Your Guide to Toronto’s First CRAM Festival

Posted by York & U on March 14, 2019

Student Life

Explore and celebrate some of the world’s most exciting questions, ideas and perspectives – for free! Have you ever wondered if the future of design is multi-sensory? How gravity affects our perceptions of ourselves? Or how the health of bees can influence our own food supply? Find answers during the City of Toronto’s first-ever CRAM festival on April 5 – a one of a kind learning festival that gives GTA residents a chance to discover the ground-breaking research of Toronto’s four universities. Several events are taking place right here on Keele Campus at Vari Hall!

CRAM will feature research and discoveries from York University, the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and OCAD University and bring ground-breaking research out of the lab and into a festival styled setting across multiple venues in the city. It is the first learning festival of its kind in Canada and the best part is, you get to be a part of it!

Volunteer for the first ever CRAM Festival through their online central volunteer portal!

The festival will feature 30+ free, innovative, interactive and entertaining events at four different venues, and the events on York U campus will take place from 5 to 11 p.m. in Vari Hall. If you want to more than a spectator you could also consider volunteering: all student volunteers will be able to add their CRAM volunteer work to their co-curricular record.

Volunteer roles include event setup (2 to 5 p.m.), general event day volunteers (4:30 to 11:30 p.m.), photographers, event greeters, registration assistance, direction help and session ambassadors (5 to 11 p.m.). The deadline to sign up is tomorrow – Friday, March 15 and you can sign up through CRAM’s central volunteer portal.

Kick off the festival before it officially starts with an audio guide specific to Toronto transit!

5:00 p.m. – Transcendent Transit: An Underground Talk for the Subway Commute to CRAM @ York

Presenter: Taien Ng Chen, a sessional assistant lecturer in cinema and media, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

The journey is the destination for this audio guide that is uniquely designed to be listened to while you’re on transit. It explores how your daily ride to work or school can offer more personal potential than just waiting for the next train. It encourages listeners to turn everyday commuting into a creative or meaningful practice by exploring the visual, aural and sensuous details to the material and social layers of place.

Taien will be at the York University subway station between 5 to 5:45 p.m. to engage with listeners!

6 p.m. and 9 p.m. – Shadowpox: The Antibody Politic

Presenter: Alison Humphrey, PhD student, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

This full-body video game lets you see the invisible effects that your choice to vaccinate, or not, has on those around you. Shadowpox debuted during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, where The Lancet called it “one of the most powerful and playful ways to illustrate both the individual and population-level implications of community immunity.”

Learn about the “clean” genes in honey bees and how it impacts us here!

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Busy Bees: The Secret Obsession of Nature’s Neatniks

Presenter: Amro Zayed, associate professor & York research chair, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science.

Humans are social beings. So are honey bees. They groom each other, clean their surroundings and even eject sick or diseased larvae from the colony to ensure the health of the hive. In fact, cleaning is in their DNA! Learn about the discovery of the bee’s “clean” genes and the belief that this unconscious drive can be harnessed to help improve bee health and ensure our food security.

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – Soundpainting: More Than Meets the Ear

Presenter: Doug Van Nort, assistant professor & Canada research chair in digital performance, Departments of Computational Arts and Music, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design

Soundpainting is an elaborate musical language that combines traditional conducting, sign language and movement arts and the presenter will use it to conduct the Electro-Acoustic Orchestra, a 10-20-member ensemble that mixes York University music students and Toronto-area professionals. Look for performers positioned around the hall taking advantage of the unique acoustics of the space!

Interested in research position at York? Learn about Research at York (RAY) here.

8 p.m. Presidential Panel: Renegade Research: Partnering with Communities for Change

Panellists: Rhonda Lenton, president & vice-chancellor, York University; Karen Burke, associate professor, Department of Music, York University; Richard Marsella, executive director, Regent Park School of Music; Jenny Foster, professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies; and Shannon Holness, neighbourhood and environmental improvement co-ordinator, Toronto Community Benefits Network.

Join York’s President Rhonda Lenton in a discussion of two examples of programs built with community activists – they’re changing the world through powerful visual and auditory experiences. The Humans of Connections Project seeks to reconcile the fracture one community experienced when over a hundred households were displaced. The Regent Park School of Music is leading an innovative music program that’s changing the lives of students and parents. And you’ll get to hear the results when the stars of the music program perform!

That’s just a sample of some of the amazing events that you can sign up for at the CRAM festival on April 5! Check out their schedule and create your own agenda for the evening. All events are free, but space is limited.

Learn more about the festival at today or email questions to