Three leading Vancouver artists and the feisty community of South Hill, have combined art and neighbours to create INSIDE STORIES, a surprising and intriguing interactive experience on the web. South Hill is made up of people from around the world. Some are First Nations, most have immigrated from cities and towns far away. Documentary filmmaker Nettie Wild, web designer Jeremy Mendes, and photographer Shannon Mendes, spent seven months recording and shaping extraordinary and moving tales of leaving, of arriving, and of that momentous decision to stay. Come visit South Hill’s virtual street. It’s a place where a click on a house or a shop reveals the people inside and their surprising stories. People, like the tailor, who mends clothes and escaped famine and revolution in China; the teenager, fresh from India, who is bullied at high school; and the Dutch woman and her Chinese neighbour, who teach each other English and Mandarin. In multi-cultural South Vancouver, people from around the world live and work next to each other, but how many really know the people next door? INSIDE STORIES poses the question: if we heard our neighbours’ stories, would we relate to them differently? Can telling your story be a first step in moving from being a stranger to becoming a neighbour? The questions and stories don’t stop here. Visitors to the site are asked to join the ‘hood’ and to contribute their own tale….because everyone has an inside story.  Purpose: The purpose of the INSIDE STORIES website is to embolden people to share their own story and to listen to the stories of others. Our hope is that sharing stories will help people to move from being strangers to being neighbours. Participants: People participate in INSIDE STORIES by viewing the stories. This can happen online, in an un-facilitated setting, or it can happen in a group with facilitation. The nine interactive web stories are meaningful to people of different ages. The youngest storyteller is a teen in high school; the oldest storyteller is a retired man in his 90’s; and the rest are adults in between. The stories depict the real life experiences of people who have come to live in South Vancouver and the issues that they have faced. Some of the topics that come up are prejudice, bullying, depression, isolation, trust, cross-cultural friendship, integration, and language learning.  Outcomes: Create more welcoming communities with the use of thought provoking stories shared by local people with different cultural backgrounds. The stories inspire and model storytelling. They also support identified factors that contribute towards welcoming communities such as intercultural relationships, mutual trust and non-discrimination.

Partners: South Hill Neighbours Society
Time: April 2010 - Ongoing
Location: Vancouver primarily, but since it is a web-based tool, the stories can be accessed from anywhere
Resources Available: Our project is a web-based resource that can be used alone or in the context of facilitated groups.   There is also a facilitation guide available.
Art Modalities: Storytelling/Poetry,

South Vancouver Neighbourhood House
Karen Larcombe or Susan Faehndrich-Findlay
Email: or | Web:
or | Phone: 604-324-6212

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