Arts & Culture

Zube Series - Spring 2013

The Zube lecture series is named for Ervin Zube, former head of LARP from 1974 to 1980. Professor Zube is internationally known for his leadership in developing a culture of academic research in the profession of landscape architecture. His research made numerous seminal contributions to landscape planning theory and practice.****

Italian Literature with Nina Cannizzaro

Renaissance Forbidden Texts. Wednesdays 5-7pm, Cheney Room at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies. 6 sessions: March 13th and 27th. April 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th. No familiarity with the Italian language or literature expected or needed. Informal classes for the community. Free of charge and open to all. Registration is required by phone at 413-577-3600 or by email at Some of the topics to be broached include: Medieval condemnation of books and individuals vs.

Shakespeare with Normand Berlin.

Tuesdays, 7-9pm, April 2, 9, 16, 23. Cheney Room at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies. We will discuss two Roman plays--the cool Julius Caesar and the hot Antony and Cleopatra. Please read the plays beforehand. Informal classes for the community. Free of charge and open to all. Registration is required by phone at 413-577-3600 or by email at

Molecular Playground

While the public can appreciate the beauty of a flower, the molecular basis of nature goes largely unnoticed. Indeed, the inherent beauty of molecules is rarely communicated to the public. This project has developed a system for displaying large-scale interactive molecules in prominent public spaces, beginning with installations at UMass and the Springfield Science Museum, expanding (so far) to 7 installations world wide.

People of the Book Reading Discussion Group

This reading discussion group, open to the whole community, began with a grant from the American Library Association and Nextbook, Inc., as part of a program entitled "Let's Talk about It: Jewish Literature". Each discussion is led by a Five College faculty member. The group met for its first five years at the National Yiddish Book Center, located on the Hampshire College campus. It then moved to Amherst College for one year and is now based at the Jones Library in Amherst.

Williston Writer's Series

The Williston Writer's Series, at the Williston Northampton School, brings in four writers in the fall semester. Each presents an hour long talk to which the public is invited and then speaks to a writing class for an hour. Since its inception, the series has hosted an impressive group of accomplished authors, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Richard Russo (Empire Falls), Tracy Kidder P'92 (The Soul of a New Machine), and Philip Caputo (A Rumor of War).

Five College Magnet Theatre Residency

Cape Town-based Magnet Theatre will be in residency at UMass in Winter 2013. The residency will feature its artists Mark Fleishman, Jennie Reznek, Faniswa Yisa, and Neo Muyanga and will be centered on four performances of Magnet’s two-woman play, “Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking,” which is also part of the Department of Theater’s 40th Anniversary Season. The resident artists will visit classes, give guest lectures and demonstrations at several of the Five Colleges, and join UMass Assistant Professor of Theater Dr. Megan Lewis for the 2012 Rand Lecture.

Youth Multimodal Literacies

This multi-year, multi-site ethnographic research project seeks to study youth multimodal literacy development. In collaboration with community partners, we have established free, afterschool/out-of-school multimodal literacy programs. These programs engage youth from marginalized backgrounds in positive development practices (such as identity formation and group building), teach them artistic and technical skills, and promote their growth as leaders and agents of change. We seek to explore what students learn from participating in these voluntary literacy practices.

Hip Hop Nation Language and Literacy Practices

This service learning class, EDUC 218, explores the relationship between hip hop culture and the language and literacy practices of global youth cultures, while introducing students to the theory and practice of social justice hip hop pedagogy (SJHHP). Students, with a 1-credit field site placement, help Student Bridges (a student-initiated outreach program) to plan “Hip Hop (R)evolution.” This event—held at Peck Middle School in Holyoke—promotes college awareness, and celebrates talented youth, through an evening of performances, food, workshops, and a College Resource Fair.

Viewing Violence Critically: A Media Literacy Program

Every Spring semester, undergraduate students enrolled in COMM 426 Media Violence and graduate students from the Department of Communication visit Deerfield Elementary School to offer a 5- or 6-session media literacy unit to all three sixth grade classrooms at the school. The UMass students (graduate and undergraduate) design the unit, creating PowerPoint slides to convey the material, choosing media clips to analyze and critique, and devising interactive assignments and homework questions for the 6th graders. Then they visit the schools to offer the unit they have designed. Prof.

Children, Teens, and Media

In this service learning course, COMM338, undergraduates volunteer with 3rd-graders who are participating in Amherst Cinema’s See-Hear-Feel-Film (SHFF) Program. Volunteers watch short animated films with the children, facilitate word games, help them collaboratively create stories, and work with them to create storyboards.

Spanish Language Media & Latina/o Cultural Production

In this service learning course, undergraduates partner with local, Latina/o media producers—like WFCR's 'Tertulia'—to produce stories of interest to Latina/o communities. For example, a student article on the Nurturing Fathers Program, at Enlace de Familias in Holyoke, was published in La Prensa. Working with media outlets which lack staff, students explore the question, “What does it mean to be a community-based media outlet?”

Digital Media and the Built Environment

In this service learning class, undergraduates partner with a teacher at The High School of Science & Technology in Springfield, helping facilitate a high school class introducing students to larger concepts of media and communication studies. Undergraduates and high school students work in teams, developing lectures and designing classes, which the teams then co-present to the high school students’ classmates.

Classics Department

The Master of Arts in Teaching graduates go out to teach Latin in secondary schools all over the country and introduce the ancient western world to new generations of students. The program leads to a middle- and high-school (grades 5-12) teaching certificate in Latin and Classical Humanities valid in 30 states within the Interstate Certification Compact.

Renaissance Center Wednesday Lecture Series

The Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies is leader in the interdisciplinary study of the culture of the Renaissance period. The Center offers free, hour-long, general interest, informal talks on wide-ranging topics by local or visiting scholars; discussion and refreshments follow each talk. The Renaissance Center is an internationally leading center for the interdisciplinary study of the culture and achievements of the Renaissance period, contributing to Renaissance studies through research, teaching, and outreach to the campus, the Amherst community, and beyond.

Urban Design and Planning Summer Project

This project involved Springfield youth between the ages of 14 and 17 in a summer learning program about the urban design and planning of the city of Springfield. Taught by faculty with professional backgrounds in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning, the three-week summer course gave the students an idea of the concepts behind these professions, perhaps opening up new avenues of thinking in regard to “what do you want to be when you grow up.”

Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival

In the spring of 2013, the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary season. Designed as an annual semester-long series of film offerings for students, faculty, and the interested public, the MMFF presents the best of new fiction, documentary and experimental filmmaking by international filmmakers.

Springfield Stories

The Springfield Stories project develops a pilot demonstration project to show how locative media technology (video on website and mobile devices) can aid in efforts to spur community engagement and economic development in downtown Springfield. Video performances (narrative stories, songs, dances, etc.) by local Springfield youth relate their experiences and perceptions of the city.

Public History Program

The program develops innovative public projects that engage a broad range of audiences outside the University. Massachusetts boasts a rich network of museums, archives, historical societies, documentary filmmakers, and historic preservation agencies, as well as one of the top public research universities in the nation. Since 1986, the public history program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has provided a vital link between the University and the Commonwealth's wide variety of institutions that preserve and communicate history to the public.

Mothers and Girls Dancing Together: A Study of Physical Activity

Like African American women, African American girls suffer disproportionately from obesity. The increased prevalence of obesity has been associated with an increased incidence of pediatric Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). A factor associated with the increased prevalence of obesity and T2DM in children is a decrease in their physical activity levels. Reductions in physical activity are more prevalent in African American girls and women; therefore effective physical activity interventions are needed.

UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield

The UMass Amherst Design Center promotes collaboration between the City of Springfield, MA and the university, and has been located in Springfield since 2010. Faculty and students from UMass Extension, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, and the Art and Architecture program all work with the Springfield Planning Department on revitalizing the cultural and commercial heart of Springfield. Two to four studio projects are held per semester, where students and faculty actively engage the community in forums, gatherings, and presentations regarding their work.

Population 7

Population 7 is an urban art laboratory with a vision of making a tangible impact on the culture of public art in Springfield. Located in the upper Lyman Warehouse District, two studios in 2010 and this public art studio in 2011 studied and implemented public art installations. Work was produced by Professor Frank Sleegers and graduate students Elizabeth Englebretson, Carli Foster, Doris Yiwei Huang, and Eric Wojtowicz, although undergraduates also participate in the studios.

New England Public Radio

New England Public Radio, with headquarters planned for Springfield, MA (to be occupied in 2014), delivers exceptional NPR and local news, information, music, and cultural programming on air and online. We are WFCR News and Music at 88.5 FM and at other frequencies throughout the Berkshires. And we are all-news WNNZ AM 640 and 91.7 FM. It’s all at, all the time.