Young people are growing up in a society with a major empathy deficit; hate crimes are at their highest level since records began and there are increasing concerns about the negative effects of social media.
EmpathyLab is the first organisation to build children's empathy, literacy and social activism through a systematic use of high-quality literature. Our strategy builds on new scientific evidence showing the power of reading to build real-life empathy skills. We believe that empathy is a beacon of hope in a divided world.
When EmpathyLab was founded in 2014, it set out to understand whether society was making the most of this link, and to explore the implications of the research.
Work started with a large cross-disciplinary Think-In at the South Bank Centre, and quickly uncovered that educationalists, academics and authors were as keen as EmpathyLab’s founders to see if stories could be used more deliberately to develop young people’s experience of empathy and their ability to put it into action.
From 2014 the organisation has been experimenting, Lab-like, building on that Think-In guidance. Senior founders have made a significant pro-bono commitment to testing a range of interventions, supported by a team of expert advisors and volunteers. There is clearly a demand and a need for this work, because each of these interventions has had more interest and impact than the founders could ever have dreamt.