Fearless City

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Summary of organization/program

Fearless City Mobile is the mobile technology piece of a larger grassroots effort to build the W2 Community Media Centre for our inner-city Vancouver neighbourhood. Fearless represents the effort of our residents working together to break the digital divide and learn about appropriate technology to overcome marginalization and support self-representation.

Contact information


Geographic region

  • Local 


  • Marginalized residents of the downtown east side
  • They are starting a new project targeted at recruiting aboriginal youth

History/Background Information

  • Since: 2006 (had beginnings as a print publication and evolved)
  • Umbrella Organization: Yes (DTES Community Arts Network )
  • Since 2008 Fearless City Mobile has been conducting research and mobile technology engagement events in the community. Fearless is a project with a demonstrated track record and people watching our work from other cities can have confidence that we will continue to ramp up and complete our proposed tasks within the next 10 months. We list this roster (below) to share our experiences, but also demonstrate our capacity and track-record, as we finish our infrastructure pieces in time for the Olympics in February 2010.Mobile Media Labs took place at a street centre for marginalized and street-entrenched DTES residents where they are provided skills or employment training, peer support, referrals and laundry and coffee services. More sessions took place at a mental health cultural centre where artists informed by mental health, trauma, and sexual abuse survivor issues accessed weekly support sessions learning about mobile gear, writing, blogging, and social networking. Other sessions have taken place at a local housing cooperative community room. More than 20 workshops have taken place and fifty DTES residents trained through the program. An additional 40 will be trained during 2009.

    In 2008, we participated with local open source technology activists to help advance hopes of building a neighbourhood mesh network using Meraki network of nodes. Plans were blocked when Meraki changed their terms of use, and no alternate system was put in place, and Fearless focused on other short-term priorities.

Dominant Media Forms

video production

web production


  • Fearless fosters engagement with the community by giving voice to the experiences of local people and amplifying their stories. The community-building dynamic happens in many ways: by providing access to resources and training people in media production; by bringing people together to address community issues and explore the rich culture of the Downtown Eastside; and by cultivating understanding through listening and dialogue. 
  • Fearless is a community arts initiative that prioritizes an inclusive process and involvement of people in media making. Context is central; this media is situated in more public, accessible and resonant places, geared to a specific audience and a specific time. Fearless is reflective of and responsive to the DTES community.

Statement of Principles

not provided 


Fearless City Mobile has programmed a series of live events in and around our inner-city neighbourhood while supporting daily production of community generated media and media artwork.

Mobile Media Labs have taken place every week throughout 2008, promoting a peer-to-peer training methodology and sharing both learning and practical implementation and paid work experiences.

Workshops on a range of topics were held and scheduled in a sequence which builds skills parallel to the many events and research projects conducted throughout the year. Examples include: mobile sound gathering, geotagging data, mobile uploading, in-camera edits, open source strategies, working with drupal, camera techniques, lighting for mobile video production, overcoming the user interface, primer on mobile technologies, Web 2.0, blogging, and more. Workshop mentors and teachers included some of the most advanced artists and technologists working in mobile technology: Roland TanglaoKris KrugMo SimpsonScott Nelson, Lorraine MurphyAmy KazymerchykIrwin Oostindie.

Samples of work

  • Orality 2.0 (March 2009 Podcaster/Vidcaster Meetup)
Insights into the evolution of the tool and platform of online social media by, placing it into a historical context, surveying its recent past and forecasting on its future impact. This will be viewed in the context of how different technologies affects the stories we tell from an oral culture, to a print culture, to a technology culture and back to a Web 2.0 networked culture.
  • 5 Minutes to Change your World: Documentary Film Contest.
The documentary film contest ‘5 Minutes to Change Your World’ is launching again on March 28th, at Waves Cafe on Broadway at Spruce.

Film is a great tool for communication and right now there is a lot to talk about. Our idea is to have you guys film something of great importance to you, something that will strengthen your communities and provide solutions or just bring awareness into issues you or others are dealing with. The internet is a great tool for communication, like youtube, and we will post your video on the contest website for people all over the world to see.

Global TV news story on Fearless City mobile and the Downtown Eastside context. Broadcast nationally on 16 February 2009.

Funding Sources