Photo credit: Ayesha Islam

Photo credit: Ayesha Islam

The Middlesex University Dubai’s Urban Writer’s Lab grew out of a journalism module called Writing the City.

In this module students are invited to develop a critical understanding of the relationship between individuals, media and the urban environment. If we think of the city as a social text, in what ways might the city be written? By considering a variety of media forms – from the hopeful hype of tourist industry blurb to the verse of poets and errant strategies of novelists; from outdoor advertising to information communication networks – Writing the City aims to produce an understanding of the spaces we live in as complex “assemblages” of media discourses, technologies and architectural forms.

Photo credit: Dilwin Kaur

Photo credit: Dilwin Kaur

Writing the City looks at the place of the city in our thinking about culture and society through the obvious but also the more inconspicuous texts of urban life. It aims to encourage students to engage directly and critically with their everyday experience of the city. Through a combination of multimedia research and ethnographic observation – the central assessment component of Writing the City is for students themselves to ‘write the city’ in a medium of their choice.

The nature of the subject matter dictates that Writing the City should be a highly active course. At the very least – since we all spend at least some of our time in the city – it requires an engaged sense of participation.

Photo credit: Amina Waya

Photo credit: Amina Waya

This blog is a means to that end. It will exhibit the work done by students of the lab,  as well invite the larger public to explore their city in new, engaging ways. We’re seeking new methods of expressing the city and hope to inspire new ways of reading a city that has much to showcase.

Sources: Writing the City Module Handbook written by James Graham


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