This course takes London as its classroom. Starting from a series of guided walks and individual wanderings centred on the Thames, it offers walking as a method for investigating this many-layered city—its different pasts, varied textures, and constant juxtapositions of scale.
There are libraries of words about London—and no shortage of images. The challenge in studying the city—as with the city itself—is to find your way through the mass of material, to wander without getting (too) lost. This course gives you the skills in reading and selecting from the endless flow of information to make the most of your explorations.
In London the geometric abstraction of the map operates alongside the lived experience of the maze, the landscape endlessly changing in front of your eyes, under your feet, and within your head. That’s daily life. To make sense of and profit from its chaos, you will set your perceptions against those who have inhabited, contemplated, and transformed the city before you—enriching and crystallizing your own London by analysing and curating others’ representations of it in fiction, verse, visual art, film, and architecture. First-hand investigation and collective reflection will have you working confidently between the observation, history, and imagination of one of the world’s great metropolises.
Operating as a seminar, the course uses the studio as a model of collaborative practice and research. Students of different academic backgrounds working together is one of its strengths. To this end, all are welcome, and students from Architecture and Design are especially encouraged to join. The only prerequisite is curiosity.
Department: English and Textual Studies
Semesters: Fall, Spring