Living Rooms

People United’s Living Rooms are interactive participatory events exploring arts, kindness and social change in an inquiring, informal and relaxed atmosphere. They bring leading artists, academics and thinkers together with audiences to explore the role the arts might play in inspiring people to think and act in the interests of others.


Our third Living Room Ways of Seeing – the body as metaphor featured dancer and choreographer Jasmin Vardimon in conversation with social psychologist Dr Simone Schnall. Jasmin’s work is known for its visually stunning and gravity defying choreography and its exploration of the human experience offering the viewer multiple perspectives. Simone is Director of the Cambridge Embodied Cognition and Emotion Laboratory, and is particularly interested in how ’embodiment’ informs and constrains our thoughts and feelings.

In this fascinating short film they explore how our sense of embodiment influences how we think, feel and view the world, and the role of dance in helping us see things differently.

Our second Living Room was hosted in collaboration with Turner Contemporary, Margate. Beyond Ourselves: can art shape our values? featured artist Dorothy Cross, and change strategist for WWF, Tom Crompton. Tom’s interest and curiosity in how social change happens led him to write Common Cause: the case for working with our cultural values. Dorothy’s sculpture, film and photography, which showcased at Turner Contemporary, plays with the relationship of the human and the natural world.

In this short film Tom and Dorothy explore what we know about values, the influences that shape them and the tensions inherent in a discussion of arts role in that process.

In our first Living Room, Empathy: the monkey and the peanut playwright and campaigner, Sarah Woods, and neuroscientist, Professor Christian Keysers, explored the science behind empathy, and the part that mirror neurons in particular play in activating an empathic response in us.

In this short film Sarah and Christian speak about how their curiosity about empathy first arose, the journey their explorations have taken them on, and what they have learnt about empathy through art and science.