Love, power and public life. A conversation with Claire Gilbert & Mark Vernon

An audio version of this conversation is at my podcast, Talks and Thoughts, available via podcast feeds.

What is the role of love in public life? Can it have a place given the scrutiny faced by leaders and the processes of bureaucracies? Or is love what we need to face the huge challenges of today, from distrust of public institutions to the environmental crisis? Claire Gilbert is the author of several books, a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, has served on several public and advisory bodies, and is the Director of the Westminster Abbey Institute. In this conversation, we talk about soulfulness as well as morality in public life, for which Claire is convinced there is a deep yearning. We cover questions from how to design safe and inspiring places that allow people to ask about love of their work, to the role character, contemplation and vision. We ask about how fear, despair and forgiveness might be part of a more loving approach to public life, as well as reconsidering the nature of power, which can be compassionate and stimulating as well as coercive. This is part of series of conversations Mark is conducting as part of a project investigating how design might help nurture more loving relationships at a personal and social level. For more on Claire see –