November 10, 2017 - Canadian Centre for Architecture - The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture / UK / 1975-1982
e-flux Architecture
November 10, 2017
November 10, 2017

Canadian Centre for Architecture

Front: Lee Balternamn, The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe, 1972. The LIFE Images Collection, Getty Images. © Lee Balternamn. Back: Peter Trulock, A student watching an Open University broadcast, 1971. Hulton Archive, Getty Images. © Peter Trulock.

The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture / UK / 1975-1982
November 15, 2017–April 1, 2018

Opening : November 14, 6–9pm

Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920 Rue Baile
Montreal Québec H3H 2S6
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11am–6pm,
Thursday 11am–9pm
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While higher education today is facing a crisis of access and quality, MOOCs (massive open online courses) offer a way to reach wider audiences but also raise questions about who produces knowledge and who is responsible for mass education. MOOCs are part of a long lineage of attempts to mobilize new media environments for educational purposes. The exhibition The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture offers a close reading of a pioneering case study: A305, “History of Architecture and Design, 1890–1939." This third-year undergraduate arts course, offered by the Open University via television and radio broadcasts between 1975 and 1982, was a radical project for sharing knowledge through the convergence of mass media and mass education.

The Open University—founded in 1969 with headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK—a key experiment in distance and adult education, was part of the socially progressive reforms of the Labour Party between 1964 and 1970. Through courses such as A305, the Open University extended higher education beyond a typical class of students by using media as a tool to transform both the production and transmission of knowledge. A305 used publication, correspondence, and a complex system of local tutors organized in regional centres to disseminate that knowledge across an entire country.

The exhibition is curated by Joaquim Moreno with exhibition design by APPARATA (London and Basel) and graphic design by Something Fantastic (Berlin).

The publication
The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture is also a book. It will explore the Open University as a critical point of convergence between mass media and mass education, focusing in particular on the course A305, History of Architecture and Design 1890-1939, as a reference point for current discourse on open-source and online educational models. The publication will include contributions by Joaquim Moreno that analyze different aspects of A305; five conversations between Joaquim Moreno and key actors of the creation and production of the course—Stephen Bayley, Tim Benton, Adrian Forty, Nick Levinson, and Joseph Rykwert; and four essays that frame broader questions of architectural historiography, media history, and the pedagogical and political circumstances of the period—written respectively by Joseph Bedford (Virginia Tech), Ben Highmore (University of Sussex), Laura Carter (Cambridge University), and Nick Beech (Queen Mary University of London). A co-publication with Jap Sam Books, designed by Jonathan Hares (Lausanne and London). Available spring 2018.


The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture is produced by the CCA based on the module A305, History of Architecture and Design, 1890–1939, written and produced by The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. All rights are reserved. The CCA gratefully acknowledges The Open University for their collaboration with special thanks to academic consultants, Emeritus Professor Tim Benton and Professor Elizabeth McKellar, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.


About the CCA
The CCA is an international research centre and museum founded in 1979 by Phyllis Lambert, on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive collection, exhibitions, public programs, publications and research opportunities, the CCA is advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding, and widening thought and debate on architecture, its history, theory, practice, and role in society today.

Canadian Centre for Architecture
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