Tell us your FWI Story: Mapping Paradise

A year ago,  Mapping Paradise: A Collaborative Art Exhibition, opened to the public. The project, which received a Forward with Integrity grant, brought together artists, community groups, environmental activists and experts from different faculties across McMaster to inspire the creation of a unique collection of artwork and shine a light on a natural gem on McMaster’s doorstep, Cootes Paradise.

Judy Major-Girardin, associate professor of art, spearheaded the project. Below, in a series of brief videos, she reflects on her experiences with Mapping Paradise and talks about why she encourages others to get involved in their own interdisciplinary projects.


Major-Girardin describes Mapping Paradise: A Collaborative Art Exhibition.


Mapping Paradise engaged a number of community-based groups including The Hamilton Naturalists' Club, Dundas EcoPark, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, even local high school students.

Major-Girardin also coordinated with McMaster art professor Briana Palmer, who teaches a collaborative community art course. Palmer invited her existing community partners, CORE (Community Outreach Reaching Everyone), L'ARCHE Hamilton and MICAH House, to participate in the project.

Major-Girardin talks about how she and her project assistants brought these individuals and groups together.


In the lead up to the exhibition, local experts and researchers from the Royal Botanical Gardens, McMaster's Department of History as well as the Faculty of Engineering made presentations to the class on social, historical and environmental issues related to Cootes Paradise.

Major-Girardin talks about how incorporating interdisciplinary perspectives impacted the project.


Major-Girardin talks about how Mapping Paradise has laid the groundwork for future projects and how collaboration can help instructors to learn.


Are are you involved in a project inspired by the principles of FWI?  Has your department or program been transformed because of FWI? If so, we want to hear your story.

Send us a brief description of the project or initiative, as well as your contact information.

This is a great opportunity to share your experiences and raise the profile of your project or initiative at the University as it could be profiled on this website as well as the McMaster Daily News site.

Email your stories here or contact Erica Balch, at (905)525-9140(905)525-9140, extension 26695.