Our activities

Time plays a fundamental role in our lives spanning the deepest mysteries of the natural world, the formation of our societal and individual belief systems, and the decisions we make and the urgency with which we take them. 

Our network seeks to tackle global challenges through fundamental and practical questions, such as:

  • Understanding time – What actually is time, what significance does it have in our lives and how do we obtain our temporal perspective? 
  • Measuring time – What leading-edge techniques for measuring time, on both long and short timescales, can we develop and share across disciplines?
  • Past, present and future – How does the past inform our understanding of the present and predictions for the future? Do we overemphasize the present and discount the future?
  • Evolving time – How have technology and globalisation changed our experiences of time? How can we manage, respond and shape such evolution?

We aim to focus these questions around specific grand challenges including the climate and environmental crises, disaster risk reduction, socio-economic inequalities, questions of identity, our ageing population, and economic productivity.

If you would like to present at a future lecture, please email the Interdisciplinary Research Network for Time at networkfortime@leeds.ac.uk

Time seminar

Wednesday 3 April, 12pm – 1.30pm (online / in person)


Professor Amanda Bretman (Biology, Leeds)
Professor Henry Yeomans (Law and Criminology, Leeds)


12pm – 12.25pm – Start/lunch available 
12.25pm – 12.45pm – Amanda Bretman “Time flies: a fruit fly model of behavioural plasticity")
12.45pm – 12.50pm – Break/Change-over
12.50pm – 1.10pm – Henry Yeomans “Historical Change and the Contemporaneity of the Non-Contemporaneous: A Case Study of Alcohol Regulation”
1.10pm – 1.30pm – More lunch and Discussions

How to attend

Location: Baines GR.03, University of Leeds (with lunch provided)
Attend online: Join via Microsoft Teams from 12.15pm

Time seminar abstracts

Time flies: a fruit fly model of behavioural plasticity 

Professor Amanda Bretman (Biology, Leeds): “Organisms have to cope with environmental factors that change over differing timescales. Animals can use behavioural flexibility as a relatively cheap way to respond to changing environments. We use a fruit fly model to understand how males use social environments to alter their reproductive strategies and find that time is a key element in their ‘decision-making’.”

Historical Change and the Contemporaneity of the Non-Contemporaneous: A Case Study of Alcohol Regulation

Professor Henry Yeomans (Law and Criminology, Leeds): “This presentation engages with the view that historical time is plural and the consequent implication that multiple historical times are present within any one chronological moment. It uses the history of alcohol regulation in England and Wales as a case study, exploring some of the multiple historical times which are present within contemporary systems of licensing, policing and other means of governing drinking. It draws on Koselleckian ideas about the sedimentation of time as well as borrowing concepts from the field of historical institutionalism (including ‘transformation by accumulation’ and ‘layering’) and using them to help identify some of these plural temporal formations.”

Time workshop

Tuesday 16 April, 10am – 4.30pm

Communicating Time: Communication and time-based phenomena, policy, decisions, and narratives

The need to communicate time, and time-based phenomena, cuts across every discipline. It is essential to the distribution of findings, the implementation of effective long-term policy, the construction of narratives and arguments, and the dissemination of key messages. All these areas require us to optimally communicate concepts of time that frequently don’t fit within the dominant, short-term-focused world and society in which we live. Tackling the problematic mismatch in timescales between macro-scale phenomena and the everyday experience, or between continuous, ‘slow’ phenomena and the events-driven information-delivery systems of modern society, is a fundamental challenge.

This in-person sandpit workshop aims to bring diverse researchers together to identify productive overlaps across disciplines, to create potential collaborations, and begin to outline research proposals for how we can better communicate ideas of time with one another.

We will also be joined by Samantha Aspinall, Head of Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Leeds. Samantha is currently on secondment to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to develop their interdisciplinary cross-council funding scheme. Samantha will be discussing interdisciplinary research development and funding.


Session A – Introduction, Keynotes, Activities
Keynote plus questions – Lynn Wray and Clare Barker on Communicating Slow Violence
Keynote plus questions – Simon Popple on Generative AI and History
Session B – Sandpit: Breakouts for Collaboration, Projects and Funding
Coffee break
Session C – Feedback from Breakouts, Next Steps

How to attend

Location: G.01, Newlyn Building, University of Leeds

Register to reserve your place via EventBrite

Recorded events

Catch up with previous lectures and seminars from our keynote speakers:

Interdisciplinary Research Network for Time launch event

Watch the keynote presentation from Anne Curtis, National Physical Laboratory, UK.
Watch the keynote presentation from Bren Neale,  Emeritus Professor of Life Course and Family Research, University of Leeds.
Watch the keynote presentation from Melanie Giles, University of Manchester.
Watch the keynote presentation from Simon Blockley, Royal Holloway, University of London.