Department of Visual Studies | Home

Welcome to the Department of Visual Studies

The Department of Visual Studies (DVS) is an interdisciplinary department that stresses the importance of history, theory and studio practice in the study of the visual. We are committed to understanding the meaning and power of images and their impact on our lives. Courses examine art, architecture, media images, consumer culture, film, television, video games, political propaganda, new media, websites and more.


Learn more about DVS

  • Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) Building at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus
  • Timeline of art history movements on blackboard
  • 15th century Persian manuscript of the personal horoscope of Iskandar Sultan
  • A group of students pushing a ball made of strings, clothes and other objects for a durational performance art


DVS is home to the award-winning Blackwood Gallery

The award-winning Blackwood Gallery is one of the most respected public contemporary art galleries in the greater Toronto area. The gallery presents a number of curated exhibitions and projects throughout the school year including the annual Grad Show for fourth-year students in the Art & Art History program. You can learn more about Blackwood Gallery here.


DVS Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

DVS faculty and staff were outraged by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and by the countless episodes of police violence against Black people and other people of color, before and after his death. In the strongest possible terms, DVS condemns anti-Black racism and discrimination and stands in solidarity with Black community members and the pain, anguish, fear and deep frustration that so many people are feeling. Race-based violence must be stopped and institutional racism dismantled in North America and elsewhere.

DVS is committed to doing its part to effect positive change. We strive to create an anti-racist, inclusive, diverse and equitable learning environment where everyone belongs. We are a diverse community, with BIPOC, Latinx and other people in underrepresented groups working together as professors, staff members, sessional instructors, postdoctoral fellows, and teaching assistants. This doesn't mean our work is done — far from it. Only 18 per cent of DVS's regularly offered cinema, art history and visual culture courses focus on regions outside Europe. And even though some of the other DVS courses address non-European contexts and BIPOC and Latinx artists, theorists and filmmakers, we must do better. We are planning to offer courses focused on African, Afro-Canadian and Caribbean topics in the coming terms and to recruit BIPOC instructors to teach them. We are also providing support for the faculty to develop creative pedagogies that can work toward decolonizing the classroom and addressing the hierarchical structures of white privilege embedded in the art and film worlds. Consultations with BIPOC and Latinx scholars in DVS and outside the university will help us revise our curriculum to better reflect the needs and concerns of students today. We are also committed to expanding our student recruitment efforts in racialized communities.

For those of you who are current DVS students or graduates, we are developing an anonymous survey for you to help us gain a more complete view of the inequities and racism students are experiencing inside and outside DVS classrooms. The survey will help us understand what kind of changes — both large and small — you'd like to see in your program so that we can do a better job of upholding and promoting our fundamental values of diversity, inclusion, respect, and civility.

Sheridan — DVS’s institutional partner in two collaborative programs — has signed the Black North Initiative aimed at dismantling systemic racism; you can read Sheridan’s pledge of support here (opens in a new window)



DVS and Campus Resources

Icon of calendar and clock

Virtual Office Hours Update

Student Advising: Virtual Office Hours Update, Monday-Friday 10am-12pm

Learn details » 

Icon of multi-cultural hands holding a heart to illustrate inclusion and diversity

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office

Students, staff, and faculty who have experienced discrimination or harassment are urged to contact the chair of the department or the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office at UTM. U of T reviews all complaints of discrimination.

Connect with UTM » 

New Career Resource for Trans and Nonbinary Students

U of T is excited to share a newly developed resource that has been created in consultation with and at the request of trans and nonbinary University of Toronto students and alumni. 

Visit Career Resource »


UTM Indigenous Centre

The UTM Indigenous Centre provides support to Indigenous students, staff, and faculty, and offers numerous ways for non-Indigenous peoples to better understand Indigenous peoples and their ways of being. The centre offers virtual programs, including monthly learning circles.

Visit Indigenous Centre » 


Academic Skills Centre

The Academic Skills Centre (ASC) provides a wide range of services to students, including consultations, workshops, and programs in academic skills development. In addition, the ASC also provides teaching and learning support to UTM faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants.

Visit ASC »


Student Affairs & Services

Through a collaborative approach, Student Affairs & Services provides student-centred services, programs, and engagement opportunities to promote student success and development. Online and programs and workshops are also offered throughout the year. 

Visit Student Affairs & Services »