Paperbark is an interdisciplinary creative journal publishing a variety of media, including short stories, poetry, visual art, science communication, essays, interviews, and more. Founded at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the magazine is a platform for conversations around the currents of contemporary culture through the lens of sustainability with themes ranging from climate change, policy, and science, to the meaning of place and the value of creative expression. As graduate students, the opportunity to create a magazine from the ground up is a unique and enriching experience which also allows us to be changemakers in our community by connecting people to sustainability through creativity.
Now more than ever, there is a need to bring scientists together with poets, farmers together with painters, and researchers together with activists so that we may tell the stories that need to be heard. Paperbark is a collaborative, inclusive, and transdisciplinary endeavor, just as the arts and sciences are at their most powerful. By encouraging a sense of place, based not on county or state, but on a shared desire to connect with our communities, we plant seeds in them, and help them grow.
The Pioneer Valley’s history is as deeply rooted in environmental conservation, science, and academics as it is in literature, music, and the fine arts. Paperbark is a product of the region’s commitment to collaboration across disciplines and also recognizes that in 2017, these disciplines are no longer mutually exclusive. As such, Paperbark not only strives to bridge the gap between scientist and poet, farmer and painter, researcher and activist, but celebrates the fact that our community of practice includes scientists who are poets, farmers who are painters and researchers who are activists.