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Working Lives and Being in the Zone

Monday, 17 June 2013, 11:00 - 18:00

River Room, Second Floor, King’s Building, Strand Campus, King’s College London. Map and directions:

The first 'Being in the Zone' project event.

Being in the zone’ is a term often used to describe the feeling of living ‘in the moment’, or existing in a state of intense concentration or exceptional clarity. To be in the zone is to achieve excellence or perfection beyond the ordinary. But what actually is this ‘zone’? And what are its range of effects? Analysis of being-in-the-zone often focuses on the internal psychological states of individuals and so underestimates the importance of social and cultural factors to heightened creative performance and the cultural significance of achieving a personal best.

This research network is examining the social and cultural dimensions of being in the zone through a linked series of discussions about peak performance in music, sport and cultural labour.

This one day workshop critically examines the idea of 'being in the zone' in relation to work and labour and brings together an international group of scholars to discuss and examine these concepts.

This event is the first AHRC Research Network event on 'The Importance of Culture to Peak Performance in Sport, Arts and Work'.


Dr Mark Banks, Reader , Sociology, Open University

Dr Ed Granter, Lecturer, Organisation and Society, University of Manchester 

Dr Melissa Gregg, Principal Engineer, Intel Centre for Social Computing, University of California Irvine.

Dr Tim Jordan, Senior Lecturer, Digital Humanities and Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King's College London

Dr Gina Neff, Associate Professor, University of Washington

Dr Lynne Pettinger, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Essex University

Prof Kath Woodward, Sociology, Open University


10.45-11.15         Registration, coffee/tea, waking up, chat

11.15-11.30         Session 1 

Why Being In The Zone?, Kath Woodward and Tim Jordan introduce the AHRC Research Network

11.30-12.30         Session 2 

Melissa Gregg, A brief history of time management

12.30-1.30           Lunch

1.30-2.30             Session 3 

Mark Banks, Being in the zone of cultural work

Lynne Pettinger, In the zone or in the shit: (extra)ordinary affects at work

2.30-3.30            Session 4

Ed Granter, 'Sometimes it goes up to eleven'... extreme work in healthcare management

Tim Jordan, Theorising Being in the Zone: the open, the body without organs and computer programmers

3.30-4.00            Tea/Coffee

4.00-5.00           Session 5

Gina Neff, New media and virtual labour

5.00-5.30            Reflection and Discussion