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FAQs for reading

Why is reading important in Art & Design?

Reading is important because it opens your eyes and mind to the ideas of others. In Art & Design, written texts can be a powerful part of the creative process. They encourage you to enter into a dialogue with artists, designers, critics and historians. This can help to contextualise the works of others and place your own within an artistic tradition.

Robert Nelson
Robert Nelson by Osian Grant 2007
How do I undertake research in preparation for an assignment?

Begin with the Unit Guide. It often has marvellous hints. But then there are also books and articles beyond the Guide - hundreds of them. There are some very helpful databases that you can access through the library home page. Just go to databases and click on Art & Design. Sometimes you can even get the material online.

How much reading should I do to prepare for my assignment?

As much as you can! There is no upper limit. It will not do you any harm to read more. It will not compromise your originality but only add to your confidence and eliminate naivety. However, you do need to remember that time is limited. Make sure you allocate plenty of time to writing and reflecting. Sometimes, this is the phase that 'advises' you that you might be well off reading something a bit different.

How do I know that I'm making useful notes when I'm doing the required reading?

You begin to know this when you feel that you have assembled an argument. You might be transcribing a whole lot of material that sounds authoritative but it is not helping you find your own argument. Make sure you are always reflecting on the material that you are reading. You can ask questions like: is it really true? Do I have to accept this judgement? Does it help me? Was it obvious anyway? Who needs this information? Be as critical as you like.

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