The critical importance of time for all practical activities naturally puts it in the centre of any worldview, and its effects on the individual make it a very personal experience. The Time Theme will address two broad issues: concepts and misconceptions and pragmatics and uses of time.

The increasing importance of time in recent decades follows the developments of technology, the needs of the economy and the demands of politics (from fixed-term elections to automated stock trading to coordinating political decisions with the news cycle) and produces a diverse field of interpretations in the sciences, humanities and economics, thus providing a fertile ground for interdisciplinary exchange.

The Time Theme is led by Prof. Peter Kawalek (SBE), Dr. Thoralf Klein (SSH), Dr. Alexandre Zagoskin (Science) and Dr. Arianna Maiorani (SSH).

Working with our Visiting Fellows, they devised an exciting interdisciplinary workshop programme - details of which are below. 

Workshop 1: Time Theme Launch
Friday 27 November, 2020

This online workshop officially launched the Theme.

The workshop examined how different scholarly disciplines conceptualise time. While the natural sciences hold that time is objectively measurable, fundamental and independent of any social context, the humanities and social sciences are more interested in how time is socially and culturally constructed, as well as subjectively experienced.

It is therefore essential to enter into a dialogue of what we understand by time, and how different philosophies of time affect social and cultural change.

Visiting Fellows

Professor Lawrence Eaves (Physics, Nottingham), Dr Jutta Vinzent (Art History, University of Birmingham and University of Erfurt), Professor Meghan Sullivan (Philosophy, Notre Dame, IN, Director of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study).

This event was recorded and is available below.

Workshop 2: Time, Disaster and Decision-Making
Wednesday 27 January, 2021

Within the context of the current global pandemic, the second workshop addressed a highly topical issue, namely the role that time plays in the modern “risk society” (U. Beck).

Both disasters and the response to them unfold in time, and the speed (or, in other words, the shortening of time) with which the response can be formulated and implemented can make a critical difference.

Visiting Fellows

Dr Jason von Meding (FIBER, University of Florida, USA), Professor Sir David Omand (Kings College London) and Dr Natalia Janson (Loughborough University).

This event was recorded and is available below.

Workshop 3: Time, Text and Media
Friday 30 April, 2021

Time is one of the fundamental dimensions of human existence and human experience.

Texts, which incorporate and relate human experience, unfold in space and time and traditional texts (literary and non-literary) reproduce the passing of time through the lenses of human experience. Yet, with the advent of digital communication and the unprecedented, widespread production and consumption of digital texts, time has undergone a radical change: the digital dimension has uncovered a more complex notion of time that merges with hyperspace and that can be represented and perceived in multi-faceted ways.

This workshop investigated and discussed the changing notion of Time in relation to Text and Media, with a particular focus on the development of digital environments and digitally experienced texts, in order to formulate a more complex and ‘up-to-date' definition of this fundamental concept.

Visiting Fellows

Professor John Bowen (English and related literatures, University of York); Professor John Bateman (University of Bremen, Germany), Professor Valeriy O. Yampol’s’kyyProfessor Oleg V. Usatenko (Physics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kharkov); Professor Claire Warwick (Durham University); Dr Gabriele Balbi (Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland) and Dr Maria Rikitianskaia (London School of Economics).

This event was recorded and each talk is available below.

Workshop 4: Living in the Anthropocene – How to Deal with a New Epoch
Thursday 24 June, 2021

The final workshop opened up both conceptual and pragmatic perspectives on living in a new epoch, termed (inter alia) the Anthropocene.

The natural and social sciences as well as humanities have recently been finding common ground in their diagnosis of the current age as a both geological / palaeobiological and a historical epoch in which human beings have become the crucial factor shaping the Earth and life inhibiting it.

The workshop addressed both how we define this epoch from a multidisciplinary perspective and how we can practically live in and with it.

Visiting Fellows

Dr Joanna Boehnert (Loughborough University); Professor Mark Williams (University of Leicester) and Professor Elizabeth Chatterjee (History, University of Chicago, USA).