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May 4, 2017

Professor of architecture and award winning designer Julian Bonder speaks at UMass

Jong Man Kim/Collegian

Jong Man Kim/Collegian

Julian Bonder, a writer, designer and professor of architecture at Roger Williams University, kicked off the Department of Architecture’s Spring Lecture series on Feb. 1 in the University of Massachusetts’ Design Building.

Bonder shared his process of designing “Mémorial de l’abolition de l’esclavage,” a national monument in Nantes, France that opened to the public in March 2012.

Bonder was born a descendant of Ukrainian immigrants. He was born in New York and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a partner at “Wodiczko and Bonder,” an award-winning design and artistic partnership based in Cambridge that focuses on public space, memory, and trauma.

The Monument was created to not only remember and reflect upon slavery and the slave trade, but to promote action in the world today.

“The goal is to assert presence and authorship through dynamic interaction of our work, with a goal of ultimately effacing of one’s self and disappearing from the seam,” he said.

Ethics, challenge, responsibility and justice were reoccurring themes Bonder brought up during the lecture.  He expressed how “we have to remember those who have vanished in history.”

James Young, a colleague of Bonder of over 20 years, observed and admired “the amount of time and space he’s given to thinking about these issues.”

Naomi Darling, Five College assistant professor of sustainable design was “inspired in what we can do as designers.”

About fifty people attended Bonder’s lecture, including students and professors.

Abigail Charpentier can be reached at

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