In spring 2018, the university launched Building Bridges, an initiative designed to foster new connections among UMass community members who come from greatly varied backgrounds and hold differing perspectives. It provides an opportunity, no matter what your role or job may be on campus, to become actively engaged.
There are three core projects that are part of Building Bridges, including art installations and two courses—Our Immigrant Voices, which seeks to amplify the voices of immigrant workers on campus; and Showcasing Worker Artists at UMass, which explores ways of highlighting the art created by UMass employees.
As part of the initiative, there will also be events and lectures. Students, faculty and staff are invited to get involved in Building Bridges in a way that feels meaningful to them, whether by attending an event, hosting their own event or contributing to the Building Bridges art installation.
Building Bridges Showcase Event
April 9, 2019
UMass Fine Arts Center Atrium
A one-day, drop-in event to celebrate the creative work of staff, students and faculty as we build new connections across the UMass community. This event will feature an exhibition of worker art, displays by immigrant workers, food, workshops, live music, spoken word and performances
About the Art Installations
The Building Bridges art installations feature cards designed by campus community members during the spring 2018 semester. Each card individually answers the questions: “What differences do you want to bridge and/or connect, and how can we accomplish this goal?” When assembled, these cards create a mosaic that spells out the words “building bridges.” The mosaic is then displayed on an 11-foot tower featuring the phrase “building bridges” in multiple languages.
Want to get involved? Contact us to get a set of Building Bridges cards to contribute to the art installation.
Spring 2019 Building Bridges Classes
About Our Immigrant Voices
This course seeks to amplify the voices of immigrant employees on campus. Photographs and stories gathered in this course will be displayed around campus and will highlight the diversity of UMass as well as elevate the contributions of the campus’ immigrant employees.
About Showcasing Worker Artists at UMass
This course will bring together worker artists and others to explore ways of highlighting the art created by UMass employees. It aims to recognize essential workers—those who may clean the restrooms, serve food in dining halls, tend the grounds or engage in clerical tasks—and celebrate their artistic talents in a way that enriches the UMass community.
Sharing Our UMass Stories: A Writing & Performance Workshop
The people who work at UMass have powerful life stories to share. Do you have a life outside of UMass that students and staff don’t get to see? This five-session writing and performance workshop teaches you how to craft writing that shares what’s most important about you.
Worker Rights as Civil Rights
The documentary “At the River I Stand” tells the story of the 1968 Memphis, Tennessee sanitation workers strike and its connection to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement, and AFSCME's early organizing of public sector workers in the South. This three-session course will use this film to look at an important moment in history. We will also use the issues the film raises as a basis for class participants to discuss your own experiences and perspectives, as we explore together the ways in which worker rights connect to civil rights.