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Isaac Olowolafe Jr. Digital Media Experience Lab (DME) Creators Grant Showcase


In February 2019, the Library launched a new grant offering students an opportunity to receive funding, mentorship, and access to Library resources allowing them to develop a personal project that addressed a systemic social issue.

Aptly titled the Creators Grant, this new program hit the ground running after careful consideration and development through the Library’s Isaac Olowolafe Jr. Digital Media Experience Lab (DME). 

Four students were ultimately selected, whose ideas and applications surpassed expectations.

On Thursday, November 14, those four student recipients of the 2019 Library Creators Grant showcased the fruits of their labours during an engaging evening presentation that highlighted their innovation, creativity and learned skills.

Agents of Change: the Disability Edge by Paul Benson

Paul Benson, is a second-year student in Ryerson’s Disabilities Studies program, Faculty of Community Services. He applied for the grant determined to create a documentary that drew attention to “the positive changes that people with disabilities make in the world based on their experiences,” said Benson.

After receiving the grant, he immediately set out to accomplish his film. He set up interviews, used Library resources and worked with mentors selected through the Library DME “who guided [him] through the process of making a short documentary,” said Benson.

Agents of Change: the Disability Edge was screened at the showcase event. His impressive film, which he plans to submit to the Reel Ability Film Festival, is an informative and enlightening look at the work people with disabilities are doing to create change in their communities and the world. 



Untamed Roots by Hansel Igbavboa

When Hansel Igbavboa, a third-year student in the Entrepreneurship & Strategy program at the Ted Rogers School of Management, received the Creators Grant, his intent was to create a multimedia art installation, incorporating 360 video, which would celebrate the beauty and culture of black peoples’ hair. From the start, the project was an ambitious undertaking that would lead Igbavboa Guyana to document his own heritage, African culture and headress traditions. 

Throughout the process, he realized he needed to reduce scope in order to complete the project within the given timeframe of the grant. In doing so, he refocused efforts and completed a vibrant photo exhibition titled Untamed Roots. “Hair is a big part of my life and part of my identity. It helps me express myself,” said Igbavboa. Using Library resources, including print and digital collections, photo equipment and editing software, Igbavboa “hopes black folks can identify with the project and learn more about the history of black hair.” 




Kaleidoscope Light Prism by Kelly Bang

Kelly Bang, a third-year architecture student, applied for the Creators Grant with the idea, and a plan, to create kaleidoscopic light prisms that address public safety on campus. As alternatives to the planters on Gould Street, Bang’s prisms “encourage social interactions and make spaces feel safer,” said Bang. 

While working on the project, Bang relied on the mentorship provided through the grant, as well as tools and resources available through the Library DME and Collaboratory. The result of her hard work and perseverance was an original and remarkable prototype of a prism. Bang displayed the prototype while discussing her process with the project. Without lights, it presented as a fun, and whimsical art installation, which would playfully reflect sunlight during the day. When the lights turned off, and the prism lights turned on, the room erupted in awe. The prism lit up beautifully, achieving the reaction Bang had hoped for. While addressing public safety by increasing lighting within public spaces, Bang’s hope for the project is that “it also becomes an opportunity for people to be able to take a moment out of their day and immerse themselves with the art.”


Harm Reduction TO by Alannah Fricker

Alannah Fricker was the final presenter of the evening. A fourth-year social work student in the Faculty of Community Services, Fricker presented her website Harm Reduction TO. As part of the Ryerson Harm Reduction team, she applied for the grant with the intent to further complete a website that addresses drug use and sexual health stigma.

Fricker, who has also worked in Ryerson’s Office of Social Innovation, worked with Library DME mentors, Librarians and used Library resources to enhance her project management, content creation, and ‘front end’ design skills as well as UX assessment techniques. Through extensive research, and managing team members and their contributions, the result of the project is a comprehensive resource, which provides “evidence-based harm reduction information, community supports, materials for skill development, and resources to promote community safety and well-being,” said Fricker.


The showcase was an exciting event. All students presented inspiring and thoughtful projects, which they intend to continue to work on, update and improve. 

“The evening highlighted the creativity, passion and innovation of Ryerson students. It was such a pleasure to see the amazing work of these four grant recipients and to see the many ways the process advanced their learning and digital literacy skills,” said Shepstone. “We are so pleased to see how these students embraced these grants and this unique experiential learning opportunity.”


Event details:

On Thursday, Nov. 14 student recipients of the 2019 Library Creators Grant showcased their grant projects.

These dynamic projects, which ranged from documentary film to kaleidoscopic light prisms, each addressed specific social issues that impact our lives, our city, and our culture.


Date: Thursday, Nov. 14

Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Toronto Metropolitan University Library, 4th Fl, LIB 405