Reflections on Orange Shirt Day

This is a re-post from Redefining Traditional in acknowledgement of Orange Shirt Day, a day to honour the lives of children impacted by the residential school system and its continued effect in Indigenous communities across the country. Our Design Researcher at the Innovation Hub, Heather Watts, has shared a thoughtful piece on the significance of this day – one that every individual should deeply reflect on. We also recognize that our learning about and with Indigenous folx and histories does not and should not be located only on specific days, and should be ongoing.


Heather Watts, Design Researcher

Last year around this time, I wrote the following post on my Facebook page: 

A lot of feelings as I dropped Nico off this morning, sporting his orange shirt. Today is Orange Shirt Day, a day designed to educate people and promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact this system had on Indigenous communities for more than a century in Canada, and still does today. 

This system was assimilation and erasure packaged and tied as ‘education’. What do we mean when we use this word? What are we teaching? What are we intentionally leaving out? What narrative are we working to maintain? 

Stories Through Research Spotlight: Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health and Vulnerability of Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) Living in Toronto

This guest blog post is part of our Stories Through Research Series: Learning from UofT Researchers on How Students are Impacted by COVID-19. Each post in this series highlights three UofT research projects helping us understand student experiences and challenges in these unprecedented times. Each spotlight includes a blog post and scheduled zoom session for individuals from all areas of the University to come together as we listen, learn, and share important elements that must be engaged through conversation. Learn more at uoft.me/storiesthroughresearch.

Icon resembling communitity with the colours and designs inspired by the LGBTQ+ flag.

Centering SGM voices for inclusive models of care. 

Project Team: Jessica Fields (UofT), James Gibb (UofT), Sarah Williams (UofT), Ali Greery (UofT), Leela McKinnon (UofT) 

To get in touch with and meet the team, come to our live zoom session next week, August 27th.

Stories Through Research Spotlight: Our Languages, Our Lives and the Global Pandemic

This guest blog post is part of our Stories Through Research Series: Learning from UofT Researchers on How Students are Impacted by COVID-19. Each post in this series highlights three UofT research projects helping us understand student experiences and challenges in these unprecedented times. Each spotlight includes a blog post and scheduled zoom session for individuals from all areas of the University to come together as we listen, learn, and share important elements that must be engaged through conversation. Learn more at uoft.me/storiesthroughresearch.

Two speech bubbles overlapping with an icon of a globe in the top right-hand corner

Thinking deeply about how language in students’ lives has shifted during a pandemic.

Project Team: Dr. Maya Abtahian (University of Rochester’s Department of Linguistics) and Dr. Naomi Nagy (University of Toronto’s Department of Linguistics) 

To get in touch with and meet the team, come to our live zoom session next week, August 26th.

Stories Through Research Spotlight: Going Viral – COVID-19 and Risk in Young Adult Health Behaviour Models

This guest blog post is part of our Stories Through Research Series: Learning from UofT Researchers on How Students are Impacted by COVID-19. Each post in this series highlights a UofT research project helping us understand student experiences and challenges in these unprecedented times. Each spotlight includes a blog post and scheduled zoom session for individuals from all areas of the University to come together as we listen, learn, and share important elements that must be engaged through conversation. Learn more at uoft.me/storiesthroughresearch.

Icon of a hand holding up an icon of an individual with a heart to convey support and trust

How are young adults experiencing fear and being brave as their worlds, online and offline, transform in the pandemic?

Project Team: Dr. Madeleine Mant (UTM), Dr. Alyson Holland (McMaster), and Dr. Andrew Prine (Groves Memorial Community Hospital)

To get in touch with and meet the team, come to our live zoom session next week, August 25th.