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Social Work: Research


The Empathy Network and the Global Compassion Initiative

Empathy:  ‘the art of stepping imaginatively into the shoes of another person, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions’ (Krznaric 2014: x)

The empathy network at the University of Edinburgh is a cross-disciplinary group of academics, students and practitioners who are interesting in exploring:

  • The ways that empathy is defined and understood in different disciplines
  • Why it is important and what it feels like
  • How it is practised and embodied by different practitioners from a range of professional groups
  • How it can best be taught and developed within academic and practice settings

We are also interested in developing collaborative research projects and knowledge exchange initiatives with a focus on the theme of empathy.

At the moment membership of the network includes the disciplines of:  social work, nursing, medicine, counselling, sociology, veterinary medicine, theology and philosophy.  We welcome any discipline with an interest in empathy.

The group meets at least once a semester and hopes to have at least one seminar or ‘empathy enhancing event’ each semester.  We are currently working on securing funding to support these events.

The empathy network sits within the University of Edinburgh’s Global Compassion Initiative.  For more information about this initiative please go to

For more information about the network please contact:

Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh, Lecturer in Social Work,


Dr Seamus Prior, Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy