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Reading fast and slow

[THIS WEEK] Protect your quiet time to stay creative in 2012, writes James Pallister

Before Christmas, I joined Steve Parnell’s Diploma students at the University of Sheffield to talk to them about architectural publishing, and to lead a workshop in making magazines for the Architectural Criticism and Journalism module.

sheff390 minutes in: Wireless-networked Sheffield students half way through making their zine


The groups of four had three hours in which to produce a mini-zine, the contents of which they’d brought to the session. The results were impressive as they battled printer jams, errant staplers and the task of arranging content in a compelling way to hit their deadlines.

sheff1Presenting the finished products

The afternoon proved a dry run for the editors of StArch, the ‘official’ zine of the unit.

sheff2Three hours: six zines. ‘Forty Winks’ was themed on architecture students’ (distant) relationship with sleep

They had a slightly more generous turnaround to play with – two days – and have produced a clever fold out collectable piece of archi-phemera, a great example of quick and not-so-dirty publishing.

DSC02168The editors of St.Arch had the benefit of a luxurious three days - and watching the experience of their peers - to produce the zine for the unit

Another little magazine that’s worth a look is the latest issue of Eight:48, now in its seventh and penultimate issue.


It’s a side project of the e-commerce site, a treasure trove of vintage and contemporary architecture, photography and design books and prints – not a site to be introduced to if you’ve a book habit and are trying to slim expenditure this January.


This issue looks at the impact of cities, including Copenhagen, Liverpool, Montreal and Paris, upon 13 designers.


In his editorial, Nitzan Hermon acknowledges how constant connectivity can conspire with our surroundings to provide a series of endless distractions more conducive to tapping trends than culture; not good, in his mind. Hermon’s counsel is ‘keep a clear mind [to] make the difference’. His observation seems timely: Susan Cain argued the case for more solitary working in a piece in this weekend’s New York Times and Tony Schwartz wrote this week in the Harvard Business Review on the power of saying ‘No’ . As Hermon says in Eight:48, making time for ‘an even point, a frequency of silence, will enable new ideas and creative directions. [Put] Culture before trends.’ A good maxim for 2012.

Eight:48 No. 07 ‘You are Here’; StARCH, Sheffield University School of Architecture

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