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Meet the 2020 Library DME Creators Grant recipients

These five students submitted their extraordinary project ideas back in March, just prior to the university’s closure due to COVID-19. When the world was trying to grapple with a global pandemic and contain the spread of a swift moving virus, these students continued to charge ahead and take hold of projects they felt passionately about.

All five projects are now well underway, each one bringing to light new ways of addressing current social issues. 

The grant itself highlights experiential learning and digital literacy opportunities available to students through the Library, and provides funding and mentorship to the students throughout the development of their individual projects.

Here’s a peek at the innovative projects this year’s recipients are working on:


Sojourner San Vicente

4th year, Ryerson Midwifery Education Program, Faculty of Community Services

With the Library DME Creators Grant, Sojourner San Vicentealong with fellow Ryerson Midwifery Education Program (MEP) students Tumaini Lyaruu and Hanan Yousufis developing a series of educational videos on midwifery care featuring Black midwifery students, midwives and clients. As a group of Black midwifery students, they have anecdotally identified various false assumptions that have prevented Black community members from accessing midwifery care, and understanding their pregnancy care options. The videos aim to: 

  • increase awareness about midwifery care in Ontario,
  • increase the visibility of Black midwives, midwifery students and clients, and 
  • enable Black communities to see themselves reflected in midwifery care. 

Through the videos, Sojourner, Tumaini and Hanan hope more Black families will become interested in considering midwifery care as an option for their pregnancies.

Takoda Kemp

3rd year, Geographic Analysis, Faculty of Arts

Having grown up on a farm in the Bahamas, Takoda has a deep connection to the natural world. Coupled with interests in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Robotics, his project tackles issues involving food insecurity. Seeing how structural barriers can hinder people without access to arable land, Takoda knows first-hand that quality infrastructure and education can provide opportunities to create a productive and sustainable crop.

With the Library DME Creators Grant, Takoda is investigating the use of drones to provide agricultural analysis and services to farmers in Canada and the Bahamas. With a camera drone, he is creating two and three-dimensional maps that categorize soil and plant types to help facilitate manual aspects of farm labour such as seed sowing, and crop control. Takoda will then retrofit the mapping process to all dwellings and settings, including urban centres, so analysis of surroundings can clarify which crops can be grown where. An additional aspect of the project is to investigate the use of drones to sow crops that can germinate on the soil’s surface, like micro-greens and salad greens.

Niya Abdullahi

4th year, Business Technology Management and Co-op, Ted Rogers School of Management

Business Technology co-op student Niya Abdullahi is a Tech-Enthusiast and aspiring Filmmaker. Earlier this year she founded Habasooda, a media platform dedicated to sharing the richness of the Muslim experience through a variety of storytelling avenues such as videos and infographics.

With the Library DME Creators Grant, Niya is creating a documentary that explores the stigma of mental illness within the Muslim community. The documentary will explore the differences between mental illness and mental health while showcasing the realities of being a Muslim with a mental illness. “Often when one is dealing with a mental illness they are told that their symptoms may be due to a lack of faith and/or supernatural occurrences,” says Niya. The film will shed light on what a community’s denial could do to someone’s own inner battles and how we as a community can combat stigma.

Emerson Kafarowski

4th year, Performance Production, Faculty of Communication and Design

Emerson Kafarowski is an emerging lighting designer currently finishing her BFA in Production & Design at Ryerson’s School of Performance.

With the Library DME Creators Grant, Emerson is building a portable lighting console for small-scale live entertainment events, including theatre, dance, and live music. The lighting console will cater to shows and productions produced by independent and emerging artists or companies with limited budgets, as well as non-traditional performing arts spaces without existing technical infrastructure. It will also promote and incentivize industry-level lighting design and operation in a comprehensive and accessible format.

Emerson’s project will be open-sourced and is inspired by Electronic Theatre Control (ETC) Labs #lighthack, a community-driven project designed by ETC users and employees to share and co-develop open-source apps, programs and hardware. It is Emerson’s intention that, once complete, the details of this project including the equipment list, assembly instructions, and code, will be made available to others interested in creating and/or customizing low-cost, portable programming wings and devices of their own.

Elvina Raharja

2nd year, Creative Industries, Faculty of Communication and Design

Elvina Raharja is a second-year Creative Industries student focusing on the performing art  and film  industries. Growing up in Indonesia, Elvina trained as a dancer and became passionate about learning different dance styles and histories to help cultivate her voice and awareness as an artist. Throughout her training and career in dance, she has also seen first-hand the discrepancy in the representation of women of colour in mainstream media–especially plus-sized women. As an aspiring producer and creative director, Elvina is committed to pushing for safe spaces and inclusivity for everyone, especially within the dance industry.

With the Creators Grant, Elvina is creating a short dance film that highlights curvy and plus-sized women of colour. Her goal for the project is to help dismantle, through dance, pre-existing body standards and to push a body inclusive, positive narrative. 

Remembrance Day: student voices from 2000

Twenty years ago, Jennifer Kwan published “Voices from the Trenches” in the student paper, The Eyeopener.

Kwan interviewed students about their relationship to Remembrance Day and their traditions to commemorate the event. The article published provides insight from students who had recently immigrated to Canada and their connections to war and conflict.

Archives and Special Collections has outlined the importance of the article and student perspectives in their recently published post, Remembrance Day: student voices from 2000

The newspaper article included in post is archived in the Ryerson University Archives Remembrance Day Clipping File. The Archives preserves students’ experiences and serves as the institutional memory of the Ryerson community. For more student perspectives on Remembrance Day, visit Remembrance Day: student voices from 2000.

Ryerson Library finds novel ways to support students during COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, gathering at the Library was no longer an option but, thanks to the foresight of the Library team, students and faculty could still benefit from most of its resources and services. 

“The Library has been operating seamlessly in both the digital and physical worlds for about 15 years now so we were well prepared for this unanticipated transition,” says Carol Shepstone, chief librarian. “Our existing technical infrastructure is robust and was in place to be expanded, enhanced and leveraged, thanks to the creativity, expertise and commitment of our team.”

Read the full story in Ryerson Today

Rapid Response Data Sharing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Nora Mulvaney

The current need to share COVID-19 research outputs via data repositories and open access publishers is both urgent and unprecedented.  According to the World Health Organisation, in their statement on Data sharing for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), “rapid data sharing is the basis for public health action”. During a pandemic, rapid access to data influences public health and policy decisions and can save lives. The pandemic has prompted a new and more pressing interest in open data, data sharing and reusing existing datasets.

Many Canadian funding agencies, including NSERC and CIHR, have signed the joint statement on ‘Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’, led by the Wellcome Trust, and will require funded projects to share their research data as rapidly and widely as possible.  

Though the premise of data sharing is simple, the details can be tricky and require researchers to navigate technical, scientific, legal and ethical issues. With this in mind, the Portage COVID-19 Working Group have recently published five new guidance documents to help support rapid response data sharing and deposit for Canadian researchers: 

  1. Guide to COVID-19 Rapid Response Data Sharing and Deposit for Canadian Researchers: A straightforward guide for researchers who need to share COVID-19 related research data. Topics include: planning to share research data, making your data understandable, making your data FAIR and open, protecting the privacy of research participants and helping others discover and use your data
  2. Can I Share My Data?: A decision tree for determining when human participant data would need to be anonymized or de-identified before being shared or deposited into a repository
  3. De-identification Guidance: Guidance regarding removing direct identifiers and evaluated indirect or quasi-identifiers based on perceived risk, and considerations for qualitative data de-identification 
  4. Documentation and Supporting Material Required for Deposit: An overview of creating README files, recommended supplementary materials, repository metadata and data use agreements
  5. Recommended Repositories for COVID-19 Research Data: Recommendations for selecting a repository that will provide immediate and long-term access to COVID-19 data

If you have any questions about sharing COVID-19 related research data, or any other aspect of the research data lifecycle- such as writing data management plans, creating documentation for your data or selecting a data repository- please contact Nora Mulvaney (, the Research Data Management Librarian.

The Time for Open Access is Now: Open Access Week 2020

Open access materials are academic materials that are legally accessible and distributed online, free of cost. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of openly accessible research, as researchers publicly share their work on the coronavirus.Open access is now a necessity. With open access, COVID-19 researchers are sharing their work more quickly to help speed up innovation and discovery.

Open Access Week is a global event held annually in October to raise awareness of the benefits of Open Access in the academic community. This year’s theme is Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion – a prompt for the academic community to consider the benefits of open access through the lens of creating systems and infrastructure to support all researchers. 

Ryerson Library is hosting two events during Open Access Week:  Oct. 19-25. 

We encourage faculty and graduate students to attend open access events and learn more about how open access can improve the knowledge mobilization of Ryerson research.

The Role of Open Access and Social Media in Knowledge Mobilization and Discovery. 

Talk with Open Access Library Wall of Fame 2020 Award Winner: Anatoliy Grudz.

Date: Oct 19, 2020
Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m

Ideas that seem obvious today, at one point were obscure facts known only to a select few. The health benefits of washing hands, wearing a seatbelt while in a car – none of these ideas and practices were accepted immediately. In addition to needing time to incubate, new ideas also need to be accessible so that they can be tested, debated, and built upon. This presentation, which is based on my previous research and personal experiences, will highlight the importance and connection between open access publishing and the role of social media in promotion and dissemination of scholarly research. 

Speaker Information: 

Anatoliy Gruzd is a Canada Research Chair in Privacy-Preserving Digital Technologies, an Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management and the Director of Research at the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University. He is also a Member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, a co-editor of a multidisciplinary journal on Big Data and Society, and a founding co-chair of the International Conference on Social Media and Society. As a computational social scientist, Dr. Gruzd’s research broadly explores how social media platforms are changing the ways in which people and organizations communicate, collaborate, disseminate information and misinformation, conduct business and form communities online, and how these changes impact society.

Mountains to Climb: Open Access and academic libraries in 2020 and Beyond

Talk with Jon E. Cawthorne, Ph.D. is Dean of the Wayne State University Library

Date: Oct. 22, 2020
Time: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.


Dean Cawthorne is pathologically positive!  The talk will build on themes within the article Mountains to climb: Leadership for sustainable change in scholarly communication.  This remarkable moment requires rethinking large ideas/systems related to organizational culture, social justice and scholarship.  The talk will suggest how our noble profession may navigate the complex individual and organizational values we hold dear, while exploring how our collective leadership for higher education must meet the moment. The presentation will be enriched by interaction during the Q&A session, so please bring your questions and come prepared to engage with the speaker.

Speaker information: 

Jon E. Cawthorne, Ph.D. is Dean of the Wayne State University Library System which includes the University’s School of Information Sciences.  He has a Ph.D. in managerial leadership in the information professions from Simmons University and is passionate about changing organizational cultures, increasing Black, Indigenous People of Color into leadership positions in the information and publishing industry. Dean Cawthorne is the current President of the Association of College and Research Libraries and remains positive about the future.  Prior to joining WSULS, Cawthorne served as  dean of libraries at West Virginia University.  While in Morgantown, Cawthorne led an effort to remove WVU from their Big Deal in 2016.

Blackface in the Kodak Archive, Ryerson’s Special Collections: Context for Reading ‘Racist’ Images

Article by: Cheryl Thompson and Emilie Jabouin

In 2019, I exhibited my SSHRC-Insight Development Grant-funded research, “Newspapers, Minstrelsy and Black Performance at the Theatre: Mapping the Spaces of Nation­Building in Toronto, 1870s to 1930s,” as part of RUBIX, a showcase celebration of the Scholarly Research and Creative (SRC) activity within the Faculty of Communication and Design. At this event, I met Alison Skyrme, Special Collections librarian at Ryerson who suggested that I drop by Special Collections to examine images of blackface in the Kodak Canada Archive. 

I was struck by her invitation because it happens so rarely. Despite the fact that blackface was a popular theatrical form of entertainment from the 1830s through 1960s, performed not only in the professional theatre and in Hollywood films, but also in communities at high schools, athletic clubs, hospitals, at retail, and even summer camps, most people want to hide their blackface artefacts, they do not invite Black researchers to interrogate them. And so, one afternoon in the fall of 2019, I and my graduate student, Emilie Jabouin, scoured through the Kodak Archive’s blackface repertoire. While the images were new to me, I had prior knowledge of the important role that Kodak played in the development of photography.

Continue reading…….

Ryerson University Library and Ted Rogers School Of Management OER Partnership Grant

The Ryerson University Library is pleased to announce the 2020 Ryerson University Library and Ted Rogers School Of Management OER Partnership Grant to encourage the creation and adoption of open educational resources in 1st and 2nd year Ted Rogers School Of Management courses. OER are learning materials that are openly licensed such that they are freely available to be adapted, copied, and shared. OER can be: courses, modules, textbooks, multimedia, assessments, and supplementary materials.

These grants advance the University’s priorities to foster the use of open educational practices, flexible and active learning strategies, inclusive curriculum design and technology enhanced learning. At the same time they build on Ryerson Library’s digital initiatives, expertise in Open Access and Open Education Resource publishing and dissemination, and academic priorities of access and openness. The Library is very pleased to collaborate with the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in the review and adjudication of the grants, and in the support of successful projects. A total of $40,000 is available for a two-stage TRSM project. 

Applications are due October 23rd, 2020.For more information, please see the Library OER Grants page.

Ryerson Reads: They Said This Would Be Fun by Eternity Martis

Ryerson Reads is an annual campus-wide reading program for all Ryerson’s students, faculty, and staff. This year, in collaboration with Consent Comes First, the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, Ryerson Reads will be reading They Said This Would Be Fun by Ryerson Alumni, Eternity Martis.

This engaging book is about being a Black student on a predominantly white campus dealing with misogynoir and other forms of anti-Black racism. A book-smart kid from Toronto, Eternity  was excited to move away to Western University for her undergraduate degree. But as one of the few Black students there, she soon discovered that the campus experiences she’d seen in movies were far more complex in reality.

Register now to receive a free copy or the book (print or ebook) and learn more about the program! 

Ryerson celebrates Indigenous identity with artwork installation

Photography by rising star Nadya Kwandibens is on display at the Ryerson Library west entrance.

The Ryerson University Library has unveiled a large-scale public artwork by photographer Nadya Kwandibens, external link to commemorate the university’s engagement with the annual Native American Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), external link conference. The 10 x 15.7-foot portrait is on display over the west entrance to the Library as part of the university’s commitment to increase Indigenous visibility and celebration on campus, to educate the community about Indigenous issues and to inspire meaningful conversations.

Captured in 2010, the portrait is part of Kwandibens’ Concrete Indians series, which reflects on contemporary Indigenous identity. Collaborating with subjects who volunteer their participation, she explores what urbanization means for Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island and how living in urban areas can affect one’s cultural identity.

Read the full press release in Ryerson Today

Library withhold – spring/summer 2020

We hope everyone is having a successful exam period – the summer term is now complete!

  • Please clear any outstanding fines and return overdue items as soon as possible. Head to the renewals page to see if you have overdue items or fines greater than $10. Students with fines greater than $10 will not be able to view their grades until their accounts are cleared.
  • All fines can be paid to the Library by telephone, either by VISA, MasterCard, American Express or with your Ryerson OneCard – please contact us at to arrange a call in time when on site staff are available.  We do not accept personal cheques.
  • We understand that this is a trying time, if you have questions or concerns about fines or overdue items, please contact Library Circulation at .

On a personal note from the Library, we wish you and your loved ones good health and stay safe.