Award 2017 - Shortlisted

The Reading Room, Bangkok
– Narawan Kyo Pathomvat: The Reading Room

About the project

The Reading Room is a contemporary art library, activity space, and project platform. One of its main obligations is a direct response to severe socio-political climate in Thailand, especially the realisation that there is a lack of public and independent space in the country. Therefore, it has focused on providing an open space for broader public discourse through diverse programmes including seminars, lectures, screenings, workshops, and politico-cultural projects, in order to create dialogue and discussion among people from various fields of knowledge and communities in Thailand. It does this through collaborating with diverse practitioners; from human rights organisations, activist groups, digital rights advocacy, independent arts and cultural collectives, academic institutions, literacy and literary initiatives, etc.

Under intense monitoring and censorship from the military government toward social and political oppositions, academics, journalists and activists have been primary targets. As one of the initiatives under surveillance and suppression, The Reading Room has adapted to simultaneously battling and evading these abusive powers through instrumentalising diversification, deviation, and subversion in producing events and programmes. This includes Sleepover project (a six-month project in which six diverse cultural individuals from Thailand and SEA takeover the space and produce series of public program that reflect socio-political stances); Night School (an eight-month alternative school programme on online culture), Rereading Group ( who reread and reinterpret classic works in sociocultural fields), Right Here, Right Now (a talk series exploring keywords from right wing ideology); and this year, the main series will focus on student movement in SEA and civic education.



“What is a space but politics?” text by Simon Soon on Readingroom project.

About the artist

The Reading Room is a contemporary art library, activity space, and project platform, which opened in 2009. With a strong conviction in free and accessible knowledge and freedom of expression, The Reading Room has provided all resources for free, through onsite and online books, archive, and activities. It also commits to providing a safe space for activists and academics facing censorship and concentrates on creating cross-disciplinary and discursive exchange between diverse knowledge and practice.