In this essay Emily Kasriel – Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College Policy Institute in London – examines a concept at the heart of peacebuilding – listening. Her essay on deep listening illustrates an approach that prepares individuals for encounters across any divides they find within their communities, however they are experiencing conflict. Drawing on both theory and practice, she draws out the transformational nature of this method, and the impact it has had on individuals and communities around the world, enabling them to truly see, hear and understand the person opposite them.

About the Cultural Relations Collection

The Cultural Relations Collection was an essay series exploring research themes from arts and culture, education and the English language in the context of the work of the British Council around the world. Written primarily by early-career researchers, often in collaboration with British Council staff, the Collection examines what is meant by ‘cultural relations’ and how this approach has evolved in theory and practice over time. 

The essays offer concise, accessible and multi-disciplinary introductions to both what the British Council does and how we do it. Collectively, they foreground the benefits of locally-led and people-centred approaches that are grounded in values of mutuality and reciprocity. They also highlight the positive impact on connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide that can be accrued when these approaches are built on long-term, sustained relationships with diverse partners and communities. 

Specific topics addressed through the Collection include peacebuilding, climate change, digital cultural relations, the Covid-19 pandemic, international development and soft power.