If the SLOW movement has passed you by, here it is in a nutshell or should that be ‘a snail shell…’?


The 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 which sparked the creation of  what went on to be known as the Slow Food movement (Slow Food UK HERE). Over time, this developed into an array of tenuously linked subcultures in miriad other areas such as Cittaslow (Slow Cities), Slow Living, Slow Travel, Slow Design, Slow Art, Slow Gardening, Slow Money, Slow Parenting, Slow Schooling, Slow Technology, Slow Blogging etc. etc…. Surely there must be a place here for a new sub-culture – namely inland SLOW boating (as opposed to ocean-going slow boating about which there’s already quite a lot written on the internet)? Apologies in advance to Ikon Arts who used the name Slow Boat HERE for their innovative three year project involving the Ikon Youth Project working with contemporary artists and a converted narrowboat.)


Geir Berthelsen and his creation of The World Institute of Slowness in 1999 presented a vision for an entire ‘Slow Planet’ and a need to teach the world the Way of Slow.

Carl Honoré’s 2004 book, In Praise of Slowness, explored how a 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 as:

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. Savouring 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.

Norwegian cultural philosopher Prof. Guttorm Fløistad summarised the movement as:

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 organized and controlled by a single organization. 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 Slow initiatives spreading as far as Australia and Japan.

An excellent gazette of the movement can be found here: http://www.slowmovement.com



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