Temporal Design: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

28-29th May 2014, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
Organised by: Michelle Bastian, Larissa Pschetz and Chris Speed


Persistent questions over the time of our lives, particularly around speed, productivity and efficiency, have led a wide range of designers, artists, activists and theorists to explore methods for opening up alternative experiences and understandings of time. Whether supporting slower experiences of time (The Present by Scott Thrift), highlighting the incompatibility between time scales (Artificial Biological Clock by Revital Cohen) or seeking to redefine the time of working life (Time & Motion exhibition curated by Mike Stubbs), the need to redesign time in order to better address current concerns is making itself felt. These efforts to intervene into shared understandings of time suggest a newly emerging field, namely Temporal Design. Developing a sense of the scope of this field and the kinds of interdisciplinary conversations it might foster are vital at this initial stage. In particular, a core challenge that this workshop will focus on is how Temporal Design might respond to the shifting temporal infrastructures of the network society in nuanced and critical ways.

Paying closer attention to the new material politics of time might generate critical questions around the inter-relatedness of speed and slowness (e.g. Sharma 2014). It might also allow us to question the symbols we use to represent time and to develop a more varied and nuanced repertoire (Birth 2013). Finally, decisions about the temporal structures of contemporary societies are being made by corporate and intergovernmental bodies behind closed doors. Could Temporal Design create new platforms for the public to intervene into these decisions and develop alternatives?

The aim of this workshop, then, is to catalyse discussion around the pasts and futures of Temporal Design by providing an opportunity for those interested in time from across a range of disciplines, methods and practices to reflect on what it might mean to ‘design time’ and how we might develop more appropriate ways of navigating the multiplicities of rhythms, tempos and flows.

Format of the Workshop
The workshop will host around 30 participants and will take place over one and a half days. There will be keynote sessions and shorter presentations from invited speakers, as well as collaborative discussion sessions that will allow attendees to explore core issues in greater depth. There is also the option of attending a ‘walkshop’ on the morning of the 28th with Professor Kevin Birth, which will explore some of the historical temporal infrastructure of Edinburgh.

How to Register
Registration is free and can be completed online here.
Places for the walkshop are more limited so please register for this separately using this form.

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