Slow Violence

Symposium Wednesday 29 November 10.30am – 4.00pm, Todd Building - room AB14529

Booking - This event is free, but booking is requested via Eventbrite. For general inquiries please contact

Exhibition November 2017- 20 January 2018 - Art & Design Gallery, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield. Exhibition Opening Reception 29 November 5.00pm - 7.00pm. Free.

(Ackroyd & Harvey) Photographer: Gorm Ashurst

The project

Violence is customarily conceived as an event or action that is immediate in time, explosive and spectacular in space and as erupting into instant sensational visibility. We need, I believe to engage a different kind of violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive, its calamitous repercussions playing out across a range of temporal scales. In so doing, we also need to engage the representational, narrative and strategic challenges posed by the relative invisibility of slow violence.

Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

In a time of mass media, where only the spectacular and immediate draws our attention, disasters that are slow moving and long-term in the making seem to flow past us unnoticed and easy to ignore. Climate change is one such disaster, its escalation a slow violence experienced daily, yet often unremarked, even invisible, in our sea of sensational imagery.Slow Violence is an exhibition and accompanying symposium that takes as its starting point the evocative and provocative title of Rob Nixon’s seminal book of the same name - exploring the many ways in which we can reshape narrative and visual representations of climate change.

The Symposium

This one-day symposium will draw from Nixon’s forensic examination of the long-term effects of environmental damage, by exploring both the visualisation of slow violence and the far-reaching consequences in areas such as health, economics, education and migration.


Introduced by artist filmmaker, and UH research Samantha Jury, guest speakers include:

Prof. Jane Hardy, Professor of Political Economy, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Prof. Christian Kloeckner – Environmental Psychologist, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway

Alice Sharp - Founder, Curator and Director of Invisible Dust, London, UK

Dr. Kamila Kuc – Filmmaker, Author and Course Director of Media, Coventry University, UK

Dr. Julian Manley –  Research Fellow, University of Central Lancashire and Member of Climate Psychology Alliance, UK

Steve Shelley - Principal Lecturer in Human Resource Management, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Laura Sommer – PhD Climart Research Project, NTNU, Norway

Dr. Michael Pinsky – Visual Artist and Exhibitor of the Slow Violence Exhibition, UK

Emma Critchley – Visual Artist and Exhibitor of the Slow Violence Exhibition, UK

Laura Coleman, PhD, Visual Arts, University of Hertfordshire, UK

The Exhibition

Slow Violence Exhibition introduces work by eight UK-based artists to reconsider the ubiquitous and prevalent threat of climate change.Working across film, photography, installation and sculpture, the contributing artists challenge us to rethink the prevailing climate change iconography - of melting ice caps or desertification.  Rejecting the spectacular and immediate for disasters that are slow moving and long-term, their visual interpretations often draw attention to what is happening closer to home, within our own local environments.

Presented in collaboration with the School of Creative Arts across an exhibition, symposium and other events, Slow Violence takes its name and impetus from Rob Nixon’s seminal book ‘Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor’ (2013).  Nixon suggests we reject the idea of violence as explosive or sensational, and instead“engage a different kind of violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive.” Slow Violence acknowledges that the violence of climate change can often be unrecognized, even invisible, incremental, localized, extended, durational.


Ackroyd & Harvey

Adam Chodzko

Emma Critchley

Ellie Harrison

Tom James

Katie Paterson

Michael Pinsky

Thomson & Craighead

The Slow Violence exhibition, symposium and events were developed collaboratively by UHGalleries and the Contemporary Art Practice Group, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire. Both will draw from the work of the major research project Climart whose project coordinator and visual arts lead is filmmaker Samantha Jury – Research Group Leader at the University of Hertfordshire.