Reading List

List Creator

Roger Connah

Carleton University

Studio Reading, Late Reading, Anti-Reading: The Regime of Humbug

I am at a loss as to how to recommend a reading list unless perhaps it is an index of insight and counter-insight. Frankly, I’ve given up thinking ‘reading lists’ operate as they used to, or even that they still stand in for a recommended narrative that can be transferred. Reading is often now inseparable from learning outcomes. A printed pamphlet can be left lying around in classes or studios, unpicked up in favor of believing the same essay can be found online. But is the essay actually noted in order to be retrieved later? My experience tells me less and less. But then again, how did reading lists operate? Were they once grounding for the guidance to a knowledge-in-waiting? Was this part of the agreed transfer of knowledge implied in any pedagogical act, or knowledge worth learning and then re-adjusting? Does a reading list transfer insight caught so glancingly across other readers who see such wisdom waiting to be unearthed?

A reading list for a design studio operates differently from that which one might offer for a seminar or lecture course. A reading list must include what we might term reading, late reading, and anti-reading. It is an open provocative act; it subverts reading at the moment it invites more or less reading. Whenever thinking of offering such a reading list I have to wonder: if I know how to sustain interest in my own reading, what then of the transfer via a reading list to students? Reading offers triggers chance routes, narratives that can be glanced at and then become part of the design studio, working their way from the brief to an informed speculation about post-developer housing, in this case, and the city in the city. In the studio Ottawa: You’re so Vanier, two areas were important: Dirty Realism Housing and Hyperbolic Urbanism. Everything else followed from prompts, probes and provocations.


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