Cultural Mapping Project Invites Vancouver Island Participants


A new cultural mapping project by Vancouver Island University researchers aims to examine and map areas of Courtenay, Nanaimo, and Port Alberni by inviting residents to talk about the places in which they feel most connected to their community. 

'Where Is Here?' cultural mapping project engages residents of these Vancouver Island communities in a video/mapping adventure to learn what residents value about their downtowns. Participants are asked to tell a story on video about the place within the downtown core of their resident city in which they “feel most connected to their community”. Videos (maximum of two minutes each) of residents talking about their ‘connect-spots’ are uploaded onto an online map that is accessible to the wider public.

The community mapping project began in February and runs through April, 2016. 

‘Where is Here’ Nanaimo is scheduled for Saturday, April 2 at the Nanaimo Museum (100 Museum Way in Downtown Nanaimo). Groups of participants will meet at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., and will walk through the downtown core together – learning about and filming each person’s ‘connect-spot’ along the way. Participants will be asked to tell a story – why is this place important to you? Why do you feel connected here? The event takes place rain or shine. Learn more about the Nanaimo event and how to participate here

The Courtenay leg of the project, which took place on March 5 at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, connected with a larger Downtown Revitalization conversation being activated by the City of Courtenay. 

The Port Alberni date has not yet been announced. Check back at for details. 

Who Can Participate?

Residents of Nanaimo and Port Alberni who care about the future of their community, particularly their downtown area, are encouraged to participate. Participants must be willing to allow the videos of themselves and their ‘connect spots’ to be displayed online for an indefinite period of time.

How to Participate

Sign up by emailing Sharon Karsten: In your message, please state: a) your name and city, b) your downtown ‘connect-spot’, and c) a description of why this spot is important to you. Entries will be reviewed, and participants selected to reflect a diversity of perspectives.


The second component of the broader project is a symposium taking place July 20-22, 2016, in Courtenay. The event will bring together over 25 specialists in cultural mapping – including municipal developers, artists and academics from colleges and universities across the province to discuss strategies and approaches to cultural mapping (and cultural development broadly) within small cities. Programming will include panel discussions, keynote speeches, and art interventions programmed by the Comox Valley Art Gallery. The full symposium line-up will be released in March, 2016.

More Information

To learn more, visit


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