The Future of Reading: Provocations, Predictions, Possibilities

The Rochester Institute of Technology School of Print Media and RIT
Cary Graphic Arts Press present:

The Future of Reading: Provocations, Predictions, Possibilities
June 9-12, 2010.

This three-day symposium at RIT June 9-12, 2010 will be organized
around a central question: How will reading change in the next decade? With a target audience of 300-500 participants, the conference will feature provocative and challenging presentations by experts in writing systems, content creation, vision and cognition, typography, visual media, and display technology.

No learned process is more firmly embedded in our culture as an agent of information transfer than reading, yet its subtle pleasures and necessary disciplines seem overwhelmed by today’s sustained orgasm of visual media. Many modern readers participate enthusiastically in the democracy of publishing, but have little patience for extended excursions into long narrative texts. If current trends prevail, we will increasingly read as though our destination must always be within easy sight and instant comprehension. A challenging literary journey to a distant shore is not supported in an information economy driven by short attention and immediate reward. Will literacy based on brief exchanges spell the end of traditional reading? Should we be concerned if it does? What might replace reading?

Evolving technologies and habits of information exchange have profound
effects on how societies (their thinkers, writers, scientists, and citizens) envision, create, articulate, distribute, absorb, remember, and assimilate content. Commercial competition and technical innovation, as well as the perpetual desire to create and share, are reshaping the information systems on which reading depends: the private act of writing, the interpretive act of typography, and the social act of publishing.