The University is now on air
This publication accompanying an exhibition at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal employs a small number of simple yet very appropriate and functional design ideas. Its subject is the university course in the history of architecture and design 1890–1939 that was broadcast on the BBC between 1975 and 1982 by the Open University, which had been founded in 1969. While the exhibition presented historical teaching materials and reconstructed settings of the university and broadcasts, the book contains lavishly illustrated commentaries on the course, four accompanying essays on historical contexts, and five conversations with people involved. The commentaries are subdivided into eight episodes, and the layout with single columns, offset quotations and numerous directly integrated reference images recalls John Berger’s book on art history Ways of Seeing (1972). The Berger book was adapted from a television series of the same name, and the cross-media approach is revisited here from a historiographic perspective. The result, for today’s readers, is a dynamic, expansive and highly engaging image-and-text narrative. The comma in the title is an unusual typographical detail.