PhoneMe Poetry: Mapping Community in the Digital Age




community engagement, digital literacy, place-based literacy, mobile poetry, collaborative research


In this paper we explore how place-based poetry mediated online enabled community self-representation. Located in the urban core of a large cosmopolitan Canadian city, the PhoneMe project brought together academic researchers and community members into a collaborative educational creative space. Community members created poems about specific places within their neighbourhood, dialed a designated phone number, and recorded the poem by leaving a voice message. Upon receiving the message, the academic team geotagged it on an interactive map, uploaded the poem’s text, featured a Google Streetview image of the location, and shared the post via social media. As the result, a new vision for this distinctive physical space emerged and reached the wider audiences via engagement with the poetic digital media.

Author Biographies

Natalia Balyasnikova, York University

is an Assistant Professor at York University, Faculty of Education. Her research explores older immigrants’ educational engagement in community-based settings. Using narrative ethnographic methods, she merges traditional ethnographic data generation with arts-based activities, such as poetry, drama, and storytelling. 

Kedrick James, University of British Columbia

Kedrick James is the Director of the Digital Literacy Centre in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. His research interests span ecological and digital poetics, automation of literacy, and network theory. Recent projects include PhoneMe, geotagged social media for poets, Glitch Pedagogy, using disruptive strategies to reveal algorithmic processes, and Digital DIY exploring computational thinking through haptic play. Recent publications include Poetic Inquiry: Enchantment of Place (2017), a co-edited volume published by Vernon Press.


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How to Cite

Balyasnikova, N., & James, K. (2021). PhoneMe Poetry: Mapping Community in the Digital Age. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 6(2), 107–134.



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