The title of the project, Reading for Reading’s Sake is appropriated from Aestheticism’s nineteenth century aphorism l’art pour l’art. The notion privileges the autonomy of aesthetic value above the ethical and edifying functions of an artwork. Accordingly the project enters into a dialogue concerning the occupation of perception and reading, both on and off the printed page.

This blog documents the ongoing platform which began with a conversation between three people in September 2009; Megan Wakefield, Maurice Carlin and Helen Kaplinsky.

They discussed the place that reading occupies in their lives, how it is often paired with other seemingly more purposeful activities, such as travelling and how reading can be transformative when made public and communal. Historical and cultural examples of reading as a shared, social activity were discussed such as The lector de tabaquería, the Cuban tradition of reading classic texts to factory employees whilst they are working. They considered the potential of reading to each other whilst doing daily chores like cooking dinner, making beds, tidying etc.

In 18th century England Coffee Houses were termed Penny Universities as people would gather there to listen to public readings of the day’s news and political pamphlets, encouraging raucous debate. The Victorian era marked a move towards reading as sedate and private pastime, with libraries operating a policy of strict social control.

With these ideas in hand they decided to organise a weekend of reading at Spike Island and throughout the city of Bristol in January 2010. The second RfRS event took place at Islington Mill in Salford from the 9th-11th April 2010. It included an impressive list of over 20 artists, writers and readers, contributing to a packed programme of workshops, reading groups and installations. Most recently in December 2010 RfRS organised an exhibition and symposia at Flat Time House, the home and studio of late artist John Latham. Events are planned for the coming year. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.


2 Responses “About” →
  1. Hello!

    Came across your blog today for the first time and feel that I have to get in touch.

    I work for The Reader Organisation, charity which aims to bring about a Reading Revolution, changing the way the nation responds to, and uses, books: we want to put great books – Shakespeare, Chekhov, Milton as well as Mitch Albom and Frank Cottrell Boyce – into the hands of people who need them, which we believe, has large social implications.

    Our innovative social outreach project, Get Into Reading, is the main way in which we are able to do this. Get Into Reading delivers weekly informal reading sessions to the public: from those who wouldn’t normally pick up a book to keen readers. It might be a poem or a short story, a novel or a play or a work of non-fiction; it might a children’s book, or a new work, or a long established classic. Whatever it is, it will have been specially chosen to suit the group. Uniquely, texts are read aloud by one of our trained project workers, with members joining in as much or as little as they wish. Engagement is immediate – and enriched by the spontaneous sharing of life stories and experiences as confidence builds over time.

    I hope you can see why I had to tell you about what we are doing?! We’ve got over 190 Get Into Reading groups on Merseyside, as well as groups in London, Wigan, Salford, Durham and East Lancashire – the reading revolution is happening!!

    Good luck in all your reading and best wishes,


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  1. The Reader Online » Event: Reading for Reading’s Sake

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