Ever wonder how your street got its name? What was on the land before your house was built? What mysteries and histories lie beneath the surface of the parking lot, the coffee shop, the bicycle trails, and the convenience store?
When you move into a new home, what information do you receive about the neighborhood? You might be given coupons to local businesses, or maps that direct you to nearby shopping centers or tourist attractions, but the shadow geography—the really interesting stuff—remains a mystery.
I've been working with creative writing and visual arts students at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, in the city of Kelowna, as they have spent the past year pondering some of these questions. First they chose a specific neighbourhood, Kelowna’s historic North End, to research and explore. Then students consulted museum archives, interviewed residents, and took photographs throughout the year.
The product of their efforts and inquiries is Dig Your Neighborhood, a package of art and activities based on a specific geographical and cultural space. Dig Your Neighborhood seeks to introduce residents to the cultural and environmental past, present, and future of their neighborhood; it hopes to creatively connect people to their places of residence, in interesting and interactive ways.

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