Slow movement (culture)

For the slow movement of music in sonata form, see Slow movement (music).
A slow food restaurant placard in Santorini, Greece.

The slow movement (sometimes capitalised Slow movement or Slow Movement) advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life's pace. It began with Carlo Petrini's protest against the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Piazza di Spagna, Rome in 1986 that sparked the creation of the slow food movement. Over time, this developed into a subculture in other areas, like the Cittaslow organisation for "slow cities". The "slow" epithet has subsequently been applied to a variety of activities and aspects of culture.

Geir Berthelsen and his creation of The World Institute of Slowness[1] presented a vision in 1999 for an entire "slow planet" and a need to teach the world the way of slowness. Carl Honoré's 2004 book, In Praise of Slowness, first explored how the Slow philosophy might be applied in every field of human endeavour and coined the phrase "slow movement". The Financial Times said the book is "to the Slow Movement what Das Kapital is to communism". Honoré describes the Slow Movement thus:

"It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting." —Reda.

Professor Guttorm Fløistad summarises the philosophy, stating:

"The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal."

The slow movement is not organised and controlled by a single organisation. A fundamental characteristic of the slow movement is that it is propounded, and its momentum maintained, by individuals who constitute the expanding global community of Slow. Its popularity has grown considerably since the rise of slow food and Cittaslow in Europe, with slowness initiatives spreading as far as Australia and Japan.


Main article: Cittaslow

The goal of the Cittaslow organisation is to resist the homogenisation and globalisation of towns and cities. It seeks to improve the quality and enjoyment of living by encouraging happiness and self-determination.


Slow ageing (or slow aging) is a scientifically backed and distinct approach to successful ageing, advocating a personal and wholly encompassing positive choice to the process of ageing.[2][3] Established as part of the broader slow movement in the 1980s,[2][3] as opposed to the interventionist-based and commercially backed medical anti-aging system, it involves personal ownership and non-medical intervention options in gaining potential natural life extension.[2][3]


Slow church is a movement in Christian praxis which integrates slow-movement principles into the structure and character of the local church. The phrase was introduced in 2008 by Christian bloggers working independently who imagined what such a "slow church" might look like.[4][5][6] Over the next several years, the concept continued to be discussed online and in print by various writers and ministers.[7][8][9]

In July 2012, a three-day conference titled Slow Church: Abiding Together in the Patient Work of God was held on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago on the topic of slow church and featured Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas and Kyle Childress, among others.[10] An online blog called "Slow Church" written by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison is hosted by Patheos,[11][12] and Smith and Pattison have written a book by the same name, published in June 2014.[11][13]

Ethics, ecology, and economy are cited as areas of central concern to slow church.[14][15] Smith describes slow church as a "conversation" not a movement and has cited New Monasticism as an influence.[14] In its emphases on non-traditional ways for churches to operate and on "conversation" over dogma and hierarchy, slow church is also related to the broader Christian "emerging church" movement.


Main article: Slow cinema

Slow cinema is a cinematography style which derives from the art film genre and which consists in conveying a sense of calculated slowness to the viewer. Slow films often consist of a resistance to movement and emotion, a lack of causality and a devotion to realism.[16] This is usually obtained through the use of long takes, minimalist acting, slow or inexistent camera movements, unconventional use of music and sparse editing. Well-known slow cinema directors are Bèla Tarr, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Abbas Kiarostami, Tsai Ming-Liang, Andrei Tarkovsky and Theo Angelopoulos.


Recent technological advances have resulted in a fast-paced style of living. Slow counselors understand that many clients are seeking ways to reduce stress and cultivate a more balanced approach to life. Developed by Dr. Randy Astramovich and Dr. Wendy Hoskins and rooted in the slow movement, slow counseling offers counselors a wellness focused foundation for addressing the time urgency and stress often reported by clients.[17]


Main article: Slow education


The term slow fashion was coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007 (Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK).[18] "Slow fashion is not a seasonal trend that comes and goes like animal print, but a sustainable fashion movement that is gaining momentum."[19]

The slow fashion style is based on the same principles of the slow food movement, as the alternative to mass-produced clothing (also known as fast fashion). Initially, The slow clothing movement was intended to reject all mass-produced clothing, referring only to clothing made by hand,[20] but has broadened to include many interpretations and is practiced in various ways.[21]

Some examples of slow fashion practices include:

The slow fashion ethos is a unified representation of all the "sustainable", "eco", "green", and "ethical" fashion movements. It encourages education about the garment industry's connection and impact on the environment and depleting resources, slowing of the supply chain to reduce the number of trends and seasons, to encourage quality production, and return greater value to garments removing the image of disposability of fashion.[22][23][24] A key phrase repeatedly heard in reference to slow fashion is "quality over quantity". This phrase is used to summarise the basic principles of slowing down the rate of clothing consumption by choosing garments that last longer.


Main article: Slow Food

Opposed to the culture of fast food, the sub-movement known as slow food seeks to encourage the enjoyment of regional produce, traditional foods, which are often grown organically and to enjoy these foods in the company of others. It aims to defend agricultural biodiversity.

The movement claims 83,000 members in 50 countries, which are organised into 800 Convivia or local chapters.[25] Sometimes operating under a logo of a snail, the collective philosophy is to preserve and support traditional ways of life. Today, 42 states in the United States have their own convivium.

In 2004, representatives from food communities in more than 150 countries met in Turin, Italy, under the umbrella of the Terra Madre (Mother Earth) network.


Main article: Slow gardening

Slow gardening is an approach that helps gardeners savor what they grow using all their senses through all the seasons. It is not about being lazy; rather it is aimed at getting more out of what they do.


Slow goods takes its core direction from various elements of the overall slow movement and applying it to the concept, design and manufacturing of physical objects. It focuses on low production runs, the usage of craftspeople within the process and on-shore manufacturing. Proponents of this philosophy seek and collaborate with smaller, local supply and service partners.

Slow goods practitioners must have those tenets baked into their business model, it must be the top driver in the procurement of sustainable materials and manufacturing techniques. The rationale for this local engagement facilitates the assurance of quality, the revitalisation of local manufacturing industries and reduces greatly the footprint related to the shipment of goods across regions of land and or water.

Again, quality always supersedes quantity. The genesis of a product is becoming more of concern for consumers. Some companies have now woven this philosophy into their corporate structure. The source of a product and its parts has become increasingly more important.

Physical goods affected by the slow movement represent much diversity, including architecture and building design. The slow movement is affecting the concept and planning stages of commercial buildings, chiefly LEED certified projects.[26]

This movement seeks to break current conventions of perpetuating the disposable nature of mass production. By using higher-quality materials and craftsmanship, items attain a longer lifespan that harkens back to manufacturing golden era of the past.


Main article: Slow living

Slow living is a lifestyle choice. Authors Beth Meredith and Eric Storm summarize slow living as follows:

Slow Living means structuring your life around meaning and fulfillment. Similar to "voluntary simplicity" and "downshifting," it emphasizes a less-is-more approach, focusing on the quality of your life. ... Slow Living addresses the desire to lead a more balanced life and to pursue a more holistic sense of well-being in the fullest sense of the word. [27]


Slow marketing is a reaction to the perceived "always-on" nature of digital marketing.[28] It emphasizes a customer-centric outlook, sustainability, and ethics.[29] Slow marketing builds relationships with customers instead of encouraging immediate results, such using a limited time offer.[30]


Main article: Slow television

Slow media (or more specifically slow television) is a movement aiming at sustainable and focused media production as well as media consumption. It formed in the context of a massive acceleration of news distribution ending in almost realtime digital media such as Twitter. Beginning in 2010, many local slow media initiatives formed in the USA[31] and Europe (Germany,[32] France, Italy) leading to a high attention in mass-media.[33] Others experiment with a reduction of their daily media intake and log their efforts online ("slow media diet").


Main article: Slow Money

Slow Money is a specific non-profit organisation, founded to organise investors and donors to steer new sources of capital to small food enterprises, organic farms, and local food systems. Slow Money takes its name from the Slow Food movement. Slow Money aims to develop the relationship between capital markets and place, including social and soil fertility. Slow Money is supporting the grass-roots mobilisation through network building, convening, publishing, and incubating intermediary strategies and structures of funding.


Main article: Slow parenting

Slow parenting encourages parents to plan less for their children, allowing them to explore the world at their own pace. It is a response to hyper-parenting and helicopter parenting; the widespread trend for parents to schedule activities and classes after school every day and every weekend, to solve problems on behalf of the children, and to buy commercial services and products. It was described by Carl Honoré in Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture Of Hyper-Parenting.[34]


Main article: Slow photography

Slow photography is a term describing a tendency in today's contemporary photography and visual arts. In response to the spread of digital photography and the snapshot, artists and photographers retake manual techniques and working methods to work slower, manually and in constant dialogue with the physical materials of the images.

The term was first introduced by Norwegian photographer, artist and photo educator Johanne Seines Svendsen in the article "The Slow Photography – In Motion", published in the book Through a Glass, Darkly in January 2013, in collaboration with the North Norwegian Art Center, the Arts Council of Norway, and the Norwegian Photographical Fund.

The term was put into shape in the installation The Slow Photography at The 67th North Norwegian Art Exhibition, first opened in the city of Bodø in January 2013. The installation contained five original ambrotypes and alumitypes presented in a monter; and presents contemporary work with the historical photographical process wet-plate collodion (1851–1880).


Main article: Slow Science

The slow science movement's objective is to enable scientists to take the time to think and read. The prevalent culture of science is publish or perish, where scientists are judged to be better if they publish more papers in less time, and only these who do so are able to maintain their careers. Those who practice and promote slow science suggest that "society should give scientists the time they need".[35]


The slow technology approach aims to emphasise that technology can support reflection rather than efficiency. This approach has been discussed through various examples, for example those in interaction design[36] or virtual environments.[37] It is related to other parallel efforts such as those towards reflective design,[38] critical design and critical technical practice.


Slow travel is an evolving movement that has taken its inspiration from nineteenth-century European travel writers, such as Théophile Gautier, who reacted against the cult of speed, prompting some modern analysts to ask "If we have slow food and slow cities, then why not slow travel?".[39] Other literary and exploration traditions, from early Arab travellers to late nineteenth-century Yiddish writers, have also identified with slow travel, usually marking its connection with community as its most distinctive feature. Espousing modes of travel that were the norm in some less developed societies became, for some writers and travellers from western Europe such as Isabelle Eberhardt, a way of engaging more seriously with those societies.[40]

Advocates of slow travel argue that all too often the potential pleasure of the journey is lost by too eager anticipation of arrival. Slow travel, it is asserted, is a state of mind which allows travellers to engage more fully with communities along their route, often favouring visits to spots enjoyed by local residents rather than merely following guidebooks.[41] As such, slow travel shares some common values with ecotourism. Its advocates and devotees generally look for low-impact travel styles, even to the extent of eschewing flying.

Aspects of slow travel, including some of the principles detailed in the "Manifesto for Slow Travel:,[42] are now increasingly featuring in travel writing. The magazine Hidden Europe, which first published the "Manifesto for Slow Travel", has particularly showcased slow travel, featuring articles that focus on unhurried, low-impact journeys and advocating a stronger engagement with communities that lie en route.

A new book series launched in May 2010 by Bradt Travel Guides explicitly espouses slow travel ideas with volumes that focus very much on local communities within a tightly defined area, often advocating the use of public transport along the way. Titles include Bus-pass Britain, Slow Norfolk and Suffolk, Slow Devon and Exmoor, Slow Cotswolds, Slow North Yorkshire and Slow Sussex and South Downs National Park.

In the United States, the slow travel movement has engendered renewed interest of historic two-lane roads, including U.S. Route 66, and the Lincoln Highway, both transcontinental roads which are much slower than modern interstate highways.

Time poverty

The principal perspective of the slow movement is to experience life in a fundamentally different way. Adherents believe that the experience of being present leads to what Abraham Maslow refers to as Peak experience.

The International Institute of Not Doing Much[43] is a humorous approach to the serious topic of "time poverty", incivility, and workaholism. The Institute’s fictional presence promotes counter-urgency. First created in 2005, is a continually evolving work of art and humor which reports it has over 6,000 members.

See also



  1. The World Institute of Slowness
  2. 1 2 3 Kate Marie & Christopher Thomas (November 10, 2009). Fast Living Slow Ageing. Mileage Media. ISBN 9780980633900.
  3. 1 2 3 David Niven Miller. Growth Youthful.
  4. Nunley, Jan (8 January 2008). "Slow Church". anglimergent. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  5. Nunley, Jan (4 February 2008), "Slow Church", "Slow Church" Group Page, Facebook, retrieved 1 March 2013
  6. Childress, Kyle (20 May 2008). "Walking with God Slowly". Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  7. Land, Lucas (11 May 2009). "The Slow Church Movement". Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  8. Shellnutt, Kate (7 July 2011). "Slow food movement serves as church inspiration". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  9. McAteer, Anastasia; McAteer, John (29 July 2011). "Slow Food, Slow Church". Retrieved 1 March 2013. External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. Hauerwas, Stanley (6 July 2012). "Stan and Kyle Talk Slow Church". "Slow Church: Abiding Together in the Patient Work of God" (Interview). Interview with Kyle Childress. Chicago. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  11. 1 2 "Slow Church",, retrieved 2 March 2013
  12. "Slow Church", Patheos, retrieved 1 March 2013
  13. C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (2014). Slow Church. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0830841141.
  14. 1 2 Smith, C. Christopher (December 2012). "Slow Down and Know That I Am God: Why it's time for a conversation about Slow Church". Sojourners. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  15. Piatt, Christian (7 February 2013). "The Ikea Effect, Slow Church, and Laboring Our Way Into Love". Sojourners. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  17. "Slow Counseling: Promoting Wellness in a Fast World", Journal for International Counselor Education (2012) Volume 4.
  18. Fashion:Tailoring a Strategic Approach Towards Sustainability by Maureen Dickson, Carlotta Cataldi, and Crystal Grover
  19. What is Slow Fashion? by Jessica Bourland, Slow Fashioned
  20. Slow Clothing by Sharon Astyk, groovy green
  21. Slow Fashion 101
  22. "Slow Fashion" by Maureen Dickson, Carlotta Cataldi, and Crystal Grover
  23. Slow Fashion is not a Trend
  24. Cline, Elizabeth L. (2012) Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. Penguin Group. New York.
  25. "What's Slow Food, Anyway?", The Washington Post
  26. Slow Design in Building Practice
  27. Meredith, Beth and Storm, Eric. "Slow Living - Learning to Savor and Fully Engage with Life". 2009. Retrieved 2011-3-20.
  28. Kemp, Nicola (27 July 2015). "Why brands should embrace 'slow marketing'". Marketing. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  29. Blackshaw, Pete (29 June 2009). "It's Time for a Movement Toward 'Slow Marketing'". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  30. McGregor, Graham (23 April 2013). "Graham McGregor: 'Fast' versus 'slow' marketing". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  31. Slow Media Blog by Jennifer Rauch
  32. German Slow Media Manifesto
  33. Forbes Magazine, "Time for a Slow-Word Movement"
  34. Honoré, Carl (2008). Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children From The Culture Of Hyper-Parenting. Orion. ISBN 978-0-7528-7531-6.
  35. The Slow Science Academy, "The Slow Science Manifesto"
  36. Hallnäs, Lars and Johan Redström (2001). "Slow Technology: Designing for Reflection", Personal Ubiquitous Computing, 5, 3, pp. 201-212
  37. Roudavski, Stanislav (2013). 'Portmanteau Worlds: Hosting Multiple Worldviews in Virtual Environments', in Proceedings of the 19th International Symposium of Electronic Art, ISEA2013, ed. by Kathy Cleland, Laura Fisher and Ross Harley (Sydney: ISEA International, the Australian Network for Art & Technology, the University of Sydney)
  38. Sengers, Phoebe, Kirsten Boehner, Shay David and Joseph Kaye (2005). "Reflective Design", in Proceedings of the 4th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing: between Sense and Sensibility, ed. by Olav W. Bertelsen, Niels Olof Bouvin, Peter G. Krogh and Kynd Morten (Aarhus, Denmark: ACM), pp. 49-58
  39. hidden europe magazine (March 2009), "A Manifesto for Slow Travel"
  40. hidden europe notes (August 2012), "The Warm Shadow of Isabelle Eberhardt"
  41. Slow Travel Europe, "The Slow Way"
  42. Slow Travel Europe (March 2009), "A Manifesto for Slow Travel"

External links

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