Our perception of time and pace has changed dramatically since the Industrial Revolution. Fast has become synonymous with modernity, efficiency, productivity and even exhilaration. In our constantly-connected, open-all-hours culture, we rarely have the time to reflect on the consequences. The global pandemic, however, has brought our relationship with time and pace into sharper focus.
This module provides opportunity to reflect on the mental, physical, societal and environmental impact of the so-called cult of speed. It examines how the slow movement, which started in Italy in the mid-1980s, has sought to resist the acceleration of modern society. Using a variety of interactive pedagogical approaches, students will engage with a range of expert perspectives, case studies and guided activities to examine how the principles of Slow have been applied to areas such as food, travel, town-planning, education, film studies, scientific research, marketing and psychology. Students will be encouraged to reflect both on their own relationship with temporality and how the principles of the slow movement can be applied to their own academic discipline. A critical approach will be encouraged: is slow really a new movement? Is it an anti-modern rejection of capitalism or simply an alternative mode of consumption? Is slowness a luxury available only to a privileged few?
Week 1: Time waits for no-one! An exploration of the experience and perception of time from a philosophical and psychological science perspective.
Week 2: Going Slow: introduction to the Slow Movement. Examining responses to the acceleration of modern society using the Slow Food movement as case study considering immunology, sustainability and wellbeing.
Week 3: Life in the slow lane: Slow Travel, Slow cities and sustainability.
Week 4: Is time money? Slow marketing strategies and design thinking. Can a slow approach help organisations survive and thrive in challenging situations?
Week 5: Slow Arts: how the slow movement applies to our creative expression (slow poetry and slow cinema).
Week 6: Thinking slow and fast: exploring the different ways the human brain has evolved in response to the 'modern' environment. Does rapid cognition lead to better decisions, action and outcomes?
Week 7: Slow, flow and flourishing: exploring the links between the Slow Movement and the principles of positive psychology.
Week 8: The need for speed: the interaction between medicine, sports science, performance and recovery.
Week 9: The Slow University: slow approaches to teaching, learning and research.
Week 10: Time to reflect: summaries and conclusions. How do the values of speed pervade our everyday life? How inclusive and accessible is the slow movement?
If you wish to do some preparatory reading to get an overview of the module, we'd suggest Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed (London: Orion, 2004).
Dr Joanne Lee
Dr Elisabeth Blagrove
Class Time 2023-24
Term 1 (Autumn)
Day and time: Thursday 3-5pm
Teaching Grid (Library)
Portfolio (3500 words approx) consisting of 2 of short assignments plus a critical reflection. (100%)
Choose 2 out of the following 7 tasks for the portfolio. Formative in-class tasks and groupwork will help you prepare.
- Creative piece (e.g. poem or film)
- A slow manifesto
- A slow travel itinerary
- Scientific/ social scientific research proposal
- A slow marketing campaign plan
- Syllabus or module design
- A positive psychology intervention