Dezeen Magazine

University of Toronto presents eight projects by its students

Dezeen School Shows: an exhibition curation project aiming to highlight artists' cultural disorientation is included in Dezeen's latest school show by students at the University of Toronto.

Also featured is an immersive dual-screen video that sheds light on the experiences of Black people in the style of a 1960s talk show, and a research project examining the health of fruit trees in Toronto, Canada.

University of Toronto

Institution: University of Toronto
School: John H Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
Courses: Master of Forest Conservation, Master of Urban Design and Master of Visual Studies
Tutors: Zach Blas, Jean-Paul Kelly, Barbara Fischer, Tenley Conway, Sandy Smith, Michael Piper and Otto Ojo

School statement:

"The John H Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto offers graduate programmes in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, forestry and visual studies.

"It also offers unique undergraduate programmes that use architectural studies and visual studies as a lens through which students may pursue a broad, liberal arts-based education.

"Its mission is to educate students, prepare professionals and cultivate scholars who will play a leading role in creating more culturally engaged, ecologically sustainable, socially just and artfully conceived environments.

"The greater Toronto region serves as a dynamic laboratory for both its students and faculty, while the University of Toronto, which year after year ranks among the top universities in the world, provides a wealth of knowledge and expertise that they can draw from.

"Like Toronto, Daniels students and faculty are incredibly cosmopolitan in sensibility, hailing from every part of the world, with their work crossing all sorts of geographic and cultural boundaries.

"The city's multicultural networks and international connections make the Daniels Faculty a powerful place to start a career."

Photo of a bright white light on a black background in an abstract shape

Breathe by Durga Rajah

"Breathe approaches the photographic self-portrait as a means of making visible the invisible self that lies beneath the particulars of one's likeness.

"It explores how the photographer's presence might be registered in a photograph in the slightest possible form, in the hope that this reduced impression creates a space for empathy and self-reflection on the viewer's part.

"Breathe places as much emphasis on the performance of making the photographs as on the performance of viewing them.

"The installation is designed to reduce sensory distractions and to reveal the fragility of the images coming into being within the viewer's awareness."

Student: Durga Rajah
Course: Master of Visual Studies in Studio Art
Tutor: Jean-Paul Kelly
Email: durga.r.780[at]

Photograph of a person in front of a rock face with a blue glitchy appearance

Tumbling in Harness by Erin Reznick

"Tumbling in Harness examines the implications of online death in the age of platform capitalism.

"As the world has become increasingly integrated with online media, digital memorialisation complicates the notion of what remains of someone's life after death and how the bereaved mourn in the absence of physical bodies.

"Conceiving that people might persist eternally through data raises questions around digital immortality and the recodification of death rituals.

"AI and social media alike have facilitated unprecedented interactions between the deceased and the living. Digital immortality brings forth unique cultural, technical, social, ethical and legal challenges."

Student: Erin Reznick
Course: Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies
Tutor: Barbara Fischer
Email: reznick.erin[at]

Birds-eye view of a suburban streets

Little Jamaica Multi-Flex – Revitalising Multi-Functional Space for Small Business by Anusha Prakash

"Eglinton Avenue West, also known as Little Jamaica, is a diverse corridor in terms of land use and ethnic groups, with businesses and cultural institutions reflecting the area's multiculturalism.

"Economic pressure and cultural practices have prompted many businesses to adopt secondary activities, resulting in a multiplicity of use.

"This project advocates for multiple-use retail spaces as an opportunity to promote neighbourhood stability, preserve cultural legacy and prevent the displacement of both small businesses and residents.

"Encouraging a mix of uses can lead to more equitable and resilient neighbourhoods that meet diverse needs. "

Student: Anusha Prakash
Course: Master of Urban Design
Tutors: Michael Piper and Otto Ojo
Email: anu1phl[at]

Map of green spaces in an urban environment

Mapping Public Access to Green Space and Federal-Municipal Ownership in Canada's Capital Region by Aileen Duncan

"Urban green spaces are widely acknowledged as important variables in creating livable cities, yet in many cities, residents have inequitable access to green space.

"This project examines green space access available to Ottawa's citizens.

"While Ottawa's green space is generally positive, there are signals of inequities related to income, education, ethnicity and race, particularly on a neighbourhood level.

"The federal government is pivotal in providing access to green space – federal greenspaces are concentrated in the central area, along heritage rivers and adjacent to the Greenbelt.

"This underscores the importance of collaboration and partnerships between the NCC and the City of Ottawa for stewardship and planning."

Student: Aileen Duncan
Course: Master of Forest Conservation
Tutor: Tenley Conway
Email: aileen.k.duncan[at]

Map showing locations of fruit trees in Toronto

Are urban fruit trees healthy? Examining health indicators in Toronto's urban orchard by Frida Kitz

"While urban fruit trees can provide food security and community, they are understudied. This project examined how health varies across fruit tree species, size classes and neighbourhoods.

"Toronto homeowners were requested to register their fruit trees and complete a health assessment.

"There were no significant differences between species, though apricots were the most likely to be extremely unhealthy.

"Additional findings suggest that homeowners are reluctant to care for their fruit trees due to a variety of factors.

"Interviewing homeowners is important to better understand where their frustrations and knowledge gaps lie so that urban forestry organizations and municipalities can tailor their services and educational programmes."

Student: Frida Kitz
Course: Master of Forest Conservation
Tutor: Sandy Smith
Email: friederike.kitz[at]

Birds-eye view of a suburban streets

Decentralized Density by Becky (Siyi) Tang

"Toronto's Little Jamaica neighbourhood is at the forefront of the city's affordable housing crisis.

"One of the city's main strategies to create affordability proposes inclusionary zoning, which will require new large-scale developments to designate a certain percentage of affordable units.

"However, Little Jamaica was excluded from this city-wide zoning plan.

"Decentralised Density proposes an alternative that encourages existing homeowners to create alternative affordable housing options within their properties.

"Densifying the community in this way, we incentivise locals to participate in the solution, providing neighbourhood amenities, and reducing the growing reliance on developers to provide affordability in statistically cost-prohibitive housing typologies."

Student: Becky (Siyi) Tang
Course: Master of Urban Design
Tutors: Michael Piper and Otto Ojo
Email: siyi.tang[at]

Photo showing stools in front of two screens in a dark space

I Believe I Saw Aliens by Omolola Ajao

"This two-channel video speculates on public Black performance on a stage of anti-black conditions. Textually embodied and subjectively narrated, this work is an analytical and poetic reflection on Black presence and Black futurity.

"The work is framed by the artist's viewpoint, but it is dizzying, unclear, strange and orbiting.

"In the context of 1960s talk shows, the artist is thinking through what a permissible and effective Black narrative could be within a white system.

"Is the expectation to underscore, to continue, to make regular violences? Can we disassemble a continued relation of Blackness, where the expectation is white understanding, even when Black subjectivity is invited into the atmosphere?"

Student: Omolola Ajao
Course: Master of Visual Studies in Studio Art
Tutors: Zach Blas and Jean-Paul Kelly
Email: lola.ajao[at]

Photo of an exhibition with metal bowls on floor in gallery room

Where have I arrived? by Sherry Chunqing Liu

"Prompted by a personal polaroid photograph of the curator of her childhood home in Xiamen, China, this thesis exhibition explores the themes of food/kitchen, translation, and body through the lens of 'diaspora space'.

"'Diaspora space' is defined by sociologist Avtar Brah as a conceptual category that 'includes the entanglement, the intertwining of the genealogies of dispersion with those of 'staying put'.

"The project explores the relation between arriving in a gallery space and in diaspora space and opens up the complexity of the idea of 'Asian Diaspora'.

"The exhibition features works by artists Lotus Laurie Kang, Brubey Hu and Patrick Cruz."

Student: Sherry Chunqing Liu
Course: Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies
Tutor: Barbara Fischer
Email: sherryliustudio[at]

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and University of Toronto. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.