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Behind the Scenes: The Making of the Compassion Research Lab

Dr. Shane Sinclair

November 11, 2020

The first sets of drawings for the Compassion Research Lab website (Luca Li Visual Design, 2019)

This post was an important one to us at the Compassion Research Lab; a behind the scenes (BTS) look into creating the Compassion Research Lab website.

It has become all too apparent to us that with the advent of social media - everyone sees the end product, but not necessarily everything it took to get there. We wanted to share with you what it took for us to get here and invite you to come along with us as we make our next steps into the future of compassion research.

The vision of the Compassion Research Lab (CRL) website is a simple one: to make evidence-informed compassion information accessible to everyone. While we would like to think that even our scientific articles are not filled with academic jargon - we can appreciate that statistical analysis and thematic coding isn't everyone's cup of tea. This is where our journey began.

In our research, the data tells the story and that data is informed by our patients. That information is then submitted to scientific journals, peer-reviewed and published. Despite this being a challenging journey itself, it is something of which we are more familiar. When it came to sharing this information with the public ourselves, to be honest, we were lost! Between facebook, twitter, instagram, tiktok, youtube, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, snapchat - we were starting to think the scientific jargon might have been easier to understand! Alas, we were committed to our vision and so began a year-long adventure to build the Compassion Researcl Lab website.

Compassion, like other emotive concepts, are hard to write about. It is often best known as embodied knowledge, or another way to think of it, you feel it in your gut. You know when you see it, experience it, or do it for someone else. But sometimes when we go to put words to it - it loses its essence. In our articles, we use words like "virtuous response" to help get closer to that lush description, but words like this not everyone would understand. Knowing that pictures are worth a thousand words, we thought we should tell the stories of compassion through not only words, but use pictures, symbols and signs as well. Things that would evoke emotions in you.

You will see the humble sketches of where we began. We were fortunate to work with the best of the best to turn our stories of compassion into life. You might be wondering why the lab looks like a zoo! Well in fact, there is a reason for this. Animal imagery in storytelling can be found in many cultures --through oral traditions, parables and proverbs -- so it made sense to us as we draw our inspriation and information about compassion from wisdom traditions and cross-cultural teachings that we would pay our respects and honour those traditions from which the ideas and understandings of compassion began.

We still do not know whether you should be tweeting, or posting, using reels, or taking a snapchat, but we know more than we did before and continue to learn. In the meantime, we hope that you take away a deeper understanding of compassion and that the Compassion Research Lab continues to move one step closer in our vision to make evidence-informed compassion information accessible to all.

The Compassion Research Lab Team

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