Dialog Lab kick-off in Hamburg

2022 began with a big surprise for the Dialogue exhibitions: the opening of “IN THE MIDDLE”, the first showcase of the Dialog Lab exhibition series in Hamburg on Saturday, January 22nd.

Photo of the entrance area of the Dialogue Lab with a banner saying "In the middle" and several light boxes in the background.
Photo of the Dialogue Lab station "accessibility helps all", where the visitor can sit on stools in fornt of two screens, which are placed on chairs, and watch interviews with persons with different disabilites.
Photo of the Dialogue Lab station "Accessible & innovative" that shows various solutions for accessibility in light boxes. And the station "Creativity for Acccessibility", where the visitor is encouraged to find more solutions for accessibility.
Photo of a station in the Dialogue Lab that encourages the visitor to become creative in regard of overcoming barriers. S7He can pin her/his ideas on an idea wall. In the background another interview screening on the topic of "What barriers do you encounter in everyday life?"

More than 10 million visitors have passed through the Dialogue exhibitions worldwide. In particular, “Dialogue in the Dark” has impacted many, many visitors and changed the way they look at disability.

However, all of us who are part of a Dialogue exhibition, visitors included, are left with one question: how do we continue the dialogue?

The ideas are so many, the questions are numerous, and the angles on the topic of disability and inclusion are so varied that spending an hour in the dark or in silence is too little time. The encounter between people with and without disabilities needs many more platforms.

What is the new exhibition about?

The Dialog Lab was made possible thanks to a generous grant made by Deutsche Fernsehlotterie and for 3 years, it will present temporary exhibitions and workshops on inclusion in a 150 m2 physical space in the Dialoghaus in Hamburg.

It consists of a new platform for encounters between people with and without disabilities, an experimental exhibition that functions as a laboratory, where participants experience the various interactive stations, contribute with their ideas and feedback, which are then considered and incorporated into the design.

The Dialog Lab is designed to initiate, expand or continue the conversation about disability, in particular to explore the themes of inclusion, diversity and empathy.

The first temporary exhibition in the series, called “IN THE MIDDLE”, especially opens the dialogue on the topic of accessibility.

Starting with barriers

Starting with the theme of accessibility was no coincidence. Dialoghaus has been working for years together with people with various disabilities, mostly visually and hearing-impaired colleagues, as well as elderly people. Also, during the last two years the whole organization of Dialogue, including Dialogue Social Enterprise, has been moving more towards diversity and inclusion: we have decided not only to talk about it but to live it and promote it actively.

Through designing the exhibition, we have managed to question and reflect: Are we really finding all the barriers that aggravate disability? How do we overcome them? How are we contributing? And we think some of the answers are “IN THE MIDDLE”.

What will I experience at “IN THE MIDDLE”?

Here you will meet 7 protagonists with different disabilities, from visual impairment to mental and invisible disabilities. In 3 video stations, our protagonists share their own views on their disability and on the issue of the barriers that aggravate their conditions.

You can interact at 3 stations with themes that shape the concept of accessibility as we understand it:

Accessibility helps us all: When we think of barriers, we usually think of ramps for wheelchair users. But this is just the top of the iceberg. There are many, many physical, digital and social barriers that aggravate disability and prevent the full participation of people with disabilities. It is estimated that today 95% of disabilities happen to us in our lifetime, and that about two thirds of society will face barriers that prevent us from living with dignity. Accessibility is for everyone!

Accessibility is doable: There are still many, many areas of life where people with disabilities face barriers that aggravate their condition. But at the same time, we already have tools and creative ways to deal with or even eliminate such barriers. Difficulties lead us to develop innovation, and there are examples of architectural design or web design that already take into account people with disabilities from their first steps. Accessibility is possible, the question is, why aren't we doing more?

Shaping the future together: This station is always a work in progress. Here we need your ideas and your actions. What does a future without barriers look like? What role can you play in creating an inclusive society? Will you join us?

Visit the Dialog Lab

Whether you have visited a Dialog exhibition before or not, visitors of all ages, and in particular visitors from the educational field, are welcome to experience “In the Middle” and contribute their ideas. This exhibit can be a complement to your visit to “Dialogue in the Dark” or “Dialogue in Silence”, or you can visit it as a stand-alone experience as well. The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes and tickets cost 1.50 euros per person and can be purchased here.