Heart of the City: Changing the Bridgeport Narrative, One Story at a Time
Like The Grove in New Haven, B:Hive in Bridgeport is a magnet for entrepreneurial spirits looking to work, collaborate, and innovate in a new kind of space. Designed for solopreneurs looking to “step it up from the home office or the local coffee shop,” its open floor plan and colorful interior are designed to inspire, impress, and appease all – ideas, clients, and the left and right brains of its occupants.
The space did just that for Sam Orman ’16, a Human Services and Psychology major at the University of Bridgeport, who interned at the neighborhood B:Hive in Spring 2015. Awakened by a new sense of place and people, he was stirred to take a closer look at the city of Bridgeport. He decided to take a walk around town and have conversations with business owners, students, co-workers, and friends in order to understand the real experiences of those who live in the 16 square mile city in which he himself had been studying and working for the past 3 years.
- “What do you think of Bridgeport?”
- “What is it like living here?
- “What kind of community would you love to be a part of?”
In listening to the stories the people of Bridgeport shared with him, Sam noticed that they gravitated toward the negative rather than the positive. He wondered why they couldn’t see the beauty or potential that was right in front of them, like he was witnessing at the B:Hive and as a student at UB. He began to consider what kind of project would make a difference for the city. And then it hit him.
“Stories have power,” says Sam. “They provide the context in which we live our lives. In order to change the way the city is perceived, why not let go of the old stories and tell new ones? Imagine if Bridgeport was considered to be the most beautiful place on earth. What might be possible if we related to our city as something to be inspired by?”
With this thought, Heart of the City (HOTC) was born. HOTC is a monthly event in which a handful of storytellers each share their own 7-minute story all centered around one common theme. The sharers, stories, and themes change each month, but the mission is always the same:
“Changing the narrative of Bridgeport one story at a time.”
The Heart of the City storytelling series held its kickoff event on Monday, May 4, 2015, with the theme of “Love Letters to the City.” In sync with its mission, 7 storytellers each shared their own 7-minute story about their love for the City of Bridgeport. See highlights in the video below, and clips of some of the love letters read in the sidebar.
Subsequent themes have and will include:
- From Little Things, Big Things Grow (June 1, 2015)
- Fireworks, Stories of Celebration and Triumph (July 6, 2015)
- Mortified: Letters, Journal Entries, and Stories from the Awkward Years (Upcoming: Sept. 14, 2015)
- From Scratch: When Passion Leads to Business (Upcoming: Oct. 5, 2015)
So mark your calendar for the first Monday of every month, and enjoy local musicians, a pop-up market of food and snacks, unlimited drinks, and stories that will touch your heart.
(All for only a $5 suggested donation!)