The Restless Compendium

© SpringerInterdisciplinary Investigations of Rest and Its Opposites
Felicity Callard, Kimberley Staines, & James Wilkes
28 September 2016

This book is open access under a CC BY license and can be downloaded free of charge here.


Rest’s presence or absence affects everyone, but defining rest is difficult. What is it that we are actually doing when we're resting? What is the opposite of rest, and how does this differ across society and history?

Felicity Callard, Kimberley Staines, and James Wilkes are part of Hubbub, residents of The Hub at Wellcome Collection. Hubbub has spent two years collaborating to unpick, remake and transform the meaning of rest and its opposites. The Restless Compendium brings together the research of many Hubbub collaborators and opens the door to a new set of perspectives and conversations about rest. It also presents initial findings from Hubbub’s Rest Test, the largest global survey on rest that has ever been undertaken, which asked participants about their resting habits and subjective responses to rest.

The book contains 22 essays on rest and restlessness, silence and noise, relaxation and work. It draws together approaches from artists, literary scholars, psychologists, historians, geographers, sociologists and activists, who challenge assumptions about how rest operates across minds, bodies, and practices.

The authors open up unexplored corners and experimental pathways into this complex and ambiguous topic, with a range of contributions such as:

  • Investigations of daydreaming and mind-wandering
  • Histories of therapeutic relaxation and laziness
  • Creative-critical pieces on lullabies and the Sabbath
  • Experimental methods to measure aircraft noise and track somatic vigilance in urban space

The Restless Compendium includes accounts of how the contributors and editors have tracked and reflected on their work across disciplinary boundaries to investigate rest as an aesthetic, political, physiological, and sociological phenomenon. More broadly, the essays explore how different practices – including musical composition, political activism, literary fiction, and scientific experimentation – can allow for different ways of interpreting and interrogating research questions. The book shines a light on how many ways we can re-examine a common element of life to uncover new understanding.




About the Authors

Felicity Callard is Director of Hubbub, The Hub at Wellcome Collection, UK and Professor in Social Science for Medical Humanities at Durham University, UK.

Kimberley Staines is Project Coordinator at Hubbub, The Hub at Wellcome Collection, UK and an employee of Durham University, UK, with a background in law and publishing.

James Wilkes is Associate Director of Hubbub, The Hub at Wellcome Collection, UK. He is a poet, writer and Senior Researcher at the Department of Geography, Durham University, UK.

For more information about Hubbub: http://hubbubresearch.org/

For more information or to get in touch with the authors please contact:
Rebecca Krahenbuhl – Communications Manager, Palgrave Macmillan

rebecca.krahenbuhl@palgrave.com, +44 0207 014 6634