2022 Talking Trash Tour

The kinetic sculpture "MC Hammerhead" survives the mud pit at the 2019 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
MC Hammerhead survives the mud pit at the 2019 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Kinetic Sculpture team plans to race their 25 foot long, pedal-powered MC Hammerhead shark in Lowell, MA on September 17th, 2022 (https://www.lowellkinetic.com/). As part of a course in sustainable design, the interdisciplinary team of students in engineering, visual art, environmental studies, and entrepreneurship built MC Hammerhead primarily out of upcycled materials recovered from the UMBC campus. The original version of MC Hammerhead raced in the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race in 2019 (https://www.kineticbaltimore.com/).

Workshops in Sustainable Design

UMBC students, the UMBC Office of Sustainability, and Professor Steven McAlpine plan to offer kinetic sculpture workshops to university sustainability groups who might be interested. During the workshop we will:

  1. Test ride the kinetic sculpture around campus
  2. Observe and discuss the upcycled components of the sculpture
  3. Have a virtual Q&A with UMBC Office of Sustainability and Kinetic Sculpture team members.
  4. Brainstorm kinetic sculpture ideas for your campus
  5. Discuss other sustainable design opportunities on your campus
  6. Discuss useful resources and collaborative apps such as Slack and Trello. We prefer whiteboards and post it notes!

For students, this workshop offers an opportunity to experience sustainability initiatives on other college campuses as well as approaches to sustainable design. For faculty, resources for teaching sustainable design and project management will be available. The cost for the workshop (to defray travel expenses and to raise money for the team) is $250.

Two Tours: East Coast and National

Since the team will be traveling from Baltimore, MD to Lowell, MA on September 17, they are planning to offer their workshop to colleges or universities along the way (either before or after the race). The second set of workshops will be offered when Professor McAlpine, who teaches sustainable design and project-based learning at UMBC, travels from Baltimore with MC Hammerhead to Sonoma State University in California in November 2022 for the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies annual conference entitled Wicked Problems and Interdisciplinarity: Sustainability, Resilience, and Designing the Future (http://ais.sonoma.edu/).

Project Background

MC Hammerhead in the Baltimore Harbor at the 2019 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
MC Hammerhead in the Baltimore Harbor at the 2019 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race


The Kinetic Sculpture Project at UMBC has been designing, building and racing kinetic sculptures since 2014 with the generosity of two grants: Breaking Ground and the Alex Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. Their first vehicle, the Kraken Upcycle, has won three awards in four races, including the grand prize in 2015 (https://www.kineticbaltimore.com/KSR/2015/).

For more information, please visit the project website at UMBC (https://inds.umbc.edu/kinetic-sculpture/), watch the kinetic sculpture film trailer (https://vimeo.com/143338349), or read this magazine article about the MC Hammerhead project (https://magazine.umbc.edu/fish-out-of-water/).

To request a workshop or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, please contact Steven McAlpine at mcalpine@umbc.edu or 617-312-5465.