Rediscovering Human Connections – Julia Unwin reflects on the place of kindness in public policy

September 26, 2018

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On Wednesday 26 September, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an episode of ‘Four Thought’ entitled ‘Rediscovering Human Connection’, in which Carnegie Fellow Julia Unwin discussed some of the key themes that have emerged from her exploration of kindness and public policy over the past year.

In this episode, which is available to listen to on the BBC website, Julia reflects on personal experience, recognising that “it is the relationships, not the transactions, that get us through the tough times”. She goes on to discuss how the long-term focus on professionalism, efficiency and risk management has made our lives increasingly transactional; and to consider the potential impact of automation and technology on our capacity for human connection.

‘Rediscovering Human Connections’ touches on some of the key themes of Julia’s fellowship report, in which she argues that:

  • there are two lexicons in public policy: the language of metrics, regulation, outcomes and impact; and that of kindness, loneliness, identity and belonging;
  • that three huge drivers – the technological power to manage information, the digital power to manage communication, and the economic force of austerity – have made it ever more important that we look carefully at the role of emotions, and kindness in public policy;
  • and while our technological revolution has brought unimaginable advantages, the scale of investment in artificial intelligence will be deeply damaged if it is not matched by a similar focus on emotional intelligence.

The report will be published at the end of October, along with cross-jurisdictional data from a recent survey commissioned by the Carnegie UK Trust on kindness, collective action and place. If you would like to receive a copy of either of these publications, please contact [email protected] to be added to our mailing list.