project team







About the Project

Catch + Release: Mapping stories of cultural and geographic transition is a project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Research/Creation in the Fine Arts Grant (2009-2012), awarded to artist Dr. Ruth Beer (Emily Carr University of Art and Design) as Principal Investigator and two co-investigators: art education scholar professor Kit Grauer (University of British Columbia) and interactive designer Jim Budd (Emily Carr). The project addresses the mapping of stories of cultural and geographic transition in the context of global changes within coastal communities that once relied on fishing.

The research and development of this interdisciplinary art project is focused on the creation of ‘interactive storyscapes’ – sensor- enabled physical installations which use multimedia techniques to provide viewers with an immersive experience of stories about the origins of their community together with the potential to add to the project by self-authoring stories of their own experience.

The establishment of the historic fishery in Steveston within the city of Richmond BC, was one of the primary reasons for the multicultural immigration that helped to foster the settlement, economic development and social growth of this west coast community.  Our study has examined the geographic, social and cultural origins of the community today by integrating historic artifacts and archival material with interactive storyscapes of the present.  The research for the project has been built on partnership with the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Heritage Site, Steveston, BC. By applying new media, sensor technologies and tangible interactive tools designed to insert and overlay stories from the community together with those told through the museum, the underlying goal of this project has been to create active viewer participation leading to a more immersive experience of storytelling and self-authorship; “catching” and “releasing” stories from the community into the public sphere.  “Catch and Release” proposed to advance an encounter with history as critical inquiry into contemporary life of the city. The research investigates and presents an interactive sensory image of the origins of Steveston as a reflection of how the community is perceived today.

In the first year of the project an exhibition, Disrupting Currents: Catch + Release took place in March 2010 at VIVO Media Arts in Vancouver, a not for profit media production and exhibition centre. The next iteration of the multi-part installation was exhibited in the Parks Canada Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, in Steveston, BC, Canada in May 2010. Haida Gwai Museum in Haida Gwai, BC will host the exhibition in October 2012. The project is intended to be adaptable to the local conditions in other coastal cities in the world.