Re-framing Teaching & Learning Support: The RGASC’s Annual Art Competition


Art competition banner


Deadline extended to May 31, 2021

The Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre (RGASC) invites UTM students to submit proposals for works of art that express or promote the RGASC’s mandate. The winning work of art will be displayed at the RGASC in MN3251 (third floor of the new Maanjiwe nendamowinan building) for a minimum of two years.

The mandate of the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre is as follows:

“To support and promote teaching and learning in a range of contexts across the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). For students, the RGASC is a resource for developing academic skills through individual appointments and group-based initiatives. For Teaching Assistants, instructional staff, and faculty, the Centre is a partner in teaching and learning activities ranging from course and program design to implementation and to the assessment of a given intervention’s impact.”

In other words, the RGASC is dedicated to helping students learn effectively. This year, we are particularly interested in works of art that explore the RGASC’s mandate in the context of COVID-19 and the university’s shift to online teaching. As such, we offer the following list of themes that artists could address as a means of expressing or promoting our mandate: 

  • clarity
  • textuality
  • communication
  • critical thinking
  • literacy
  • calculation
  • knowledge production
  • teaching & learning
  • collaboration
  • mentoring
  • numeracy
  • problem-solving
  • learning communities
  • inquiry
  • revision
  • scholarly conversation

Please note that these themes are not meant to be restrictive in any way, nor should they be taken too literally as subject matter for a proposed work of art. Instead, students should consider these kinds of ideas as being conceptual or thematic guides as they think about art they might create that would express the RGASC’s role within the teaching and learning community at UTM. We are asking artists to think about what these themes mean when considered in the light of a global pandemic that has forced students to learn and get support for their learning online.

This is the second year of this competition, which we anticipate will be run annually. Each year, we will be looking for works of art in different mediums or that address different themes related to the RGASC’s mandate. For this year’s competition, we are looking for proposals for larger (minimum 24” x 36”) wall-mountable works of art.


This competition is open to all students currently enrolled at UTM.

Submission Process

Interested artists should submit the following:

· A short, written statement (maximum 250 words) outlining the proposed concept for the work of art and describing the final product. Please include sketches whatever other supporting materials you think would be useful to help the Committee visualize your proposed artwork.

· A short biographical statement (150-200 words). Include relevant contact information (student number, current phone number, and email address).

· Images of up to three relevant works you have created in the past.

Submissions should be emailed as a single PDF file to Please use the following convention when naming the file: “RGASC Art Contest_Last Name_First Name”. Please ensure the subject line for your email reads “RGASC Art Contest Submission: First Name Last Name.”

The deadline for submission to this year’s competition is May 31, 2021. The winning artist will be notified by early June, 2021 and will be required to produce their work of art by August 1, 2021.


The creators of winning entries will be awarded $500 and will have their works displayed in the RGASC.

Adjudication Process

The RGASC Art Competition will be adjudicated by a Committee comprising the following stakeholders: RGASC faculty or staff member; Department of Visual Studies faculty member; Department of Visual Studies Student Society (DVSSS) member; UTM student-at-large; Sheridan faculty member; Blackwood Gallery staff member; the Collaborative Digital Space Senior Research Associate.

Committee members will be looking for a clear visual statement. Proposals will be evaluated in terms of the following criteria:

· expression/promotion of RGASC mandate

· inventiveness and originality

· conceptual clarity and formal resolution

The artist who submits a successful proposal may be asked to revise and refine their project in response to feedback from the judges.

View last year's winner