“Fostering Empathy Through Museums” within the context of peace-building: It was an honor to be invited to take part in “Building a National Architecture for Peace in America” workshop hosted by the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.
On May 7, 2018, I had the privilege of chairing and presenting at a participatory empathy-building session at the American Alliance of Museums Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Approximately 200 museum professionals filled the entire conference room very early on a Monday morning for an engaging, informative, and a game-changing experience which enabled all participants to “experience” how empathy-building through museums might “feel” like.
I am grateful to my co-presenters and facilitators for sharing two evidence-based empathy-building exercises: Thomas Rockwell, Director of Exhibits and Media Studio, Exploratorium, and Dr. Zorana Ivcevic and Eliana Grossman from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
My introduction for this panel was titled: “Designing for Empathy & Caring Mindsets“, which can be viewed here. I will add the other two sets of slides when available.
Earlier today I had the privilege of presenting “Designing for Empathy” at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution, where a great group of colleagues from the NMAI and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, joined me in an engaging discussion on empathy-building through museums.
Illustration by Fatih M. Durmus, 2016
An interactive demonstration on empathy-building through museums will take place at the upcoming American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday, May 7 at 8:45 AM – 10 AM MST:
EMPATHY-BUILDING THROUGH MUSEUMS – AN INTERACTIVE DEMONSTRATION: There is an increasing awareness that the complex problems facing our humanity and the planet cannot be solved only through resources, knowledge and technologies. Simple human behavior and our individual choices lie at the heart of any sustainable solutions. Empathy, our inherent ability to feel like another, is emerging as an essential skill that can be nurtured towards positive behavior change for the benefit of the greater good. Museums are uniquely equipped to intentionally serve as platforms that foster empathy through experiential learning, play, dialogue, authentic experiences of awe and wonder, and contemplation. This workshop intends to showcase what empathy-building might look like in a museum setting through demonstrations facilitated by cross-disciplinary pioneers in the field.
(Chair/Presenter) Elif Gokcigdem, Author, “Fostering Empathy Through Museums”
Orna Cohen, Dialogue Social Enterprise
Thomas Rockwell, Exploratorium
Zorana Ivcevic, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence