In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.
This Creative Arts grad was the first in Quebec to submit a graphic novel as part of her PhD thesis.
Emanuelle Dufour (Creative Arts, 1999) published her first graphic novel the same year she graduated from her PhD program in Art Education at Concordia University.
Her book, C’est le Québec qui est né dans mon pays!: Carnet de rencontres, d’Ani Kuni à Kiuna (2021) focuses on Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Quebec society and explores the legacies of colonialism.
Dufour included a longer, unedited version of the book in her doctoral thesis making her the first scholar in Quebec to submit a graphic novel as part of her doctoral thesis. She went on to win the Governor General’s gold medal upon graduation.
Dufour always had a passion for art, but it wasn’t until she started at Champlain Saint-Lambert that she had the chance to learn about art theory and practice in the classroom.
She described her experience in Creative Arts as “very open and personalized” where students were invited to explore their art practice in studio classes.
“The quality of the teaching really stands out to me, their passion,” said Dufour.
After Champlain, Dufour enrolled in scenic design at the National Theatre School but quickly felt it wasn’t for her.
She completed a certificate in screenwriting at UQAM, a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and screenwriting at Université de Montreal and went on to do a Master’s in cultural anthropology at Université de Montreal in 2015.
In between her studies, Dufour travelled extensively and said her consciousness was awakened toward Indigenous issues in Canada and in Quebec by meeting Indigenous people all around the world and particularly in New Zealand.
“It made me realize how little I knew about Indigenous history in Quebec,” she said. “I wanted to improve my knowledge about the colonial history of Quebec and Canada.”
While completing her Master’s, Dufour conducted a field study where she interviewed more than 100 Indigenous students and 15 professionals.
She described in her research how adapting education programs and services to Indigenous students’ needs for cultural security can contribute to their retention and success, with a special focus on Kiuna College, the only Indigenous college in Quebec.
Dufour has been collaborating with the administrators and teachers at Kiuna, located in Odanak, Que., for over a decade.
“I had a coup de coeur for this work,” said Dufour. “Everything I learned, it really transformed my identity as a Quebecoise and shifted my paradigms.”
Dufour wanted to make sure that her research findings would be accessible to the public, so she began thinking about a way to explain her thesis in a more digestible way.
She decided to produce a graphic novel along with 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors. Within the first year, her book had sold 11,000 copies.
After completing her PhD, Dufour started working as a pedagogical counsellor at College Ahuntsic, focusing on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work. She also worked as researcher and writer for the City of Montreal’s Reconciliation Strategy along with Cree-Eeyou commissaire Marie-Eve Bordeleau.
Dufour is doing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Centre interuniversitaire d’études et de recherches autochtones (CIERA) – a research centre affiliated with Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke and teaches at Université de Montreal and Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue in different programs focusing on Indigenous media, cultures and ethics.
Dufour’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Don’t worry about the timelines. We are so lucky to have the College system in Quebec. Try new things. Explore and meet people. Try again when you need to. Don’t lose confidence. All our experiences are tools we will have for the future. We have the right to make mistakes. It’s not a race, it’s a journey.”