"All good things come to an end..." or do they?
The Bhangra.me interactive storymap project has marked exciting new directions for the Museum of Vancouver in realizing the multiple ways in which we, as a community, can deepen our connections to one another.
For government, arts and culture organizations, and technologists alike, the challenge of storytelling has become more complex as we transition from the town square and into a web-based world. After the colourful Bhangra.me walls come down at the end of December, wrapping up an extremely successful 7-month exhibition, the interactive storymap means that we are able to continue sharing personal tales of bhangra culture in Vancouver.
Borne of a conversation between the MOV's curator of audience engagement, Hanna Cho, and Nik Garkushka from Microsoft, a strong desire was hatched to bridge new forms of web-based and mobile tools with civic conversation around bhangra history in Vancouver. From there, the challenge would be developing the resources, knowledge and connections necessary to bring the storymap to life.
Lucky for us, Nik had a strong interest in using (excuse the jargon) MSFT tools around Silverlight to be inter-operable with Drupal and Open Source platforms, and commissioned Mark Arteaga of RedBit, and Aaron McGowan to create the customized Bhangra.me map. Wildly exceeding our expectations, they not only created the online interface that drives www.bhangra.me, but they also developed the standalone mapping application that has been displayed inside the built Bhangra.me exhibition space.
We are sincerely thankful to Nik, Mark, and Aaron for their finely tuned dedication to this project as well as the donation of the two touchscreen monitors that have been mounted in the exhibition.
The art of storytelling: revitalized
The next part of the Bhangra.me storymap was completely up to you, as participants, to share your tears, laughter, and secret dance moves with the rest of the world. And you did! From mobile videos to written stories, photographs and slideshows of your personal moments with bhangra culture throughout its interesting history in the Northwest, we saw an entirely new form of social and historical connection take place at the Museum of Vancouver. A connection which saw you, the museum-goer, as directly involved in the make-up of the Bhangra.me exhibition, as well as part of the greater cultural landscape that makes Vancouver so unique.
The MOV's first ever exhibition on the history of south-asian folk dance may be coming to a close, but your ability to share reflections, romances, and realities on your personal history with bhangra will continue to live on through the Bhangra.me interactive online storymap.