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Faculty of Communication & Design
Artist-in-Residence Billy Merasty with Saagajiwe Director Dr. Lila Pine and Charles Falzon, FCAD Dean

Home of Indigenous Creativity Receives New Name and First Artist-in-Residence

Ryerson University’s FCAD (Faculty of Communication and Design) revealed Saagajiwe as the new name for its indigenous centre formally known as ICAD (Indigenous Communication and Design Network). Saagajiwe (an Anishinaabemowin word meaning the first ray of light), received its name during a traditional and highly spiritual shake tent ceremony, earlier this month.   

Lila Pine, Director of Saagajiwe announced today, Billy Merasty as its first ever artist-in-residence. “Billy Merasty is an artist whose connection to the Indigenous community and accomplishments as a performing artist make him well suited to be the first artist-in-residence of Saagajiwe,” says Lila Pine,

Billy Merasty is a Manitoba-born actor and playwright of Cree descent. A well-respected artist in the Indigenous theatre community, he began working professionally for Native Earth Performing Arts in 1983 and has amassed over three decades of stage, film, and television credits. In 2010, Merasty received the order of Manitoba (Order of the Buffalo Hunt) in recognition of his work as an Indigenous role model from Manitoba.

“We are very excited to welcome Billy Merasty to FCAD in partnership with Saagajiwe. His prolific career and significant contribution to promoting the work of Indigenous artists reflects Saagajiwe’s mandate to celebrate this creative community,” says Charles Falzon, FCAD dean.

As the artist-in-residence, he will lead the mentorship program and encourage students to explore Indigenous storytelling.


About Saagajiwe  FCAD’s home for Indigenous art, storytelling and research creation, and mentor of Indigenous students and researchers. Its aim is to foster an understanding of Indigenous worldview(s) among future communicators and creative innovators.  Saagajiwe is an Anishinaabemowin word that means the first ray of light.

About FCAD 
The Faculty of Communication and Design is the cultural and creative hub at Ryerson University. With its nine prestigious schools in media and creative industries, FCAD’s interdisciplinary innovation and education are shaping the future of the creative industries.