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  • Posted 22 June 2016

    Empathy Museum


    Clare Patey

    What is it like to have spent years in prison, or to be a child growing up in Tehran, or to have rediscovered love in your eighties? The Empathy Museum could help you find out.


    Installations and events explored how empathy can have the power to transform our personal relationships and tackle global challenges.

    An interactive shoe shop, A Mile in My Shoes, invited participants to (literally) step into someone else’s shoes and embark on a mile-long physical, emotional and imaginative journey to see the world through their eyes.

    Meanwhile the mobile library, A Thousand and One Books, was home to hundreds of donated favourites. Pages were perused and then passed on, to friend or stranger. The library is tracking the books’ journeys and see how far they travel.


    Empathy Day | Saturday 25 June


    Human Library


    The Empathy Museum presented a Human Library – a participatory project designed to create personal and social change through dialogue and empathy.

    A Human Library was like any other library, except that the books are people with stories to share – ‘living books’. Visitors were invited to come to the Human Library on Saturday 25th June and borrow a living book for conversation on the theme of HOME. There were living books from all walks of life including authors, designers, refugees and community organisers.


    Alongside the Human Library a series of drop-in events took place:


    White Rabbit presents: The Aunties (Midday-5pm)

    The Aunties were there to solve your troubles: be they financial, romantic, or existential. Using modern mindfulness techniques like breathing and looking at trees, plus ancient traditions such as tealeaf scrying, palmistry and paying you extravagant but sincere compliments, they guaranteed you would leave healed and full of love for humankind.


    Empathy films in the NOW Cinema

    A rolling programme of short film excerpts on the subject of Empathy, curated by Gareth Evans, film curator at Whitechapel Gallery.


    Reading Aloud 

    Outside the Empathy Museum’s A Thousand and One Books library, an ongoing programme of ‘Reading Aloud’s will take place. Visitors could sit and listen to a section of somebody’s favourite book as donated to our crowd-sourced library.

    To understand others, we need to walk in their shoes – literally

    Philosopher Roman Krznaric

    While writing On Writing, Stephen King was mowed down by a drunk driver and nearly lost his life. Here is a man who lives to write and who writes to live. I am choosing this book because it is inspiring.

    Lemn Sissay on the book he donated to Empathy Museum

    Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality

    Writer Ian McEwan

    This presentation of Empathy Museum is co-commissioned by Artsadmin and LIFT, with the support of NOW Gallery and Greenwich Peninsula.
    An Imagine 2020 (2.0) project, supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
    Images – Nina Manandhar/NOW Gallery