About Us

Communication, Culture & Technology Building at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus

The Department of Visual Studies offers degree programs in Art History, Art and Art History, Cinema Studies, Visual Culture, and Visual Culture and Communication. The Department of Visual Studies is also home of the award-winning Blackwood Gallery.

Working with our internationally renowned faculty, students will have the opportunity to earn a Specialist, Major and Minor degrees. Learn more about our programs »

Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca and, most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

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)