here-there audio archive: stories from the Asian Canadian diaspora

Now online at here-there.ca

A screenshot of the here-there landing page, featuring an introductory text to the project and illustrations by Joshua Advincula.

Is there a point where you can feel like you’ve done your due diligence to learn everything about your heritage? How do you reconnect with your culture and identity in moments when you feel too Canadian? Where do you consider home?

here-there.ca is an experimental audio archive that invites members of the Asian Canadian diaspora to contemplate these nuanced questions together. This community arts project strives to amplify community voices, facilitate meaningful conversations, and enhance public awareness of the diversity of the Asian Canadian experience.

The archive is made up of a series of anonymous audio stories shared by members of the Asian Canadian diaspora. Each story is inextricably linked to the next through a “pass-it-on” structure that weaves a rich anthology of lived histories and experiences. The “pass-it-on” structure means each contributor begins by answering a question asked by the previous person, and ends their recording by leaving a question for the following person — creating a linear chain that connects all the stories.

A screenshot of an audio story room. Each room includes the contributor’s question, audio recording, and transcript. Built-in accessibility buttons are featured on the right side of the screen.

The archive prioritizes web accessibility and contributor agency. Each recording occupies its own room, where the contributor has been given the space to tell their story. The colour of these rooms reflect the personal choice of each contributor. All audio files are transcribed to offer multiple avenues to access the stories. Text size and visual contrast are ensured through contrast and text-resizing buttons. All colours on the site are coded as HTML colour names alt-text, ensuring an inclusive experience for folks using screen readers. The site also includes a guestbook for visitors to share their personal thoughts and experiences.

The here-there index (library) page featuring the wide variety of stories collected in the archive. Each coloured band reflects the personal colour selection of each contributor.

Illustrator Collaboration

Five Asian Canadian illustrators (Joshua Advincula, Toko Hosoya, Jeffrey Kam, Diana Nguyễn, Kendra Yee) created illustrations to celebrate the launch of the archive. Each illustration is a considered visual response to an audio recording of their choice. These limited edition risograph prints are currently available for purchase at the here-there shop.

A limited edition series of risograph posters designed for the launch of here-there. Illustrated by Joshua Advincula, Kendra Yee, Toko Hosoya, Jeffrey Kam, and Diana Nguyễn (left to right).

We invite all interested individuals to visit here-there.ca and support the project at the here-there shop.

here-there.ca was developed with the generous funding support of the Canada Council for the Art’s Digital Now grant.

Bio

here-there collective (Michelle Kuan, Michelle Lu, Emi Takahashi) is a group of interdisciplinary artists who proudly identify as members of the Asian Canadian diaspora. Their artistic practice decenters the Western principles of art and design, and prioritizes their own cultural knowledge and lived experiences. They regularly collaborate with other BIPOC artists and are deeply committed to creating opportunities for professional artists and arts workers belonging to traditionally marginalized communities.

Contact

Instagram: @herethere_stories
Email: herethere.stories@gmail.com