Fri 20 December 2013

Notes from the Underground #26

At deBuren, we regularly invite interns and students to assist in our projects. Over the last four months, Augustin Grenné has worked with us on many of the communications surrounding citybooks. In this edition of Notes from the Underground, he looks back over his time here helping to ‘bring words into the world.’

augustin grenné © marianne hommersom

Getting the word(s) out there. This phrase sums up my task at deBuren over the last few months rather well. Words are just words until they arrive at deBuren, where they’re transfigured into words of wisdom and of beauty. Each citybook is a carefully measured dose of just such wise and beautiful words, in the form of a short story, an essay or a series of poems. First and foremost, a citybook's mission is to delight the reader with the fantasy of travel. After all: what could be more fantastic than words so vivid that they transport their reader?

Quite a bit of logistical support is involved in making sure everybody has the best possible literary experience. I helped keep the website up-to-date, and maintained spreadsheets to realise collaborative endeavours. Through work like this, citybooks has become more widely available; you can now listen to editions of the project via, for example. My work also consisted of contacting various people and organisations about citybooks. In this way, I played my part in helping these words on their journeys into the world, with the hope that they’ll continue to whisk readers away right across the globe.

Moreover, I conducted a survey with visitors to the citybooks website, to better understand people’s online searches. This survey was a prize that the website won as a nominee for the Belgian Usability Awards 2012. Through the survey, citybooks received much positive feedback on the project’s work and online presentation alike. Among the responses was – in my mind – the ultimate reason for visiting the citybooks website: to discover how just a few different people can see a single city in a thousand different ways.

My time at deBuren is coming to an end, and I’m delighted to have been a part of the unsurpassed citybooks mission and the fantastic team that ensures that the wisest and most beautiful of words can be heard and read by all.

(Augustin Grenné, student assistant at deBuren, studying philosophy).



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