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Restorative Justice Extending Empathy
Canterbury Christ Church University, Longport, Canterbury, UK



The overarching theme is to explore what is state of the art in Restorative Justice (RJ), today and what are future ambitions for engagement with other disciplines. The workshop will provide the opportunity to bring together academic researchers from the RJ, Theatre and Design professions who are concerned in their existing practice with building empathy. How empathy is built by each profession and the methods they use are likely to be the subject of lively discipline exchange.


Why focus on empathy? Lorraine Gamman

 Lorraine Gamman -
"I am Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins and the Director of the award-winning Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC), which I founded in 1999. I am regarded as an expert in the way I have addressed social issues through actual design practice by interpreting offender techniques and delivering design against crime interventions. "

  • RJ and design are similar

  • About empathy

    • what is empathy? Roman Krznaric - empathy revolution

    • does empathy have power to transform relationships

    • definitions

      • cognative,

      • affective, feeling

    • Simon Baron-Cohen -

      • bell cure of empathy distribution

      • zero degrees of empathy

      • autism - low cognitive empathy

      • authority can reduce empathy

      • science has done terrible things, eugenics

    • What is empathy?

      • more difficult to empathize when there are differences

      • nature versus nurture

      • attachment theory

      • testosterone affect - biological effects

      • damaged brain can reduce empathy

    • Is empathy positive: 

      • (Criticism) Nursing - too much affective hinders you from doing your job. causes burnout

    • 12:20 Can empathy be taught?

      • can we design for empathy

      • Simon Baron-Cohen

        • teaching children empathy - images of feelings

      • Roots of Empathy

      • Human Library - people dialoging

      • Blind Cafe -

      • Forgiveness Project -

      • Designers use empathy

      • Empathy Museum

  • 20:30 RJ and the arts

    • Arts in the prisons

    • Good vibrations

    • Mural Project

  • mirror neurons

  • brain plasticity


Morning Q & A, Michael Kearns

Michael Kearns - Specialties: Restorative Practice in Education, Criminal Justice and Social Justice
open dialog



Response to Morning Session by Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin
- theater director


Global Picture of Empathy and Restorative Justice by Dr. Theo Gavrielides
RJ for All

Theo Gavrielides
"Dr. Theo Gavrielides is the Founder and Director of the international UK-based think-tank Independent Academic Research Studies (IARS). He is also the Founder and co-Director of the Restorative Justice for All Institute (RJ4All). Theo is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Criminology (Centre for Restorative Justice) of Simon Fraser University as well as a Visiting Professor at Buckinghamshire New University.



  • Why Empathy and Restorative Justice?

    • What is rehabilitation?

    • What is empathy?

    • What is restorative justice?

  • Where are we with empathy and RJ?

  • A normative and practical gap

  • Where are we with RJ globally?

  • Reflections from a skeptic and a researcher


  • Why Empathy and Restorative Justice?

    • What is rehabilitation?

    • 6:00  What is empathy?

      • is communicating feelings

      • rich literature on empathy

      • scarce literature on empathy and RJ

      • Attempts to link empathy and RJ

        • psychology

        • neuroscience

        • sociology

        • art, philosophy

      • story of RJ experience, pain,

      • 13:00 a normative and practical gap

    • What is restorative justice?

      • many definitions

      • Ethos and principles

        • practice

        • mediations

        • conferencing

      • senticing and healing boards

  • Where are we with empathy and RJ?

    • empathy opens a Pandora's box of feelings and they had 2 people commit suicide

  • A normative and practical gap

  • Where are we with RJ globally?

  • Reflections from a skeptic and a researcher


European Picture of Empathy and Restorative Justice by Tim Chapman

Tim Chapman

  • University of Ulster, Sociology and Applied Social Studies, Faculty Member

  • I organise and teach on the University of Ulster restorative practices programme which includes accredited courses at Certificate, Diploma and Masters levels. I am also involved in important European research projects into community restorative restorative justice and into the training of legal professionals in restorative justice.


  • Linked-in

  • Faculty Page - University of Ulster


  • Empathy one of those words that you take for granted.

  • More questions that came up

  • Do we learn empathy or do we block it out?

  • harm not caused by lack of empathy but sustained by it.

  • Story of robbers who used fear and intimidation to scare people..

  • need to be aggressive and abusive when robbing, it they were more empathic they couldn't have been good robbers

  • need to scare people so they do what you tell them to do

  • put your empathy to one side

  • need to put your empathy aside for

    • robbery

    • soldiers - don't' want to kill

    • doctors - can't make a decision or will burn out

  • 9:30 when is empathy necessary?

  • can be dangerous?

  • friend was sick with cancer, his social workers friends didn't' respond well

  • We want you to make the effort to understand us. 

  • understand us not make us try to understand what you want us to do

  • 13:00 European? the question of context

  • people have different perspectives

  • Most RJ work is in  Finland and Belgium

  • identity issues

  • 22:00 main work in empathy is American and English

  • 23:00 - history of RJ

  • empathy and RJ in different cultures

    • UK - very much in to measurements

    • expert practitioners approach

    • human rights approach

  • 30:00 seen through different lens

    • RJ about feeling

    • about social lens

    • issues of RJ and fairness

    • RJ as a social process

  • 44:00 Role of Empathy in RJ

    • if people see an empathic facilitator it helps

    • catharsis vr action to change.

    • antidote to shame is empathy

    • antidote to any horrible feeling is empathy

    • he sees action as the factor that is more important

  • If harm creates victim

    • fear    then need is for safety

    • anger    then need is for Justice

    • anxiety    then need is for control

    • shame    then need is for  respect

    • empathy is not their need, empathy is maybe a vehicle for communicating, but it doesn't meet the need

  • offender and victim have the same needs and it's the facilitator has  to understand the needs so the design solution,

  • empathy may create the connection

  • empathy can be an enabler, can be a disabler. It is a product of dialog. if people talk with each other they are more likely to be empathic

  • facilitator doesn't go in and say they want to create empathy, it will upset the autonomy

  • he wants a culture of justice, respect, equity

  • what is the purpose of justice?

  • thin empathy: system looking for looks good, manage by experts

    • fear that's the way RJ is going

  • thick empathy:

    • about communication

    • listening and dialog, decide what I'm sorry for

    • can feel bad at the end of a conference




Design(ers) Response and Summary by Adam Thorpe

Adam Thorpe is Reader in Socially Responsive Design, Co-Director of the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) and founder of UALís DESIS (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) Lab. In the 2014-16 period he is currently Co-Investigator on both the EU F7 Graffolution project and the AHRCís Design Thinking for Prison Industries social innovation project.

Empathy, Design and RJ