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The University Magazine

Conference covers technology and
future of reading

The past decade has brought texting, tweeting, e-readers, Google Books and digital libraries into a parallel universe with the millennia-old printed media. What will survive?

“Reading is a cornerstone of modern civilization but is currently in technological turmoil,” says Charles Bigelow, Melbert B. Cary Jr. Distinguished Professor at RIT’s School of Print Media. “Changes in the technical forms and social aspects of reading will soon affect many of our most treasured social institutions including education, publishing, politics and commerce.”

Those changes are the focus of RIT’s Future of Reading, a three-day event taking place June 9-12 across the campus. Keynote speakers are Margaret Atwood, award-winning author of more than 40 books, and Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson.

The event is co-sponsored by the School of Print Media and Cary Graphic Arts Press, and will feature presentations by experts in writing systems, content creation, vision and cognition, typography, visual media and display technology.

“The aim of the conference is to foresee where new modes of reading will take us,” says David Pankow, curator of RIT’s Cary Graphic Arts Collection. “Will technology and new media spell the end of traditional reading?”

The Future of Reading conference will offer point-counterpoint discussions focusing on three central themes: Reading and Writing, Media and Technology, and Science and the Art of Literacy. Notable guest speakers include Johanna Drucker of UCLA Information Studies, Amit Ray of RIT Literary and Cultural Studies, N. Katherine Hayles ’66 of Duke University, Denis Pelli of New York University, Kris Holmes of Bigelow & Holmes typography, and author and linguist Robert Bringhurst.

The event is expected to attract 500 national and international participants in the fields of publishing, graphic design and typography, digital humanities, library science and media technology.

For more information visit or contact Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, assistant curator, Cary Graphic Arts Collection, at 585 475-4213 or

Marcia Morphy