How GradEx opens the door to your career

John Street Muskoka Chairs

Have you noticed it’s gotten intensely quiet around here in the last few days? Like a kind of a calm before a storm?

That’s because it’s GradEx week: our biggest event of the year—indeed, the biggest art event in Toronto—opening on Wednesday night. For all of us who work here, staff and faculty alike, it is one of our greatest privileges to support and witness this capstone event for our graduating students.

One of the most important behind-the-scenes parts of GradEx are our Sneak Peek tours, where we invite industry partners—corporate, non-profit and government—to come in and have a look at graduates’ work. These tours are key catalysts for new relationships, be it getting our grads hired, connecting new start-ups to investors, creating new internships or experiential learning opportunities, collaborating on research and commercialization, or establishing scholarships and career development opportunities, like the Walnut Studios Career Launcher, a program of our Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers.

People join us for the GradEx Sneak Peek tours from a huge range of businesses. They might be from a large multi-national for-profit company or a small non-profit advocacy group. One of our partnerships was a classroom-based project where students worked with Scotiabank to design a branch on a university campus. Another project connected Material Art & Design students with neuroscientists at Baycrest to create visual representations of the science of aging and changing cognition. We’ve also worked with companies like 3M, the David Suzuki Foundation, TD Bank, Smart Canada (a division of Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.), Canadian Art, Umbra, Artscape Youngplace, TVO, Bell Media, Union Station, the City of Toronto and so many others.

So if you see me or my colleagues wandering around looking at your work with a bunch of strangers on Thursday morning, please say hi. You just might be opening the door of opportunity to the rest of your life.

Photo: Illustration student Rosena Fung working in an OCAD U partnership with the Toronto Entertainment District BIA (TOED BIA) to bring greater access to the John Street Cultural Corridor with the John Street Pedestrian Initiative. Photo by Christina Crosbie.