Talking Truth @ Smith: Finding your Voice Around Climate Change

Talking Truth @ Smith: Finding your Voice Around Climate Change

Underwater view of coral reef.
Coral reef, Jarvis Island. NOAA Photo by Bernardo Vargas-Ángel.

How can virtual and immersive experiences help us face the realities of climate change? The Knowledgelab and Smith College Libraries will explore this and other questions on Friday April 20, 2018 with our Talking Truth @ Smith  event, a series of workshops and reflective gaming and making activities from 10am – 4pm. The Talking Truth series began at UMass Amherst as an effort by librarians, students, activists, and others to engage communities in dialogue about the impact of our changing environment on our emotional and physical well-being.  

All events held in KnowledgeLab, Seelye B4.

Virtual Reality Experience
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Come to the KnowledgeLab to witness ocean acidification firsthand in a short virtual reality experience.

Finding Your Purpose
Noon – 1 p.m.
UMass Librarian Madeleine Charney will lead a discussion about using her career to build a more sustainable world. Lunch provided; vegan/gluten-free options served.

Identity & Place
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Hands on writing and discussion workshop about the significance of identity and place in a climate chang(ed) world, led by Outreach Librarian Jodi Shaw.

Neilson & Sustainability
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Discussion: How does the new Neilson library facilitate future conversations, making, and scholarship about Climate Change? Janet Spongberg, Josten Library Circulation Coordinator.

Zine Making Workshop
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Zine workshop: “An Open Letter to the Smithies of the Future.” Led by Amanda Ferrara, Archives Associate.

Researchfest at Undesign the Redline

Researchfest at Undesign the Redline

Inspired by the Undesign the Redline exhibit, the Researchfest is a day-long series of presentations on Friday, March 3 by researchers who imagine a future beyond inequality.

Open to the public. 

Researchfest Poster

10:00am – Welcome refreshments; 10:30am – Rigged Cities! Healing from demolition, displacement, disinvestment, with community organizers Terri Baltimore (Hill House,Association, Pittsburgh) and Denys Candy (Jandon Center for Community Engagement) tell the story of Find the Rivers!, a decade – long initiative to transform how residents saw their roles in re-making their neighborhood and Pittsburgh’s future.

2 pm Food Access and Us – SWG 230 students present on the efforts to undesign food deserts in Springfield and Holyoke  (See: Student Research

3:15 pm Sanitized Citizenship, Black Vitality, and the Politics of Futurity in Philadelphia, salon with Professor J.T.Roane, McPherson/Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow.  Read the blog post on “Locating Black Queer Pasts” for a preview.

4:30 pm Work it Out – Hands-on community mapping workshop @ the Spatial Analysis Lab. For the full schedule visit:


Spreading words of love

Spreading words of love

First and second year Arabic language students gathered in the KnowledgeLab Monday night to make over 30 postcards in Arabic and 24 bags of chocolate. These Valentine’s day gifts were delivered to Michael’s House, a senior residence in Northampton.

Arabic valentines

Arabic Professor May George writes, “I think it is important as a teacher to help students to be successful in life and this cannot happen without caring for others. Teacher’s job is not teaching only, but supporting the students to find the best in this life, and this can be achieved by sharing love and respect for everyone.”

students make Arabic valentines

The KnowledgeLab “was an amazing place to work. It created a warm atmosphere and a happy environment for the students,” added Professor George.

Strength for the Struggle

Strength for the Struggle

Social work students at zine event
Participants contributed to a collaborative zine

How do we respond to a summer marked by news about violence, hate crimes, and political polarization? In the spirit of International Zine Month, the Knowledgelab hosted it’s first event – inviting members of the campus community to create a hand-made publication together.  Zines have a long history as a feminist genre of publication, grounded in documenting personal experiences and making space for counter-narratives to the mainstream media. Archivists Kate Sumner and Amanda Ferrara along with Digital Scholarship Librarian Miriam Neptune collected government documents recently withdrawn from the library, magazines, newspapers and other found materials for creators to work with in developing their own pages. Students from the School of Social Work, staff members, high school students from Feminist Camp at Hampshire College, and interested community members shared thoughts, inspiration, and creativity.

Archivist Mandy Ferrara making a zine page Two participants in the workshop making a zine page together A workshop participant and her young son at the workshopOne zine-making workshop participant takes a Polaroid picture of another participantTwo participants in the zine-making workshop in the KnowledgeLab

Several participants in the zine-making workshop