David Ellison is a senior lecturer in literary studies and cultural history in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Griffith University. He is also a member of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research. His interest in leisure dates from a catalogue essay he wrote for photo-media artist Anne Zahalka’s series Leisureland.
Oh, the shame of it
Non-fictionModern leisure emerged in the West in the early 1700s when French and English cities developed new forms of society built around urban amenities – parks, cafés, fairs and shopping districts – servicing an expanding class of people with discretionary time and income. Public museums as storehouses of national culture appeared a little later in the nineteenth century where they contributed to the development of so-called ‘rational recreation’, a species of serious leisure intended to ‘civilise the masses’.