Making Sense of the High Speed Society

ONLINE via Zoom (9:00am -- , GMT), 14. January 2022.

On Friday January 14th, the Pause for Thought project will be hosting a one-day symposium <> on the theme 'Making Sense of the High Speed Society.'

The symposium will be held on Zoom and will include keynote preentations by David Berry and Rebecca Coleman. The full day's schedule is pasted below - if you are interested in attending, please register your interest with Tom Sutherland ( and Scott Wark ( to receive a link and password.


The world seems to change so rapidly, it often feels hard to keep up. Concerns regarding the hurried pace and constant upheaval of everyday life are not at all new, but anxieties surrounding these issues seem to be growing increasingly acute, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic (witness, for instance, the focus on problems of ‘burnout’).Continual upheaval, one of the characteristic features of modernity from the Industrial Revolution onward, has intensified to the point where our societies are unable to adjust.This inability to keep up manifests most strikingly in the realm of technology: the platforms, devices, apps, and other media forms that leave a mark on our everyday lives emerge and then obsolesce with dizzying rapidity.

We have all likely devised and shared tactics for adapting to and managing the pressures that the high-speed society places upon us – ways of dealing with the fact that we cannot, and perhaps should not, keep up with the pace of change. That is, ‘media literacy’ – the question of how we learn to navigate the fluctuations of our hyper-mediated world and how we share that skill and knowledge with others – is not an issue that can or should be confined merely to the institutional setting of the university. It does not occur solely within the classroom. In a world saturated by media technologies, all of us must learn – have learned – to live with media’s accelerating pace of change. Or: to ‘make sense’ of media technology even as it threatens to leave us behind.

*9.00am Keynote one:*

    David M. Berry (Professor of Digital Humanities – University of
    Sussex): ‘Personal Computation’

10.00–10.15am [morning break]

*10.15am Panel one*(chair: Scott Wark):

    Tina Kendall (Anglia Ruskin University): ‘Staying Connected to Stay
    Safe: Boredom and Social Media Literacy in a High-Speed Society’

    Yanning Huang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University): ‘From “996”,
    “Involution” to “The Philosophy of Lying Flat”: The Classed Practice
    of Talking About (and Dealing With) Overwork in High-Speed China’

    Henrik Bødker and Philip Pond (Aarhus University and University of
    Melbourne): ‘Events, Acceleration and Attention Politics’

    Ben Potter (University of Sussex): ‘Hegemony of the Fad:
    Ephemerality, Reproduction and the Losing Time for Thought on TikTok’

11.45am–12.45pm [lunch break]

*12.45pm Panel two*(chair: Tom Sutherland):

    Leah Junck (University of Cape Town): ‘The Times of Tinder:
    Perceptions of Intimacy in a Fast-Paced Dating Environment’

    Emir Kurmuş (Boğaziçi University): ‘Insights for the Complex
    Interaction Between Acceleration and Deceleration Through the
    Analysis of White-Collar Employees’ Sleep Patterns and Time Pressure
    in Istanbul’

    Lorenzo Olivieri (University of Bologna): ‘Temporalities of
    Non-Knowledge Production: Acceleration and Repetition in the Italian
    Asylum System’

    Andreas Schellewald (Goldsmiths, University of London):
    ‘Understanding the Practice of “Mindless” Scrolling on TikTok in the
    Context of Pandemic Life and Social Acceleration’

2.15–2.30pm [afternoon break]

*2.30pm Panel three*(chair: Zara Dinnen):

    Krista Lepik (University of Tartu): ‘Temporal Tension Fields in
    Museums and Libraries’

    Manuela Arruda Galindo and Paula Sibilia (Fluminense Federal
    University): ‘Running to Miss Nothing: Anxious Temporality and the
    Frustration of the (Un)limited’

    Sandy Di Yu (University of Sussex): ‘The Enclosure of Free Time in
    the Digital Society: How the Advent of Platform Capitalism Parallels
    the Process of Primitive Accumulation in the Transition to
    Post-Feudal Capitalistic Europe’

    Victoria Stanton and Stacey Cann (Concordia University): ‘Pedagogy
    and Time’

*3.45pm Keynote two: *

    Rebecca Coleman (Reader – Goldsmiths, University of London):
    ‘Infrastructures of Feeling: The Digital Mediation of the Present’