Finding Their Voice: Mill Stories in the Baltimore Sun

Dinah WinnickDinah Winnick is UMBC’s senior communications manager for research.

Congratulations to UMBC’s Mill Stories team on their tremendous work documenting the history of Baltimore’s Sparrows Point Steel Mill community through the past semester. We were so proud to see their work highlighted in the powerful Baltimore Sun web feature on Sparrows Point earlier this month.

Two classes participated in the Spring 2013 collaborative project supported by BreakingGround. AMST 358 Cultural Documentation in Partnership with Communities focused on cultural research and documentation within the communities that have been shaped by the Sparrows Point Steel Mill for over a century. Students explored the ideas, techniques and ethical considerations that underpin community-based qualitative research. They became familiar with the challenges of post-industrial economic and social transition and ideas of community cohesion, sense of place and sense of belonging.

Intercultural Video ProductionStudents in MLL 495/695 Intercultural Video Production focused on creating short digital stories based on community interviews, supporting participants in telling their stories in their own words.

Students learned about diverse aspects of Sparrows Point culture and residents’ experiences, from union participation, to the intricacies of making steel and operating cranes, to experiences of segregation and gender discrimination. View the “Mill Stories” on UMBCtube to see the fruits of their labor.

Contact the author, Dinah Winnick, at

This Week: Mill Stories — Refreshments (and Laughter) Guaranteed!

Mill Stories

BreakingGround Course is Front-Page News

David Hoffman is UMBC’s assistant director of student life for civic agency.

David HoffmanToday’s Baltimore Sun features a front-page story about students in two UMBC courses shedding light on the human side of Baltimore’s industrial past. The students, guided by New Media Studio director Bill Shewbridge and American Studies folklorist in residence Michelle Stefano, are helping tell the stories of steelworkers from the now-defunct Baltimore Sun, 2.12.13Sparrows Point Steel Mill, which once employed thousands. The mill has been shuttered and is being sold for scrap.

The oral history project is supported by a BreakingGround course development grant. The article also describes several other BreakingGround courses and projects through which people from UMBC are solving problems and working with community partners to make innovative contributions to the common good. I’m thrilled that readers are getting this taste of UMBC’s rich, creative and collaborative civic work.

Contact the author, David Hoffman, at

Dec. 1 Mapping Baybrook Event in Baltimore Magazine

Dinah Winnick is a communications manager in UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement.

Mapping Baybrook logoThe community event our students have been working toward all semester is coming this weekend and everyone’s invited.

You might recall Mapping Baybrook from earlier posts on this blog. It’s a BreakingGround course in American studies and visual arts where students have partnered with Brooklyn and Curtis Bay community members to produce materials recording the area’s history and culture. It culminates with a community celebration Saturday, Dec. 1, 1:00-5:00 p.m. at the Polish Home Hall, 4416 Fairhaven Avenue in Curtis Bay. The event will also launch the new Mapping Baybrook website, designed in collaboration with UMBC’s Imaging Research Center. It previously appeared in the Gazette and has now also been featured on the Baltimore Magazine blog “The Chatter.” Check it out.

You can reach the author, Dinah Winnick, at To learn more about Mapping Baybrook, contact Nicole King at