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First annual meeting: “Debating the Concept of Slow Memory”

First annual meeting: “Debating the Concept of Slow Memory”

Conference, Isle of Portland, United Kingdom, June 7-10, 2022

Please note: this conference is for invited attendees only. If you would like to attend please contact Jenny Wüstenberg.

This will be the first in-person meeting for the Management Committee and members of the Working Groups of the Slow Memory COST Action. We will gather to think about, discuss and jointly learn about what we mean by “slow memory” and related concepts, theories and practices. Another primary goal will be to get to know one another and to start building our community and networks. We will also spend some time planning for our promised deliverables and our next meetings.

While doing all this, we want to put “slowness” into practice by holding a somewhat unconventional conference. There will be few formal panels or papers to prepare; instead, we will create lots of opportunities for creative thinking – while of course still sharing our research and expertise with each other. How will this work? As you will see in our program, we will go on walks and excursions every day, we will have brainstorming sessions and hands-on workshops, and fun activities like “secret slow memory gifting circle” and a treasure hunt. More about this below!

Of course, there will also be opportunities to share your work, primarily in two ways: first, you are encouraged to bring examples of your work (printed out articles, a book to peruse, an artwork or film etc.) with you to share. Second, in the evenings, we will have the opportunity for you to give “short and sweet” talks (3-5 minutes) on how your work relates to slow memory. This will happen after dinner on June 7, 8 and 9 and will be quite informal, if you like with a glass of wine in hand. The idea is that you won’t have to spend much time preparing – all part of our effort not to contribute to academia’s burn-out culture.

On this page, you should find most of what you need to know to plan for your conference participation. Should you have any questions after reading it, please contact Peter Lee (, the Action’s grant manager or Jenny Wüstenberg (, the Action Chair.

Conference Venue
The Heights Hotel

This hotel is where most conference attendees are staying and where most of our meetings will happen. We will also have dinner here on June 7, 8 and 9 (this will be paid for individually and is covered by the per diem paid to you by COST after the conference). Please let us know of any food allergies in the attendance form (link below), so that we can alert the hotel and lunch caterers.

We believe the Heights Hotel is now fully booked, but you can check to see if they have any rooms available, by calling 0044 1305 821361 or by emailing: Please quote ‘Ref No 228226 – Nott Trent Uni’ (the rate is £110 per night/person or £130 for two in a room).

Other options for accommodation:
The Admiralty Hotel (caution, quite a far walk to the Heights Hotel)

B&B Seventyseven. Easily walkable to The Heights (though uphill). The owner has reserved the whole place provisionally (arrive 6th / depart 10th) so you can’t book anything online. All rooms ensuite. She is happy to charge each room at the single rate of £60, including breakfast. Call 01305 826082.

Of course, there are also additional hotels, AirBnBs and even camp sites. At least one of our MC members is planning on camping!

Travelling to Portland

You must book your own travel and will be reimbursed after the meeting for up to €1500. Prepare for some slowness in getting to Portland! The best way is to make your way to London by plane or Eurostar. Another option you can explore is flying to Bristol.

If arriving in London, you take the train from London Waterloo station to Weymouth. Depending on which airport or station you arrive, you may have to take the tube to get to Waterloo. The easiest way to buy a tube ticket is often to use a credit or debit card, which can be “tapped” when you get on and off. Trains go every half hour and take between 2h40 and 3 hours. Please note that advance booking and return tickets are much cheaper than booking at the station. You can book via

Please note: we will try coordinate people to travel on the train together, so (if you are interested in this) please let us know in the attendance form which train you are planning on taking.

From Weymouth, you can take a taxi or a bus to your accommodation. The Number 1 bus drops off right near the Heights Hotel and goes every 15 minutes. Please note that short distance travel is covered by the per diem.

What to prepare

Given that most of us are not giving formal presentations, it is important that you do prepare the follow to make our conference a success:

  • A wrapped gift (not expensive please – no more than 10-15€) for our Secret Slow Memory gifting circle. This should be something that can help us think about slow memory – it could be a book, a music CD, an artifact of some kind, anything… This is important, because if you don’t contribute, someone will sadly go without a gift.
  • Any contributions you have arranged with your WG leaders.
  • A short (3-5 min) and informal talk about how your research interests could be linked to or thought about in light of slow memory (this is optional, but encouraged)
  • Any publications or outputs you would like to share with other participants. Print out some articles, bring a book to peruse (make sure you mark it clearly as yours), or an artistic output.
  • Please take a lateral flow test before you come, so that we can keep the conference Covid-free.

If you haven’t already, please follow us on social media: @slowmemo (Twitter and Instagram) and Facebook. Please tweet/post before, during and after the conference and tag us

What to bring

  • Weather can be unpredictable in this part of the world, so make sure to bring a raincoat and sweater, but also some lighter clothes and sun protection.
  • A plug adaptor for the UK
  • Walking shoes
  • No need for fancy clothes – the conference will be very informal.
  • Comfortable/yoga clothes (there will be four yoga sessions. No need to bring a mat).


We will be going on three excursions as part of the conference program:

  1. Tuesday: After a lunch picnic (weather permitting), we will visit the site of the future Eden Portland – a memorial to extinct species. Unfortunately, only 12 people will also be able to visit the disused mine that will form part of the memorial. This is due to security regulations of the company that owns the mine. The director of the MEMO Project, Sebastian Brooke, will lead us on a guided tour of the site and explain the history and goals of the project.
  2. Wednesday: We will walk to the Portland Bill, the iconic lighthouse on Portland after our lunch at the Lobster Pot.
  3. Thursday: After another lunch picnic (again weather permitting), we will visit the Portland Museum, including a guided tour in small groups.
The Portland Bill
View from near the Heights Hotel

All attendees should fill in this form.


Please note that this program is still subject to changes

Monday, June 6

Arrival of most attendees by the evening
Dinner – at hotel
Set-up of book/article table

20:00        Informal hello meeting
                     Katja Hock’s film

Tuesday, June 7

8:00                Yoga

9:00                WELCOME MEETING

                           Jenny Wüstenberg & Joanna Wawrzyniak

10:30              Coffee break

11:00              Working Group meetings

  • WG1: Relating Work to the Concept of Slow Memory
  • WG3 : The concept of Slow Memory and politics
  • WG4: Conceptual session: Slow Memory and Conflict
  • WG5: Memories of Water
  • WG6: Slow Memory: Communities of Practice and Collaborative Learning

12:30               Walk to lunch

13:00               Lunch (picnic if possible)

14:00               Visit future Eden Portland site with talk by Seb Brooke

16:00               Case Studies of slow memory (Moderator: Vjeran Pavlaković)

  • Joanna Wawrzyniak (WG1): “Abandoned post-industrial sites: A glimpse from Charentsavan, Armenia”
  • Steven Brown (WG2): “The Privatization of Memory Practices in Health Care” 
  • Sarah Gensburger (WG3): “”Looking for events: Taking stock of survey data from a slow memory perspective”
  • Vjeran Pavlaković (WG4): “The Writing is on the Wall: Muralizing Memory in a Landscape of Obliteration”
  • Stef Craps (WG5): “Glacial Grieving”

17:30               Herb walk with Andrew Cowling
                            Stone carving with Seb Brooke            

18:30               Dinner at hotel

20:00               Short talks & drinks


Wednesday, June 8

Workshops (9-11)
                           Oral History Workshop (Verusca Calabria)
                           Re-framing Remembering (Vicky Karaiskou)
                           Interpreting Slow and Small: a Collaborative Data Session (Thomas van de Putte)
                            Conceptualizing Podcasts (Katrine Nyland Sørensen)

11:05               Buses to Portland Bill   

11:45               Lunch at Lobster Pot

12:45              Walk back to Heights with Doug Pigg and Mary Mills

14:00               MC meeting: Decisions & discussion of year ahead
                            MC Roundtable on Slow Memory (Moderator : Sarah Gensburger)

  • Ruramisai Charumbira (Switzerland) “Some thoughts about slow memory”
  • Kim Groop (Finland) “A church historian’s struggle with the concept of slow memory”
  • Deniz Gundogan Ibrisim (Turkey) “Gardening as slow memory work: forms of response-ability”
  • Ann Rigney (Netherlands) “Cultural Memory as Renewable Resource”


15:45               Coffee

16:00              Working Group meetings

  • WG1: Discussing Joint Project
  • WG2: Welfare and the concept of slow memory
  • WG 3: Slow memory, politics and methodology
  • WG4: Communities of Practice, Slow Memory and Transformations of Conflict
  • WG5: Reading-Group Session
  • WG7: What kind of communication for SlowMemory?

17:30              Stone carving
                           Herb Walk with Andrew Cowling

19:00               Dinner at hotel

20:00               Turbo talks & drinks
                            Slow Memory Gifting Circle


Thursday, June 9

8:00                 Yoga

9:00                 Practical planning sessions

                            Working papers & publications
                            Training schools

11:00               Coffee to go

11:30               Visit to Portland Museum

13:30               Walk to lunch (picnic if possible)

15:00               Coffee
                            Cross-cutting theme discussion
                            Albion Mine Visit
(12 people only – please let Jenny know if you have a specific interest in this)

16:00               Break

17:00              Slow Memory Treasure Hunt

18:30              Dinner at “The Boat that Rocks” near Chesil Beach

Friday, June 10

9:00                 Working group meetings

10:30               Coffee

11:00               Plenary meeting (reflections & next steps)

12:30               Lunch at hotel

                            Most attendees leave

                            Leadership  meeting

Working Group activities (to be added)

WG1: Transformation of Work
WG2: Transformation of Welfare
WG3: Transformation of Politics
WG4: Transformation of Conflict
WG5: Transformation of Environment
WG6: Training and Capacity Building
WG7: Dissemination and Communication

Information about reimbursement

As already noted, reimbursement happens after the conference. It is very important that you remember to sign the attendance sheet every day, as this is the primary basis for reimbursement. Keep your long-distance travel receipts (including boarding cards). Reimbursement is handled by our grant manager, Peter Lee, via the eCOST system. Please check that the information (including bank details) in your eCOST profile is up-to-date. Also please make sure that you have accepted the invitation to attend the conference in the eCOST system. If you believe you have not received one, please contact Jenny Wüstenberg.

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