Transformative Practices for Times of Uneven and Accelerating Change

About the SlowMemory COST Action

Slow memory is an emergent concept that is intended to help us think from new angles about how societies and individuals remember the pasts that meaningfully affect their present and future. It begins from the premise that we are quite skilled (and have much practice) commemorating sudden or extreme events such as wars, atrocities or catastrophes. But we are less certain about how to reckon with slow-moving transformations that may be just as impactful, such as climate change, deindustrialization, or the gradual expansion of social and political rights. Thus, both negative and positive change can happen without having a clear location or timeframe. This COST Action brings together scholars and practitioners from many different disciplines (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, technologists) to consider how we may grasp the meaning slow processes, how we may remember slowly, and how we may study slow change and slow remembrance without feeling too much time pressure.

Meet our
Working Groups

WG1: Transformation of Work examines the decline of large-scale industry and the changing nature of the modern workplace, which has had significant effects on local communities and on individuals’ life perspectives. It seeks to develop slow memory concepts in relation to socio-economic analysis through exploring how remembrance practices can make visible economic transitions that are experienced unevenly and gradually. It brings methodological approaches to economic modelling and trends into dialogue with oral history techniques to develop new modes of narrating and visualising socio-economic change.
The current transformation of social welfare and growing inequalities in a slowly deteriorating care system lead us to seek a deeper understanding of how the future aspirations of community members are shaped and how these can be mediated through the practice of remembering. Bringing them together is the aim of WG2.
Though extremism may be on the rise on both ends of the political spectrum, the mobilisation of right-wing forces in a diverse set of countries poses a particular threat to democratic systems of governance and to inclusive political cultures. WG3 will analyse these threats through the lens of memory studies in three ways. First, right-wing and anti-democratic actors skilfully employ the politics of memory to persuade supporters and to drive societal actors into particular policy directions.
Societies gradually emerging from violent conflict face multiple challenges when it comes to dealing with the transgressions of the past and rebuilding the future. The overwhelmingly dominant approach in contemporary conflict resolution is to confront memories and narratives of conflict with a view to find consensus and promote reconciliation. This working group aims to develop ways of creating space for bringing together diverging circumstances, perspectives, experiences and practices into continued contestation and open-ended dialogues. We conceptualize the “slow transformation of conflict” as a form of peacebuilding, which is always a process, never an event.
WG5 will progress the conceptualization of slow environmental remembrance by drawing on the expertise and experience of stakeholder practitioners (e.g. environmental action groups, artists, curators, and museums). The resulting transdisciplinary dialogues between theory and practice will conceive of ways that environmental crisis can be remembered in radically expanded timeframes, laying the memorial foundations for future environmental policy work, and the theoretical foundations for analysing the forms, ethics, and politics of memory work that addresses the climate and ecological emergency.
How do global and local societies confront their past? How to they contend with current environmental, economic and social change? These are some of the main questions WG6 aims to tackle through collaborative exchanges and cooperation. We would like to create a shared understanding of slow memory as an approach and methodology more specifically utilized as a tool in comprehending to global and local grand-scale transformations and responding to their urgency and exigency .
WG7 is chaired by the Science Communication Manager and will ensure that the Action has a clear online profile and communication strategy. It will also have overall responsibility for updating and implementing the dissemination plan.

Latest Updates

The conference will therefore focus on coal and other extractive industries, iron and steel, as well as shipbuilding as paradigmatic examples of de- and re-industrialization and of relocation across different spaces.

In this session, organized by WG5 Transformation of the Environment, Rosanne Kennedy (Australian National University) will be in discussion with filmmaker Gabrielle Brady on the topics of multidirectional eco-memory, slow memory, ghostly remains, and the dynamics of place in her past and forthcoming film projects.

How do we conceptualize the ‘Slow Memory Podcast’? The aim of this workshop is to plan the Slow Memory podcast series.

Vicky Karaiskou is Associate Professor in art history at the Open University of Cyprus and teaches in the "Cultural Policy and evelopment" MA programme.

This workshop aims to introduce some of the key principles which underpin oral history methodology.

The aims of this two-hour workshop are to share and develop methods of interpretation while analysing a piece of data collaboratively and, to take our time to analyse a small fragment of conversation in small detail.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more