Seminar ‘The Art of Reading’

Museum Meermanno and the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) cordially invite you for a seminar on The Art of Reading, which will take place on Thursday 15 February.

This seminar is one of the activities organised  as part of the exhibition ‘The Art of Reading. From William Kentridge to Wikipedia’, which is on view until 5 March 2018.

During the seminar on 15 February various speakers will share their view on the art of reading: how does reading work, what is the difference between reading on paper and on screen? and: is reading in itself an form of art?

After the seminar there will be ample opportunity to visit the exhibition. Tickets for the seminar can be booked via:

Time and location
Thursday 15 February 14.15 – 17.00 h
Museum Meermanno, Prinsessegracht 30, The Hague
Tickets € 7,50 (not including museum entrance – Museum Card valid)
NBV-members: € 5,00 (not including museum entrance – Museum Card valid)


14.15-14.20   Welcome

14.20-14.40   Paul van Capelleveen (National library of the Netherlands, curator of the exhibition): The Art of Reading

14.40-15.10   Adriaan van der Weel (Leiden University/EREAD-Cost): Evolution of reading in the age of digitization/ Books and Screens and the Reading Brain
Professor Adriaan van der Weel is professor of Book History  at Leiden Universiteit. Together with 180 researchers from various disciplines (alpha-, beta- and gamma-sciences) he founded a European research network aimed to study the differences between reading from paper and reading form screen (E-READ: Evolution of reading in the age of digitisation). At this moment he is working together with Ruud Hisgen on a book on the history and the future of reading, which will shortly be published.

15.10-15.45   Simon Morris (Artist / Director of Research School of Art, Architecture and Design Leeds Beckett University): Reading as Art
Professor Simon Morris examines the relationship between reading and art and how this could be seen as its own form of making. His work The Royal Road to the Unconscious (2003), in which he experiments with Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, is on view in the current exhibition.
Morris abandons Freud’s book to completely random acts. Copies of the book have been cut to pieces, separate words being tossed from a moving car. Photos capture both the chaos and the new arrangement with a vacuum cleaner. Is this how our brains process information?

15.45-16.15   Discussion

16.15-17.00   Visit to exhibition & drinks


About the exhibition ‘The Art of Reading. From William Kentridge to Wikipedia’
Step into a laboratory of over twenty installations of artists from the Netherlands and abroad which will introduce the visitor to the various aspects of reading. The exhibition deals with issues such as the difference between looking and reading, the fragility of text on the internet, and the need for fixed texts, the different kinds of reading, the interaction between technology and specific modes of reading, between paper and online and the choice between concentration and stimulation.


About The House of the Book
The Art of Reading is an exhibition by The House of the Book, a joint programme of Museum Meermanno and the National Library of the Netherlands (KB). The House of the Book unites people around books. It investigates the meaning of books, book forms, experiments around books, makers and readers, of the past, the present and the future. Not just at the Museum Meermanno or at the KB, but throughout the country: in public libraries, schools and other, inspiring places.