In 2018, talks were held at the Swiss Embassy in London about the possibility that the arts could positively influence peace mediation processes. These led to the emergence of a parallel inquiry into the psychological dimension of political mediation processes, which materialised in 2020 in the form of an ongoing research project, the States of Mind in Conflict (SOMIC). This project was financed by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and based in the Centre for Researching and Embedding Human Rights at Birkbeck, University of London. Some points of convergence were identified between these initiatives, which warrant further exploration.
Making Links while Building Bridges; Reflections from the SOMIC Project
The text presents a synopsis of the project The States of Mind in Conflict (SOMIC), which brings psychological insights into mediation and peace processes. It aims to have a clearer understanding of the psychology of parties in mediation processes to better inform mediators. It also stresses the importance of the socio-political context of mediation processes, linking psychology inextricably with the geopolitical realities that define mediation encounters. The paper was published as a chapter of the 2021 publication Arts in Peace Mediation (available in the Resources section).
Irene Bruna Seu
States of Mind in Conflict: Offerings and Translations from the Psychoanalytic and Psychosocial Fields
Drawing on the fields of psychoanalysis and psychosocial studies, this text investigates the states of mind of both the parties in conflict and the mediators. It proposes that, when framed as a relational intersubjective encounter, mediation can have transformative potentials beyond the political goals.
Irene Bruna Seu