ADVISORY: All of Halifax Peninsula, including NSCAD’s three campuses, are currently under a boil water advisory until further notice. All water must be boiled for at least one minute if it will be used for drinking or any other activity requiring human consumption.

2019 – A Year in Review

As we’re about to ring in the new year, we are looking back on 2019 to celebrate NSCAD’s accomplishments and favourite moments. No change was more significant than the appointment of NSCAD’s new president Dr. Aoife Mac Namara, which took place in August 2019. Aoife’s tenure follows that of Professor Dianne Taylor-Gearing, who led the university to financial stability and growth. We are grateful for her dedication to NSCAD over the last five years.
Below is a snapshot of the highlights from 2019, and throughout the year in review we see a consistency in certain themes – notably collaboration, connection and distinction. We are looking forward to seeing all that 2020 will bring, and wish you and yours a Happy New Year!

NSCAD welcomes a new president, Dr. Aoife Mac Namara

Aoife jumped into the role feet first, and has spent her first four months meeting key partners within the NSCAD Community as well as supporters from the community at-large – locally, nationally and internationally. These meetings will continue into the near year and are informing Aoife’s vision for the institution as the art school of the future. This vision will focus on strengthening partnerships with communities in and around the province, recognizing the value of NSCAD’s contribution to the economy, environment and creative industries. Moreover, NSCAD is excited to continue consultations with partners, including Develop Nova Scotia, around the possibility of developing campus facilities close to the AGNS building. We look forward to completing our facilities review and being in a position to announce a final decision in 2020.

NSCAD shines bright at Nocturne

Nocturne 2019: Art at Night saw a record number of artists affiliated with NSCAD. More than 50 Nocturne participants were NSCAD students, faculty, alumni and staff. “Nocturne brings so much energy to the city, and the art festival is especially captivating as it shines brightly into the night. It’s easy to see why so many members of the NSCAD community want to contribute,” said Catherine Allen, manager, Extended Studies. Catherine collaborated in Embed and Embody, a workshop led by NSCAD student facilitators, in partnership with newcomers from Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). The finished products were on display at the Anna. Read more:

Commitment to supporting significant research, pedagogy, and creative production

NSCAD celebrated the signing of the Dimensions charter, demonstrating our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). The program addresses obstacles faced by, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities. NSCAD understands that – when EDI is a priority – an institution will benefit from improved access to qualified potential participants, enhanced integrity of a program’s application and selection processes, strengthened research outputs and increased overall excellence in research.

In addition, the new Strategic Research Plan was completed and shared widely, detailing the university’s direction for 2019 – 2022. NSCAD’s research is driven by the goal to demonstrate its leadership in four distinct themes: visual and cultural literacies, sustainability and adaptability, material exploration, and art/design education and pedagogy. The Strategic Research Plan can be viewed here:

Lastly, NSCAD successfully launched the new Master of Arts in Art Education – accepting its first students in September 2019. The graduate program is designed to develop educators and researchers with the advanced knowledge to lead art education initiatives in a range of settings, including museums, art galleries, heritage sites, and community and educational organizations. More on the program can be found here:

NSCAD on the road – Alumni events in Ottawa and Toronto a great success

In the fall, NSCAD hosted two alumni events in Ontario to connect with NSCAD grads and introduce them to Aoife. Both events were well attended, and it was great to see many familiar faces. We are looking forward to planning more alumni events in 2020.

The revival of the NSCAD Lithography Workshop

The NSCAD University Lithography Workshop was established in 1969, earning international recognition and redefining the artistic potential of print in the 20th century. It had a significant and lasting impact on the world of art and design, and included several famed artists from Canada and around the world. After two years of hard work and dedication from NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery Systems, the official revival of the workshop took place in November 2019.

Artists Shuvinai Ashoona, Jordan Bennett, Shary Boyle, Brendan Fernandes, Amy Malbeuf, Ed Pien, Derek Sullivan, and Ericka Walker, in collaboration with Master Printer Jill Graham, created new, compelling and diverse lithographs that represent the new direction the project will take moving forward. The lithographs are available for purchase through, the proceeds of which will be reinvested in collaborative printing and the NSCAD Press. Read more:

NSCAD honours and hosts creators, curators and visionaries

The 2019 NSCAD University graduation saw Rebecca Belmore, Michael Donovan and Robert Storr each awarded with a Doctor of Fine Arts. By honouring these three remarkable individuals, we recognize their substantial contributions to art and art education.

NSCAD also hosted an array of significant visiting artists and guests, including Paula Fairfield, Ben Pike, Raphaëlle de Groot, Mary Anne Jordan, Misha Horacek, Ufuk Gueray, Louise Perrone, Lauren Schaffer, Patrick Cruz, Hedi Kyle, and Paul Roth, among others.

Numerous distinctions merited by students and alumni

NSCAD students and alumni were well decorated this year, and we are very proud of their accomplishments. A few notable alumni wins were the BMO 1st Art Award (Seamus Gallagher, BFA 2019), Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award (Ursula Johnson, BFA 2006), Emmy Award (Paula Fairfield, BFA 1984), TIFF’s FIPRESCI prize (Heather Young, BFA 2009), Governor General’s Literary Award (Sydney Smith, BFA 2006), among others. Students Ada Denil and Jessie McLaughlin were awarded the Nova Scotia Talent Trust Award –  Ada the recipient of the Susan Wood Award and Jessie the Charlotte Wilson-Hammond/Visual Arts Nova Scotia Award. Rebecca Devenish won the Mattinson Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities, and students Emma Allain, Tyler Anderson, Drayden Decosta, Megan Kyak-Monteith, Alex Linfield, Liv Mansveld, Luke Mohan, Kim Paquet, Mark Sark and Wiebke Schroeder were all shortlisted for the 2019 Starfish Student Art Award, with Paquet winning the grand prize.

2020 at a glance

Key events to keep in mind in the new year (dates to be announced as they become available):

  • Portfolio Day
  • Wearable Art Show
  • Fashion Show
  • Graduation
  • Public Lecture Series – Mark Dion (March 10, 2020, 6 p.m. Halifax Public Library) and Eames Demetrious (March 18, 2020, 6 p.m. NSCAD’s Bell Auditorium, Fountain Campus)

Keep an eye on for additional events and details. Thank you to everyone who made 2019 such a success at NSCAD!