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Collaborative Research Centre 1015 "Boundaries, Spatiotemporality, Practices"

Acceleration, time compression and efficiency are among the most important leading figures of our time. Their effects are changing our working world, contributing to the global redistribution of economic resources and making restlessness the sign of modernity. However, according to the initial thesis of SFB 1015, this does not make leisure a historically outdated category, but on the contrary, it gains a new social significance. Experiences of time compression in particular lead to a more fundamental reflection on free spaces in society and science, on the potentials for creativity and innovation that they can release, and on those basic anthropological questions that become visible in the tension between productivity and freedom experienced through leisure. An essential characteristic of leisure is its transgressive character. Leisure transcends opposites such as work and free time, acceleration and deceleration, activity and inactivity in a tense way. The experiences of freedom that are characteristic of leisure therefore do not remain isolated and limited to the times of leisure, but can have an effect on everyday life - by opening up a space for critical reflection, by practising new ways of experiencing or simply by the incongruence of the limited experience of autonomy in leisure with the ways of experiencing purposefulness that often characterise everyday life. In leisure, therefore, the relationship between individual freedom and social purpose is always negotiated, and it is always socially disputed who is entitled to leisure under which circumstances and how leisure and the need for productivity relate to each other. The SFB 1015 investigates cultures of leisure systematically, historically and empirically and, in the second funding phase, focuses even more strongly than before on the social and socio-political aspects of the topic. The analysis of very different historical and social practices as well as their discursive mediation and aesthetic encodings is intended to sharpen today's debate on the provision and use of time resources by making the basic anthropological questions associated with it recognisable and more precisely graspable. Specifically, the boundaries (project area G), spatiotemporality (project area R) and practices (project area P) of leisure will be explored from the perspective of English studies, ethnology, German medieval studies, human geography, art history, musicology, modern German literary history, psychology, psychosomatic medicine, Slavic studies, theology, European ethnology/cultural anthropology as well as forest and forestry studies.


Sub-project P3 - Leisure in the hospital? A Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Resident Doctors

Funding Phase 2 Duration 2017-2020

This sub-project is a continuation and extension of sub-project A4 Leisure in School from funding phase 1. Sub-project A4 succeeded in applying a mindfulness-based intervention that created access to the topic of leisure in the context of schools. The experiential approach to mindfulness as a modality of leisure allowed pupils and teachers an inner space to break free from functional states characterised by time pressure and stress. In funding phase 2, this approach is to be further developed and transferred to a context characterised as much as possible by time compression and pressure to perform - the hospital. The planned project aims to gain robust insights into the producibility of states similar to leisure by expanding the mindfulness-based intervention to include a focus on leisure orientation.  The starting point for this expansion is the realisation that a mindfulness practice that solely pursues the goals of stress management and performance enhancement only serves self-optimisation and thus remains entrenched in functionalisation and performance thinking. Funding phase 1 has shown that the ideal image of leisure as a de-functionalised, self-determined and fulfilled being is an orientation for the alignment of mindfulness practice in contexts characterised by stress and pressure to perform. The embedding of the project in the SFB makes it possible to anchor mindfulness to the concept of leisure; among other things, the present-oriented experience of time has emerged as an important factor, which will be studied more intensively in the new funding period. The target group of the intervention is assistant doctors. They are one of the most stressed occupational groups of all, with one of the highest prevalences of burnout. The project pursues the overarching goal of creating the necessary inner-psychological conditions in the hospital context, which is characterised by profit maximisation and high-performance medicine, and of directing a practice- and experience-oriented focus on humanistic aspects of medical action. The sub-project aims to introduce physicians to a present-oriented focus characterised by a perceived reduction in time pressure and serenity through a must-oriented mindfulness practice that is based on input from the SFB and expanded in the direction of health promotion/creativity/eudaimonia. This should serve doctors' stress management, health, openness, authenticity and fulfilment, but also radiate to patients. The multi-method empirical approach to leisure within this project is fed by the openness of leisure elaborated in the SFB, which makes an essentialist definition of leisure fall short. Conversely, the present project is an indispensable source of empirically ascertainable and producible aspects of leisure for the SFB. Specifically, a randomised and controlled study is planned (after a specifying implementation study) with 176 assistant doctors in several hospitals. The doctors will take part in a leisure-oriented mindfulness intervention (experimental group) or receive the same working time at their own disposal in the control group. The intervention consists of an eight-week course with weekly appointments in which leisure is discussed and various mindfulness techniques are learned and practised. The course is followed by a 10-month maintenance phase. Target criteria are (1) self-reported, questionnaire-based measures of time experience, burnout, empathy, stress experience, psychological well-being, mindfulness, self-care, work and life satisfaction, openness, fulfilment; (2) semi-structured qualitative interviews with a focus on living a successful life, authenticity and creativity; (3) third-party assessments by patients and staff; and (4) implicit, objective, eye-, voice-, keyboard- and mouse-related, and physiological measures (e.g., implicit procedures). e.g. implicit measures of the association between work and satisfaction, days off work, disengaged mind test).


Project management:

Prof. Dr. Anja Göritz


Prof. Dr. Stefan Schmidt


Research assistants:

Johannes Fendel, M.Sc.-Psych.



Vanessa Aeschbach, M.Sc.-Psych.


Sub-project A4: 'Leisure in the school context- promoting leisure, creativity and mental health through a mindfulness-based intervention'.

Completed project from funding phase 1 (2013-2016)

The etymological origin of school lies - in the ancient Greek word scholé - in leisure. However, due to time pressure, time compression and pressure to perform, the living space of school often lacks self-determined creative freedom and attentive moments. This is associated with a high level of psychological stress among pupils and teachers. Within the framework of the Collaborative Research Centre "Leisure. Concepts, Spaces, Figures", the sub-project has created an approach to leisure in the school context through a mindfulness-based intervention, with the aim of promoting mental health and creativity in pupils and teachers.

The following questions were investigated:

  1. To what extent can the experience of leisure in students and teachers be brought about and promoted through a mindfulness-based intervention?
  2. What effects do the interventions have on the creativity and health of students and teachers? 


The approach to the phenomenon of leisure in this context is through the attitude of mindfulness. Although scientific studies already show that the teaching of mindfulness in education is associated with a variety of positive effects, there are still hardly any studies on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in the school context, especially in the German-speaking countries. As part of the project, 11th grade students and teachers at three Freiburg high schools were offered the opportunity to voluntarily participate in a free course in "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction" (MBSR). The core of the intervention was eight two-hour Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses and one full-day course. The mindfulness courses were conducted by certified MBSR teachers. To scientifically monitor the effects of the interventions, 73 students and 90 teachers participated in the mindfulness-based intervention in a controlled waiting group design across three cohorts. The interventions were evaluated using a mixed-method approach with quantitative and qualitative methods. Test procedures were used to collect data on different psychological variables. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted to capture the experience of mindfulness and leisure as well as the resulting change processes - both on an individual and collective level. The concept of leisure served both as a hermeneutic category and as an object of study. Measurement points were before and after the intervention as well as after a follow-up period of four months after the MBSR course. The project thus makes a contribution to successful educational processes in a health-promoting school context in which space is created for leisure, creativity and the development of potential. In this sense, school can once again become more of a place of scholé.


Project management:

Prof. Dr. Joachim Bauer


Prof. Dr. Stefan Schmidt



Research assistants:

Minh Tam Luong, Dipl.-Psych.

Sarah Gouda, M.Sc.-Psych.


Student assistants:

Bastian Heger

Britta Clasen

Kiran Hug

Elina Kraemer


Publications and results

Gouda, S., Luong, M. T., Schmidt, S., & Bauer, J. (2016). Students and Teachers Benefit from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in a School-Embedded Pilot Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 590. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00590

Gouda, S. (2017) The Potential and Limits of Mindfulness for Teachers - A mixed-method investigation of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention in the school setting. Dissertation, eingereicht. here

Luong, M. T. (2017). Wie wirkt sich ein in der Schule eingebetteter MBSR-Kurs auf Jugendliche aus? Eine Mixed-Method Studie. Dissertation, eingereicht. here