Get ‘in the middle’ of social change: Mediation Awareness Week events at the RSA - RSA

Get ‘in the middle’ of social change: Mediation Awareness Week events at the RSA


  • Rawthmells
  • Fellowship
  • Fellowship in Action

Join for special Mediation Awareness Weeks at the RSA and hear more about what it can do for social change at every level.

Repeat after me: ‘Conflict is natural.’ 

Think about it – this world is filled with billions of people simultaneously trying to navigate life despite our different histories, perspectives, cultures, personalities, needs and aspirations. We’re certain to experience friction, if not outright conflict, at many points along the way. To facilitate social change well we need to navigate conflict and learn how to deal with difficult situations with objectivity, yet we’re rarely taught the skills and approaches to understand and deal with conflict constructively. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that many RSA Fellows are mediators, myself included.  I’ve worked at the community level, working with volunteer mediators who support difficult conversations between friends who failed to pay back loans, neighbours who can’t resolve issues over trees or noise, family disputes over inheritance or custody and more.   There are also mediators who specialise in corporate issues, employment disputes, medical negligence and those with the incredibly important and challenging job of bringing together international leaders to reach consensus in high-stakes situation.  

What might you learn from mediators, and how might that knowledge be applicable in your approach to life, work and social change?  We hope you’ll join us for a lively programme of provocations designed to surface the diverse applications of mediation and highlight mediators within our Fellowship. 

Explore ideas, challenges and provocations around the table while exploring new serendipitous connections with Fellows and friends over light nibbles and drinks. 

We'll exchange ideas and share experiences of how dialogue can transform conflict and heal divides on Thursday 3 October 2019.  We’ll consider the roles we can all as individuals play to enabling the dismantling of divisions and the building of a culture that is collaborative, not combative.  


RSA Breakfast Club: The value of community mediation

Wednesday 9 October, 8:30-9:30am 

RSA Breakfast Club offers a monthly opportunity to meet other Fellows and start the day with a purposeful conversation.  Join us in for a discussion about community mediation, its benefits, and how we might measure them. 

What is the value of community mediation?  Can it be measured?  Community mediation can be powerful for communities, dramatically improving the quality of life for those affected and removing the debilitating effects of conflict.  Sometimes the benefit is obvious, for example where money is saved, but there are many greater invisible benefits such as well-being.  Could this be measured? How?  

John Allison FRSAChair of the London Community Mediation Council and Bromley Community Mediation Service, will host this breakfast conversation, which invites all to explore how we might value and measure the benefits of community mediation. 


RSA Rawthmells: Friday Conversations

Friday 11 October, 12-3pm, 5-6pm BST

Every Friday from midday The Steps, our mini amphitheatre, is filled with social change conversations. 

These conversations provide a weekly opportunity to share inspiring ideas for change, to celebrate a social change project making an impact, or to share learning and expertise on how to make change.  

You're welcome to drop by, order some lunch and #JoinTheConversation. Stay all afternoon or just for a while as you enjoy your lunchbreak, it's up to you. 

  • 12pm: Can the ‘magic’ of mediation enhance democracy and human rights? Whether it is Brexit impasse, strains on the UK constitution or strife over tariffs on global trade, we are living in times of major turbulence for democracy.   Consensus and negotiated outcomes are important to effective democraciescan the politicians learn some lessons from the world of practising commercial mediators? Dr Karl Mackie CBE FRSA is Founder President of CEDR (the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution), a barrister and psychologist, and has been a pioneer in promoting and practising mediation in commercial and legal disputes internationally for nearly 30 years.   Join Karl to hear more about the key elements of commercial mediation practice and why it generates dramatic results in nearly 80% of cases and to discuss whether and how the lessons from successful mediation practice can be adapted to our political systems to enable us to have better political conversations and better outcomes.  Watch live on our YouTube channel.

  • 1pm: Mediation as a skill for the future. The waves of change are swelling and growing faster.   If we are to work together to face the challenges of the 21st century we must transform how we view relationships and conflict.  Mediation expert Jane Gunn FRSA will discuss how mediation skills of listening, facilitation and dialogue can transform our traditional approaches to relationships and problem-solving.    Can mediation skills help business leaders take organisations through times of change, challenge and crisis and political leaders tackle climate change, environmental disaster and political upheaval?   Jane, a former corporate lawyer, specialises in transforming business relationships; she was a member of the RSA’s Tomorrow’s Company inquiry, a major review of the way in which British businesses operate and behave. Watch live on our YouTube channel.

  • 2pm: Accessing the future - what is the role of mediation in education? Mediation can be a powerful dispute resolution tool to help young people with Special Educational Needs ("SEN") access education and reduce antagonism between families, local authorities and schools.  How mediation can help resolve issues in the education sector, and how does this resemble/differ from commercial mediation?  Laurence Cobb is an SEN accredited mediator and a civil and commercial mediator, being an in-house mediator for Global Mediation Limited and a CEDR Panel mediator. He was a Partner in the international law firm Taylor Wessing LLP until March this year, specializing in contentious construction and engineering law, and has retired from the law to focus on mediation. He has been an active mediator for 5 years and has acted as a mediator and conciliator on matters well into six figures. Watch live on our YouTube channel.

  • 5pm: Community mediation in the US as democratic participation (ONLINE). At the heart of the US community mediation movement are principles of democratic participation, drawing on citizen rights and responsibilities. It evolved along two different paths: the social and political activism of the 1960s, primarily as a response to the Civil Rights Act, and out offers, both within and outside of government, to reform the justice system. Community mediation centres create space so that those in conflict have the ability and power to make decisions for themselves, presenting an opportunity for citizens to participate in the prevention and early intervention of conflicts as an alternative to institutional mechanisms. Upon finishing a four-year term as Chair of the National Association from Community Mediation, Renata Valree will share her insights and experience around a US perspective on community mediation. Renata is Associated Professor at CSU Dominguez Hills in the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peace-building programme and Co-Chair for the Community Mediation and Restorative Justice Section of the Association for Conflict Resolution. In addition to streaming live on the Steps, this event will take place via online conferencing platform, Zoom. Register here to receive call-in details.

No need to book a place for the conversations, simply show up!  Learn more about the Friday Conversation series and upcoming speakers. 

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