PhD Courses in Denmark

The Aesthetic Experience and the Aesthetics of Slowness (2023)

Doctoral School of the Humanities at Aalborg University

3 - 5 ECTS, depending on students presenting and getting comments on a chapter from their thesis. An ECTS certficate will be provided.

Application to Hanne Porsborg Clausen:

Application deadline: 16th of June 2023; Acceptance June 23rd. Accommodation payment before August 1st

To apply, please provide a motivated application including half a page of what you expect to gain from the summer school. Further, provide the title of your PhD, an abstract of your PhD (max 1 p.) and a short CV (max 1 p.).

Further indicate, if you want to present and get feedback to one chapter in your thesis.

Participation in the summer school is free, however you have to pay for accommodation and food (see below). 

The summer school can have 18 participants.


Accommodations: We have reserved rooms with 2 single beds, at Solhjem Bjergby.

The hostel is situated in the garden of Peterspladsen, a sculpture park, by the Outsider Artist Peter of Denmark. The sculptures are restored by Marit Benthe Norheim.   

Food and eating: Lunches, coffee and dinners will take place in the artists’ studios at their farm Stenshede in Mygdal. The costs are shared and students pay directly to the organizers. A local chef will provide food related to the overall concept of Slowness. (Please inform us; if you are vegetarian/vegan or have allergies.)

Students have to pay prior to arrival, before August 1st 2023. The cost for 4 nights at the Solhjem hostel, and for food during the course (13-17th of August) will be altogether 2500 DKK per person.

(Alternatively, there is a possibility of B&B and other accommodation, which you can organize yourself, but please be aware, it’s a very busy period.)

Arrival if you choose Solhjem: We suggest that you take the train or bus to Hjørring, where you will be picked up by the organizers. (Unless you are able to bring your own car.) From the station to Solhjem there’s a 12-minutes’ drive. Please inform the organizers about your arrival schedule.

Transportation: From Solhjem/Peterspladsen to Stenshede Studios, Mygdal (4,5 km): The organizers will provide transportation.

Please inform the organizers if you bring a car. Alternatively, you can also bring or rent a bike






Contemporary culture, through the powerful impact of new technologies and economic incentives, has increasingly emphasized the value of speed. We want not only our machines but also our human performances to function more quickly and efficiently. We expect faster results and rhythms in our daily life, and we grow impatient with things that take more time. Fast food is now ubiquitous, and its unsatisfactory aesthetic qualities have stimulated a response of resistance, such as the slow food movement.

Our ability to savor art in a slow and deep manner is increasingly threatened in a lifeworld that always privileges speed. At the same time, the design of human computer interaction and digital services demand a much deeper insight into the aesthetics of experience. Aesthetic experience has traditionally found its value in a fullness and wholeness that calls for extended attention that requires taking one’s time.

We will combine reading and lectures in aesthetic philosophy and learning theory with a temporally extended, full-bodied aesthetic experience of interacting with works of art by traveling with and in them as they move slowly through an aesthetically attractive countryside in North Jutland. The course will be interdisciplinary, combining perspectives of artists, art critics, philosophy, and theories of learning and human-computer interaction.

German philosophers of art distinguish between two forms of experience. On the one hand, there is Erfahrung that requires taking time and that is characterized by development and movement towards wholeness and completion of meaning and form. The word contains the verb form of “fahren” which means travel and thus implies taking time. In contrast, there is Erlebnis, that is a more sudden and sensational experience, something that is simply lived through. The summer school will focus on aesthetic experience in the sense of Erfahrung and will take the idea of travel literally by involving travel with and in selected artworks.

The summer school will explore aesthetic experience and the aesthetics of slowness through a number of questions:

  • Aesthetic Experiences of Slowness: Time, space, materiality, and atmosphere
  • How artworks afford the experiences of slowness? And how are the participants enacting the experiences of slowness?
    • What is the individual/group resistance / pleasure/dynamics to get into the mood of slow experience?
    • How do the participants integrate the experience of slowness to their hyper-networked and busy everyday life?
  • How does slowness enable a clearer perception of the environmental contexts in which our aesthetic experiences and perceptions of art unfold.
  • How to reflect the aesthetics experience of slowness in the PhDs thesis-work?

Significance and learning objectives:

To provide a framework and to experience the aesthetics of slowness.

To theorize on the experiences of an artwork: time, space and materiality.

Learning objectives:


To demonstrate theoretical and historical knowledge of the concept of aesthetics experience and the aesthetics of slowness.


Being skillful in exploring the aesthetics of slowness

Being skillful in publishing about the aesthetics of slowness

Being skillful in relating the aesthetics of slowness to own research agenda.


Being competent in researching the phenomenology of the aesthetics of slowness, and understanding the complexity of the application of the phenomenon to different use practices (art, learning, human-computer interaction and philosophy).

The summer school will be organized as a mini collaborative inquiry project with lectures and PhD students collaborating on the research questions. The summer school will use the mobile sculptural installation, Campingwomen as a shared humanities lab for exploring these questions. The course will build on an experiential learning approach providing a lab for the participants to explore, experiment, reflect and conceptualize and re-design their own area of research. A mix of methods will be used: introspective documentation of experiences contrasted with scientific measurements, curated conceptual discussions, and lectures on the core concepts.

Further, the students will get an opportunity to work on their own PhD projects and reflect on the findings from the summer school. The summer school will produce a shared publication: “On the Aesthetics of Slowness.” We are at the moment exploring the possibilities contributing to a special issue on the Journal of Somaesthetics to be published in 2024.

The course will use the digital learning platform Moodle as a shared infrastructure for the course. All the materials will be uploaded in Moodle.


Marit Benthe Norheim & Claus Ørntoft: Relational Arts.
-The artists’ studios as experiential and experimental spaces.

Richard Shusterman: Somaesthetics, Aesthetic Experience, and the Dynamics of Time.

Else Marie Bukdahl: Milan Kundera’s, Paul Virilio, and J.-F. Lyotard’s concept of “The Aesthetics of Slowness” - focusing on Visual Art.

Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld: When the Women comes.
–The Campingwomen as a space for Learning: Experience, ownership, slowness and materiality.


All lectures will reflect on research methods to be used.



 13th of August


14th of August


15th of August


16th of August


17th of August

9 - 11


Morning lecture


Morning lecture

Morning lecture

Morning lecture

11 - 18






16 – 18: Arrival Solhjem Hostel in Bjergby

Working in the lab: Camping women and the research design

Inquiring the aesthetic experience of slowness as ´fahren´ with the Campingwomen. Data collections

Reflecting the aesthetics experience in the PhD fellows thesis work

Final plenary:

Conceptualizing time, space and materiality.

Shared publication


16:00 - departure


Dining together at Stenshede in Mygdal and informal gathering exploring slowness

Dining together and mutual reflection

Dining together and conceptualizing the experience

Dining together.

Groups present their work using methods from critical design




Key literature – selected chapter (preliminary)

Benjamin, W., Demetz, P., & Jephcott, E. F. N. (2018). Reflections: Essays, aphorisms, autobio- graphical writings. Boston: Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bukdahl, E.M (2019) Can site-specific art create new thinking, engagement, and even action? Lecture at Art and the City / My Liberty in Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdansk 11. October 2019.

Dewey, J. (1995). Art as experience ([Nachdr.]; 1. Perigee print 1980). New York, NY: Berkley. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L. (2016). Opening up the Humanities. Camping Women as a Humanities exploratori- um. Akademisk kvarter / Academic Quarter, 13, 165 - 177.

Shusterman, R. (2000). Performing live: Aesthetic alternatives for the ends of art. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.

Shusterman, R. (2012). Thinking through the body: Essays in somaesthetics. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Virilio, P. (1991). The lost dimension. New York, N.Y.: Semiotext(e).

Virilio, P., & Beitchman, P. (2009). The aesthetics of disappearance. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e)