We are living in times of deep contradictions. While our world accelerates and grows smaller through superfast digital networks, it is also marked by widening socio-economic disparities. We face viral pandemics, rapid species extinction, increased automation of work, quick fixes for mental health, political upheavals and displacements of old certainties. Adaptation and resilience to these challenges must draw on past experiences and cultural resources – this can only happen if we slow down and take time to remember well.
This Action addresses the need for increased interdisciplinarity in our understanding of how societies confront their past to contend with environmental, economic and social changes brought on by sudden events and by slow and creeping transformations. The future of peace, prosperity, politics, work and climate will depend upon how we remember socio-cultural and political changes. Transformative practices of remembrance – as objects of study and as critical interventions – will be shared collaboratively across Arts and Sciences in order to reveal the ways in which humans confront large-scale processes of change.
This Action will uniquely focus the attention of scholars, policymakers and cultural professionals on alternative paths to build resilience in the face of contemporary rapid-response culture. Through transnational and interdisciplinary discussions, we will address urgency, emergency, crisis and acceleration by drawing together the ‘multi-sited’, ‘eventless’ and slow-moving phenomena that can best be studied by ‘slowing down’ our research methods, to afford capacity building, knowledge generation and impact activities. Inspired by ‘slow science’ (Stengers 2018), we seek an alternative kind of social remembering.
Banner credit: Jenny Wüstenberg
Slow Meetings and Profound Outcomes
In order to develop theory and methodologies to address slow memory through interdisciplinary conversations and engagement with stakeholders, we will meet regularly over the next four years, both virtually and in person. The central principle of our work together is to slow down our meeting and research practices, so as not to contribute to the culture of overwork and burnout that characterises contemporary academia.
Our Working Groups will meet four times a year, mostly virtually, to consider how slow memory applies in their focus area. We will also hold monthly reading groups, including one “slow reading” group, where we read out loud together. We have planned the following in-person meetings for the first years of the Action:
The main aim of the Action is to trigger a new discovery phase in memory studies by providing a platform for incubating networked, transnational, multidisciplinary research that engages systematically with the insights of environmental science, Indigenous epistemologies, peace studies, and political economy