The Trafalgar hallways hummed with excitement as Grade 8 students prepared for the much-anticipated Paper Dress Vernissage on October 18th.

The event brought together community members to learn about an inquiry-based learning project conducted by McGill’s Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE), in partnership with Traf’s Science Department.

As Caroline Whelan and Megan Fisher explained in their introduction, the group collaborated on choosing the topic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and collaboration continued to be their modus operandi throughout all of the project’s phases last year.

In addition to Professors Limin Jao and Dawn Wiseman, students benefitted from the insight of other mentors, including designer Lucy Riddell, and Melanie Morrison (mother of Grade 8 student Dara Bordeau) whose sister Tiffany went missing in 2006. Tragically, Tiffany’s remains were found four years later.

Science Department Head Christianne Loupelle was excited to share with the rapt audience that night, “I know this type of learning is risky, but the benefits far outweigh the risks: benefits such as fostering curiosity, giving students agency in their learning, failing forward, and valuing process over product.”

Anyone participating in the project or experiencing the presentation about it would certainly agree. To read more about it and see more photos, check out the CBC Indigenous Unit’s post.