One of the most powerful and pervasive ‘givens’ that can impede communication is the assumption that, when two human beings observe the same scene, they are to a large extent sharing a similar cognitive and emotional experience. This assumption leads to a focus on the ostensible content of the communication while neglecting critical aspects of the context, physical and cultural, within which it is taking place. Crucially however, perception is very much a complex cultural phenomenon, the categories, meanings and interpretations assigned to what is perceived residing less in external features than in people’s heads. This session offers a six-part framework for considering how different perceptions of physical space can evoke varying reactions according to cultural background, potentially giving rise to mutual incomprehension and conflict. A 45-minute illustrated presentation will be followed by a group exercise and a full discussion.