Over the course of the fall semester, UMBC humanities students in an American studies course taught by Associate Professor and Chair Nicole King worked on the “Bromo Speaks” project, which examined how art and development have had an impact on the history and culture of the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District in westside downtown Baltimore. The students’ efforts culminated in a five-part radio series that aired on WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show from December 7-11, 2015.
The goal of the project was to understand the stories of the past and amplify the voices of residents, artists, workers, and business owners to develop ways to envision the city’s future. The students gathered more than 40 interviews with people living, working, and visiting the district and focused on themes related to history, neighborhood change, racism and structural inequality, displacement and development, and the potential future of the district.
“Throughout this project we have tried to give voice to the often-unheard people on the ground. We attempt to leave the listener with as many questions as answers in order to inspire people to think about how arts districts can change a city,” the class shared in a statement on the project’s website.
The radio series was part of the Baltimore Traces project, which is a collaborative teaching innovation that brings several courses together to work with the Center for Emerging Media (CEM), a Baltimore non-profit founded by radio host Marc Steiner. The series has worked with several Baltimore neighborhoods including Greektown, Highlandtown, and Station North. Read more about the project. The complete Bromo Speaks radio series can be found below.
Image: Lexington Market. Photo by Bill Shewbridge, professor of the practice of media and communication studies at UMBC.