Your world, our world: a POV

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 McLaren, Peter 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.

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