Building Bridges

Joe Connolly and Jacob Carter standing in front of Building Bridges art panels

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.

Read the news story | Watch the video | 2018 Showcase Photos | 2019 Showcase Photos

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.

2020 Virtual Worker Artists Showcase

Due to the COVID-19 physical distancing measures, the showcase will be held virtually from June 30-July 9. Learn about opportunities to engage in live events and view the online gallery.

Spring 2020 Building Bridges Classes

Our Immigrant Voices

Fridays from 12:30 – 2:00
Class meets on: Feb 7, 13*, 21, 28, March 6, 13, 20, April 14*

This course brings together immigrant employees to get to know each other and discuss their experiences on campus and beyond. Participants and facilitators will work together using Photovoice - where participants take photos to highlight important issues in their lives - to create an exhibit that will be featured at our annual Showcase Event on April 14, 2020. Using storytelling and creative expression, our work together will create new spaces for dialogue with an aim to catalyze meaningful changes in our community. Anyone in the UMass staff community interested in being a part of this course is encouraged to sign up. 
- Yi Sun and Jacob Carter, co-facilitators

Showcasing Worker Artists at UMass

Wednesdays from 1:00 – 2:30
Classes meet on: Feb 13*, 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1, 14*
Location To Be Determined

This course brings together worker artists to get to know each other and explore ways for sharing their own talents and the talents of other worker artists on campus. Participants will be planning for different exhibitions on campus - including our annual Showcase Event on April 14, 2020 at the Fine Arts Center - and how to increase the visibility of worker artists and their art on campus. Anyone in the UMass staff community interested in being a part of this course is encouraged to sign up.
-Joe Connolly and Jacob Carter, co-facilitators

All Our Rights: Joining in Solidarity with Immigrant Workers

Tu/Thur from 1:00 – 2:30
Classes meet on: Tuesday Feb 4, Thursday Feb 13, Tuesday Feb 18, Tuesday April 14
Session #2 will include a free light lunch

As part of our Building Bridges programming looking at worker rights as human rights, this course will examine how we all can work together for immigrant workers’ rights. We will use film, audio, short in-class readings, and, most importantly, your experiences and reflections in class discussion, as we explore historical and current issues, events, and actions over three class sessions. The second session in this course will be an all-campus film showing of "The Hand That Feeds," a short documentary on the 2012 struggle of undocumented immigrants in New York City who join together to demand improved working conditions and pay along with union recognition. Anyone in the UMass staff community interested in being a part of this course is encouraged to sign up.

Facilitated by Harris Freeman, Professor of Legal Research and Writing at Western New England College of Law and Adjunct Faculty at the UMass Labor Center, and co-founder of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Immigrant Protection Project.

Learn more about this year's Building Bridges classes