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Posted by: Hanna Cho on December 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Originally slated to close on October 23, 2011, the coming close of Bhangra.me on January 1, 2012, is bittersweet.  As one of the longest running exhibitions at the MOV, we'll be sad to see this beautiful and rich feature, disassembled.

Launched on May 5, 2011, Bhangra.me: Vancouver’s Bhangra Story was the culmination of over two years of collaborative research, a mini exhibit (April 2010), two community consultations, and hundreds of hours of primary research.  Bhangra.me was a collaboration with the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, and was co-curated by community researcher Naveen Girn and MOV's Curator of Contemporary Issues Viviane Gosselin

Beginning with an unforgettable opening party on May 4, 2011 where over 500 people joinedVancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson plays the dhol special guest performers - including Mayor Gregor - in a vibrant celebration of this groundbreaking exhibition.

The research and collecting phase helped generate the first historical interpretation of Bhangra’s significance in Vancouver, and demonstrated its role as a cultural tool for inter-cultural bridging during labour disputes, challenging gender roles and re-imagining the definition of Canadian identity.

What the research, design, and curatorial team hoped to accomplish, was not just mount a beautiful exhibition displaying artefacts, but to use the exhibit itself, and related programming in order to catalyze new understandings about intercultural relations, hybrid identities, and strengthen community ties with(in) the South Asian community in Vancouver.

We're honoured to have Bhangra story mapworked with such amazing people, met so many great Bhangra fans, and we look forward to continuing to see, hear, and share Vancouver's bhangra stories on the Bhangra.me Storymap!

For those of you who haven't seen the beautiful touchscreens inside the exhibition, this is one piece of the exhibit, that will live on, indefinitely.  We invite you to add your story to the map, by uploading a photo, anecdote, to what we hope will become the next natural gathering place for Bhangra fans around the world!

Representing another first for the Museum of Vancouver, this hybrid Drupal/Silverlight powered storymap was a collaboration made possible by a community sponsorship from Microsoft Canada, in particular the Open Platforms crew, lead by Nik Garkusha.  A neat mobile version of the storymap was developed for W7 Phones by Redbit.

In all, with just a week left in what has been a truly remarkable journey, we hope you'll come check it out here at MOV, listen and dance, tell us what you think, and continue the conversation online.

Balle balle!

Posted by: Hanna Cho on March 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

On a bright and sunny Saturday morning in February, 75 Moving Through participants embarked on one of three architectural walking tours organized by MOV, as part of a multidisciplinary exploration of Vancouver's built environment, called "This is Not an Architectural Speaker's Series".  As some of you know, the groups were completely full, so not everyone was able to join.  The good news is, we recorded each walk, and the podcasts are now available for listening and download!

Listen: Moving Through Podcasts

Three concurrent walks and groups set out from Stadium/Chinatown Skytrain, Commercial/6th, and King Edward Stations, and joined together for lunch and an all-group  Q&A and wrap-up session lead by Gordon Price at SFU Woodwards.  Our intrepid guides report:

Mini-Walk A: The Path(s) Not Taken: Viaducts, Expressways, and Almost Vancouvers.

(*Guides: Vancouver Public Space Network, Michael Green, mgb architecture)

Most Vancouverites rarely spend any time in the parking lot across from Rogers Arena, but standing there looking up at the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, it is easy to feel like you've been transported to the overpass wasteland more typical of LA or Detroit.

Demian Rueter and Brandon Yan, transportation coordinators from the Vancouver Public Space Network and Michael Green of mgb architecture have thought a lot about these overpasses and about what could have been if the downtown freeway started in the early 1970s had been completed. Walking through Gastown, it is easy to see what would have been lost. The European style streetscape that was jeered for so long as a tourist trap left behind by Expo 86 has become in recent years a dependably fun spot for a night out and home to some of the city's best restaurants. If the freeway had been built, not only would this be lost, but also large chunks of Strathcona and Chinatown. By passionately opposing this plan, the residents of these neighbourhoods prevented this plan from occurring. A widely forgotten casualty of the project was Hogan's Alley, the neighbourhood Vancouver's Black community called home.

When we start to think about these great neighbourhoods surrounding the viaducts, it's easy to imagine that parking lot becoming something really exciting if the viaducts were to come down.

Mini-Walk B: Speed and the Shape of the City: Vancouver’s Evolving Transitscapes

(*Guides: Andrew Curran/Translink & Graham McGarva, VIA Architecture)

Graham McCarva sees transit stations differently than most people. Graham was the lead architect behind Commercial/Broadway station, it is informative to walk with him through the station and surrounding neighbourhood. "A subway station is a place to buy flowers," he told us, a place where everyone should feel comfortable walking past at any hour. This idea informed the of this station, which responded to neighbourhood concerns of unsavoury characters commanding the intersection. Previously the location of the busiest pay phone in the region, it is now home to the busiest Shopper's Drug Mart. The main action on the Drive used to be north of 1st Ave, but since the station was renovated the neighbourhood has grown right down to 12th Ave.

Andrew Curran, senior planner at Translink, introduced the concept of Marchetti's Constant, and helped put the station into historical perspective, explaining that this, the highest traffic station in the system, serves the same function as did the former streetcar station (now a post office) at 6th and Commercial. Like the streetcar station before it, Commercial/Broadway Station connects two suburban lines to lines bound for Downtown (and UBC), moving thousands of people each day.

Andrew and Graham sparked many questions among the group, making the ride to SFU Woodwards a lively one. We were better able to see the role that transit has played in the development of the lower mainland, and puzzle over the role that the Canada Line and other future lines will play in the area's ongoing growth.

Mini-Walk C: Evolution in Station-Area Planning the Cambie Corridor

(*Guides: Jim Bailey, City of Vancouver & Peeroj Thakre, pH5 architecture & Urban Republic Arts Society)

Tucked beneath the streets at King Edward Skytrain station, Jim Bailey, senior planner for the City of Vancouver's Cambie Corridor Station Area Planning project, led us through an engaging discussion about this interesting, and perhaps under-discussed area of Vancouver. Ranging from the Cambie Village to Marine Drive, Bailey divides the area into 5 Precincts, suggesting each has room for development of a unique character and livelihood. However, while single family homes are currently at a market value of $1.5million near King Ed station, it is clear that increased density will be necessary for more affordable living situations. As we walked through the laneways surrounding the station, Peeroj and Jim discussed with the group, how optimizing transit, cycling, and walking opportunities, as well as increasing public amenities, and opportunities for community engagement will be key for the future of the Cambie Corridor.

See the Moving Through photoset here.

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