Monday 8:30 am 11:30 am (ONLINE)
How can we engage with local places and communities to design urban hacking projects? How can use urban hacking to promote reading, creative writing, storytelling and other creative practices around the idea of a ‘street library’? In recent years street libraries – also known as little libraries, or community libraries – have popped up in cities and suburbs all over the world. These objects are being created by local residents and community groups, and by organisations from hospitals to shopping centres. Often built from reclaimed or upcycled materials, they can take a wide variety of forms. Street libraries are an example of ‘urban hacking’ (AKA ‘tactical urbanism’, ‘guerilla urbanism’ or ‘DIY urbanism’), a social practice whereby citizens engage in everyday creative practices to improve their own environments. This multidisciplinary course will expand your understanding of tactical urbanism, place-based interventions and the social context of design. It will also build your skills in critical thinking, research, writing, storytelling, collaboration and visual communication. We will embark on playful investigations and creative research to explore the social role of street libraries – as guerrilla installations, urban design interventions, free community resources, or mini neighbourhood hubs. How do these community libraries differ from their institutional counterparts? How are street libraries situated spatially, socially, materially and culturally – and how can they be designed innovatively to enrich local connections to community and place? Why have they become popular, how are they used – and how might they succeed or fail? What is their relationship to books, storytelling, commerce and activism? This course will also explore the potentially powerful role of storytelling in design practice, community-building and urban space projects. Drawing on emotion, childhood memories and DIY culture, we will create a set of Zines exploring how storytelling can be used to “hack” a treasured object.