Transforming conflict

Fellowship Event / Online



  • Education
  • Future of Work
  • Communities
  • Fellowship

How can mediation help bring about social change and be a bridge to a better future?

Mediation is increasingly recognised as an important alternative to taking legal action in court. There is, however, much more to it than that. Mediation techniques can transform all kinds of conflict and play a crucial role in the creation of evolving, learning and responsive systems that react effectively to complex challenges.

Mediation is already helping to effect social change in key areas of focus for the RSA:

  • In education to defuse the growth of gang culture and to help prevent children being excluded from school.
  • Building a Good Work culture: for example, companies now teach managers these techniques to prevent workplace problems becoming damaging disputes.
  • Repairing broken communities: mediation has been used to heal wounds from civil wars and historic conquests, and more recently, for example, in response to the Brixton Riots of the 1980s.

Join us to hear distinguished mediators discuss mediation in areas beyond the well-known disciplines of commercial and family disputes in a series of short presentations. There will be opportunity to engage with the speakers and ask questions.



  • Maria Arpa MBE FRSA founded the Centre for Peaceful Solutions in 2006 and developed the Dialogue Road Map as a model of conflict resolution for violent crime. She trains violent offenders to be mediators in prisons, challenging teenagers to be peer mediators and troubled neighbours to be tenant listeners.
  • Laurence Cobb is a SEND accredited mediator. This work helps parents, young people and local authorities to resolve issues relating to young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Laurence is also a commercial mediator and an executive coach.

Future of Work

  • Jane Gunn FRSA is a conflict resolution expert with a mission to train a tribe of "barefoot mediators" for times of change, challenge and crisis. She is Deputy President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a former director of the Civil Mediation Council. Jane helps people deal with difference and diversity in ways that are non-adversarial and solution-focused. She has spoken at the UN and the White House.
  • Carolyn Graham is an experienced mediator specialising in workplace and employment disputes. Carolyn acts as facilitator in union/management disputes and is a qualified conflict coach.

Regenerating Communities

  • Carson Smith is a peacemaker with a focus on community conflict resolution in indigenous communities in the USA. A citizen of the Choctaw Nation, a Native American tribal community, she has sought to better understand how her tribe and others can use their own mediation mechanisms in times of conflict.
  • Marcus Cato FRSA FCIArb is a Chartered Engineer, designer, contractor, project manager, commercial consultant, and a mediator and arbitrator. He has been practising as a dispute resolver throughout the UK and East Africa, in particular in Rwanda.

This RSA Fellow-led event is for anyone with an interest in transforming conflict, whether you are familiar with mediation or not. The themes are relevant to key RSA areas of work, particularly its Future of Work and Regenerative Futures programmes, projects on education, and use of the RSA Future Change Framework to support community conversations.

Taking part in RSA online events

For our interactive online events, the RSA uses the platform Zoom.

To participate in the event, you will need to register for a ticket to receive the details to join.

Please note that for this event, latecomers who arrive more than 15 minutes after the start time will not be admitted.

Attendees will need to register for a free Zoom account and download their software. To understand more about how Zoom uses your data, please read their Privacy Policy in advance.

We record many of our online events. By attending this online event you accept that you may appear in RSA videos as a participant. Our intention is to use any recording of this event for learning purposes and to document the content of the discussion. Currently we do not have plans to share this recording publicly, but may do so in the future.

If you have any questions, or to let us know of any access requirements or reasonable adjustments you require, please email: [email protected]