News Release

REF NO.: 37

SUBJECT: Smartphone app introduces St. John's cultural communities

DATE: January 8, 2018

A new app created by the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP) at Memorial University’s School of Music will take you on a walking tour of neighbourhoods in and around St. John’s, tell you stories and introduce you to the city’s cultural communities.

Neighbours: St. John’s for Android and iOS devices will launch on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the Rocket Room (third floor, Rocket Bakery), 272 Water St., in St. John’s.

The event will feature local storytellers and stories from the app, as well as musical guest Brian Cherwick of the band Kubasonics.

Neighbours presents fascinating stories about individual locations in the city and at popular Middle Cove Beach by simply selecting icons on a map.

“Migration has always been a major component of social life in Newfoundland and Labrador, and its relevance to the province in 2018 has only increased,” said Dr. Harris Berger, director, MMaP, and Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology. “The Neighbours: St. John’s app gives users a unique perspective on the complex, multicultural tapestry that defines our city today.”

Created by award-winning radio documentarian Chris Brookes, the app includes stories from local residents such as Lorraine Michael, social activist and Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly member, talking about her family’s Lebanese grocery store; Mi’kmaw artist Jerry Evans talking about the Shanawdithit monument in Bannerman Park and his connection to Beothuk history; and realtor Bob Button describes his childhood memories of running wine and fetching soccer balls from St. John’s harbour for Portuguese fishermen.

Each story is accompanied by new and archival photographs, storyteller biographies and information about communities and historical events. Stories range from comical reflections on local traditions and experiences to tales that address the challenges faced by newcomers to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Discover the diversity and richness of St. John’s from the comfort of your home or while out for a stroll.

The Neighbours app builds on an oral history project undertaken by MMaP between 2009-11 that focused on cultural diversity in St. John’s. An accompanying website, to be completed in 2018, will feature more than 60 audio stories from that project.

The app is available as a free download through the iOS App Store and Google Play Store and uses your phone’s built-in GPS. It requires no cell connection and there are no data charges.

View a promotional video for Neighbours online.

Neighbours: St. John’s is part of the Back on Track Audio Publication Series produced by MMaP.

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