Design in Society
Monday 11:30am-2:30pm                 
Meg Mundell

How can we collaborate with our local communities to improve 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 been popping up in cities and suburbs all over the world, and have been created by several organisations from hospitals to shopping centres. This phenomenon is part of what is known as urban hacking, a social practice where citizens engage in everyday creative practices to improve their own environments.

In this course we will embark on urban expeditions to explore the social role of street libraries – as guerrilla installations, urban design interventions, free community resources, or mini neighbourhood hubs. How do community libraries differ from their institutional counterparts? How are they situated spatially, socially, materially and culturally? 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?

We will collaborate with local communities in RMIT Brunswick campus, City of Moreland or your own home to design and install a street library. These libraries will be more than mere bookshelves, and you are encouraged to create engaging interventions where people can express and increase their creativity in different ways not just by reading, but also writing, leaving messages, drawing, taking photographs or using social media.