This week we have been at Domus Academy in Milan to introduce our social reading method to the students of Interaction Design.
Promoting online reading communities: TwLetteratura and Betwyll
How to build communities and where: this was one of the main concerns of the students attending the Experience Design workshop within Domus Academy’s Master in Interaction Design and the reason why we were invited to hold a lecture to introduce our social reading method and webapp.
TwLetteratura combines in fact traditional reading activities with the more contemporary attractions of social networking, offering students and readers a new paradigm to read and comment on books and cultural comments within a safe digital environment. Thanks to the grants for cultural innovation and for audience development and engagement we were awarded by Fondazione Cariplo (IC) and Compagnia di San Paolo (OPEN) in 2014 and 2015, respectively, we had the chance to develop Betwyll, a dedicated webapp where this method can be experienced at its best.
This lecture was thus an occasion to tell our story and introduce our model, combining activities for schools, universities and large organizations, from cultural institutions to book publishers. But it was also an opportunity for the students to experience our method and practice in first person, reading and commenting on an excerpt from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one of the books available on Betwyll and currently being read and commented on by different communities of readers in Wales.
Interacting with the text
The students, aged 25-30 and coming from all over the world, were invited to read and comment on the beginning of the book, when Alice meets the White Rabbit and, moved by curiosity, falls down its hole. To get familiar with our method they first played on paper, filling in a 140-character grid with summaries, paraphrases, personal impressions and interpretations inspired by some of the constraints of Quenau’s Exercises in style.
Here’s an amazing sample of what they shared, starting with a perfect summary: “Curiosity and boredom are the main ingredients for an orange marmelade-flavoured adventure”. We then range from sociological observations: “Alice is definitely from another time, modern people would have been staring at a screen, not a book”, to existential metaphors: “We’ve all fallen down a crazy rabbit hole, at some point, what’s yours?” . One student realized: “My entire social life has gone down the rabbit-hole”, while another one played with hashtags: “That moment when Alice discovers science. #AliceMeetsHawkings #blackholes”.
Just as Alice, the students were really curious about TwLetteratura and Betwyll. Their questions, comments and feedbacks were of great inspiration for us and will surely feed into our future developments and projects.
Interaction Design at Domus Academy
Interaction Design focuses on behaviour, creating products or spaces that interact with people through innovative technologies or introducing and improving digital elements in our daily lives. Domus Academy’s Master in Interaction Design provides students with the knowledge, abilities, and skills to identify problems and solutions in the field of interaction and user experience. Domus Academy is a private school of design, offering post-graduate and professional courses in fashion, industrial design, and design management.Do you want to know more about TwLetteratura? Subscribe to our newsletter and download Betwyll from App Store or Google Play.