Ethnicity & Movement - Toronto

by Maggie Chan

This is an attempt to study the types of movement that citizens of a multilingual/cultural city such as Toronto may perform due to ethnicity and language.

This project is an undergraduate, graphic design thesis. Through the act of 'mapping', I am hoping to study the relationships between language, movement, ethnicity and identity within Toronto. The basis of this project was originally to look at how artistic/design practices can inform or help to comprehend social processes within city space.

Topic: Since Toronto is very much a city defined by cultural enclaves and neighbourhoods, and is a city of immigration, I have chosen to create a project in which I can discover more about how language affects our movement within the city, our identity and our social networks, how language acts as an index for locating ethnicities and what that really means for our day-to-day experiences. For OpenPath participants, I would like to make connections to the language(s) that the person speaks with the places that they go to within Toronto.

I hope to study datasets of different scopes, from the more 'distanced' data of government census results, to more personalized data such as OpenPaths in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of this particular social process. I will also be borrowing visual ethnographic techniques.

The OpenPaths data will help compose a part of my project, in mapping individual experiences (through "subjective", personal data vs. "objective" census data) of how language affects movement within the city.

This project is a personal, school project that I'm very attached to. There will be no need for anyone else to access this data at all and therefore, there will not be anyone else, other than myself, assessing this data.

The result will be an artistic project which will most likely become an installation that includes pieces of information visualization, video, and printed matter to convey the 'findings'. All those who participate (since they will be in Toronto) are definitely invited to the exhibition, otherwise the project will be published online.