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

Originally slated to close on October 23, 2011, the coming close of 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, 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. 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 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: Gala Milne on December 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm

"All good things come to an end..." or do they?

The 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 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 map. Wildly exceeding our expectations, they not only created the online interface that drives, but they also developed the standalone mapping application that has been displayed inside the built 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 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 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 interactive online storymap.