UW News

October 16, 2003

UW museum and libraries to offer paths to Take Back Your Time on Oct. 24

Students, staff and campus visitors alike can meditate, write poems, try yoga, experience “being present” and even listen to a story on Oct. 24 as the UW puts its own twist on Take Back Your Time Day, a nationwide campaign to challenge the modern epidemic of overwork and overscheduling.

The Oct. 24 date, nine weeks before the end of the calendar year, highlights the statistic that Americans work nine weeks more each year than Western Europeans, organizers say. The day, featuring events nationwide, has been spearheaded by Seattle activist John de Graaf.

UW venues will include the Henry Art Gallery and two main libraries.

“Libraries and museums are communal spaces — sanctuaries — that encourage us to take back our time,” said David M. Levy, a professor at the UW’s Information School. “We might think of them as laboratories for the cultivation of stillness, reflection and deep attention, some of the qualities missing from our over-busy lives.”

At the Henry, admission will be free all day and visitors encouraged to take advantage of quiet museum spaces, artworks and two special Time Day programs, including a meditation and a drop-in poetry workshop. Library events will include a story hour and yoga classes.

Levy, who organized the campus Time Day events, is a former computer scientist who now teaches future librarians and information scientists. New technologies, he said, often rob people of time instead of making more of it, and the barrage of information has made it more difficult for people to find something of value.

These themes will be amplified at the Information, Silence and Sanctuary conference planned at the UW for next May, which will bring international scholars to discuss similar issues.


HENRY ART GALLERY (free admission all day, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.)\

 Art and Contemplation: A Vipassana Meditation

David Zucker, Seattle Insight Meditation Society

3 p.m., in the exhibition “James Turrell: Knowing Light”

A meditation leader takes participants through a 30-minute session, followed by an option to discuss the experience. Please wear loose clothing and bring a pillow.

Drop-In Poetry Workshop: Experimental James Turrell Poetry Studio

Led by Henry Education staff

2 p.m.-5 p.m. in the Education Studio

Drop in and make a poem using a random handful of words. Stay for three minutes or three hours and see what happens when you mix the words from the Turrell exhibition with vocabularies from various fields that relate to his work: astronomy, flight, physics, literature and perceptual psychology.


Yoga in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library (Room 220)

Taking back your time means taking time to unwind, reprioritize and create space — internally and externally. Use this opportunity to experience Hatha Yoga, an ancient Eastern Indian form of self-care that integrates deep breathing, strength development, and gentle stretching.

Session I: 10:30 a.m.
Session II: 12:30 p.m.
Session III: 2:30 p.m.

Suzzallo Story Hour (Smith Room) 

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. 

Take back your time as storyteller, editor and author Allison Cox performs in Suzzallo Library’s restored Smith Room. Combining her training and experiences as a therapist and social worker with her love of story, Cox connects across cultures and generations to add balance to busy lives.


Parrington Hall Forum, Third Floor

A Drama-based Experiential Workshop on Presence

3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Central to a beneficial relationship with time is the ability to “be present” — to have whatever we are doing at the moment be the most important thing there is. In this two-hour interactive drama-based experiential workshop, participants will learn to distinguish being present from not being present, and learn to apply that distinction to their daily lives and college experience.