Krupczynski, Branch to Host Discussion on Building Bridges Initiative

Building Bridges

As part of the Building Bridges initiative, Enobong (Anna) Branch and Joseph Krupczynski will hold a discussion on the origins and impact of the project on Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. at the University Museum of Contemporary Art in the Fine Arts Center.

Branch is associate chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer. Krupczynski is director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning (CESL), associate professor of architecture and lead organizer of Building Bridges.

The two will delve into how Building Bridges helps affirm the importance of respecting difference in the campus community, what the future holds for this initiative, and other climate improvement projects on campus.

The discussion will focus on the goals and history of the project and its impact in light of the current challenges on campus. They will also consider the possible ways the project could continue in the future and touch on other initiatives the Office of Equity and Inclusion is working on for the year ahead.

After the opening discussion between Krupczynski and Branch, the floor will be open to the audience to ask questions and join in a collective brainstorming of ways art can address and confront hate and intolerance on campus.

In spring 2018, the university launched Building Bridges to foster new connections among UMass Amherst community members who come from greatly varied backgrounds and hold differing perspectives. 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.

The Building Bridges art installation at the University Museum of Contemporary Art features cards designed by campus community members during the spring and fall of 2018. 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 three 11‐foot towers featuring the phrase “building bridges” in multiple languages. More mosaics cover the walls of the museum in an expanding display of new cards collected this semester. A working art table is part of the exhibition and invites visitors to add their voice to this large‐scale collaborative project.