences.

Favourite Part – Andrew Cull

For this assignment I decided to use photography to depict an area of the land in which I live that is valuable to me. It is a space that has provided me with much needed detachment and tranquility over the past few years and, through this, has become a quite personal place to share. This project forced me to approach the environment that I visit daily with a renewed appreciation of the beauty of the land and provided me with vital historical context of the value it held to its original inhabitants.

City and Life— Xian

Now I live in Xi ‘an China. I have lived in Xi ‘an for five years, but I am not a native. When I saw this assignment, I first visited my family. We all felt that Xi ‘an was very suitable for physical and emotional rehabilitation, and it was a charming city. Before I came to Xi ‘an, my mother was in poor health, and I suffered a lot of school violence. It was Xi ‘an that taught me to keep my heart, Xi ‘an that taught us how to enjoy life, and the history and culture of this city that influenced me. The day and night in Xi ‘an are completely different. In the evening, I feel like I am in a dream in Xi ‘an under the light, and the delicious food in Xi ‘an is also very famous. These are the happiness that this city brings me.


Landing – Dancing – Grounding

In dance, grounding means to stay rooted in your lower body, which helps your upper body flow freely and quickly respond to any weight changes.
For me, finding that grounding also felt like landing. Dance helped me to connect to people, to the land, and to myself. I’m sure that if I go to another country and don’t understand a word anyone is saying, there would still be a community of people, where the dance language is a thing. So the land is part of me, and I am part of the land. Anywhere.
watch video

Welcome to Advertising Strategy

Wholistic Principles OCADU
Wholistic Principles OCADU

Welcome to the 1st year Advertising class at OCAD University. This blog is a collection of individual stories from our community.

Advertising starts with a story to be told. How do we tell it? What is the message, and how is it communicated? From a strategic approach, finding relevant information about an audience offers key insights to meaningfully connect on an emotional and logical level. Behaviours, attitudes, and biases can be derived from select research points that inform demographic data – for instance, geography, population, age, home, family structure, environment, income, country of origin and status, gender, political conditions, and so on. From here, general commonalities can be drawn with a certain level of objectivity, narrowing the target market to a profile of coordinates.

This is not such an approach.

Imagine each entry in this blog is a data point. The stories that unfold in the telling of the data sets are much more than the aggregated statistical mean. Each entry is a unique reflection on how the contributors see their environment. What do you know about the Land? How does your connection to Land shape relationships with family, friends, and communities? How does Land inform your identity? Behind every demographic point, a story of lived –  and living – experiences materialize and is shared, co-existing in their own individual subjective network.

Wholistic Principles – principles of Indigenous knowledge developed specifically for OCAD University with Medicine Man James Carpenter and Elder Shirley Williams in 2019 – are introduced as markers to guide the exploration of the relationship to Land. The four principles as shared by Nadia McLaren: Respect, Relationship, Reciprocity, and Responsibility, open a space for us to humbly consider the limits of our knowledge, and to imagine how we can envision many futures of diversity and inclusivity.

The stories that materialize, matter. It becomes matter that changes our ethnocentric position of the world. And if this once-fixed centralized coordinate is moved by critically re-evaluating our relationship to Land, then perhaps the Landscape – digital, physical, psychological, perceived, real, mediated landscape – has the potential to be navigated with a new ROI of relational possibilities, and respectful practices of care.

This course was conducted from January to April of 2021, and wouldn’t have been made possible without the guidance and mentorship of Nadia McLarenPeter Morin, and the generous support of  Leslie Corbay,Sugandha Gaur, Mariela Giuliano, and Shahin Moghaddasi Sarabi.

Jay Irizawa is a 3rd generation Japanese Canadian, interdisciplinary designer and assistant professor in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University. OCAD University acknowledges the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand and create.