Dialogue in the Dark Monterrey’s annual gathering last January was hosted at a nice village in the mountains of Mexico. One of the strong ambitions of the team from that gathering was to create a new experience for visitors but also for team members – something that would get them out of the routine, something introspective.
The new experience had to be more focused on the personal development of participants and also challenging for the blind team members. The idea formed couple of months later. It was called “Dialogue Nights” and it works as a 2-hours experience in the dark where 3 short talks, in TED-talks kind of way, are presented by blind persons.
The moto of the event was summarized in hashtag #DialogueWhatMatters. The aim was that each talk, even though from a non-visual perspective, was targeted to a topic of general interest. 40 visitors were invited to the first test. They were divided into 4 groups of 10 persons each. Each group, while still in the light, was assigned an instrument. Once visitors came in to the dark room, they had to follow their instrument’s sound up to the table.
The welcome in the dark, as well as the introduction to each speaker, was done by a speech synthesizer, as the voice you hear when using Alexa, Siri or OK google. We recorded some messages and instructions using humor. The idea behind was to show visitors how blind people interact with a mobile or a computer and stimulate a dialogue about it.
The topics lineup was:
- “The change I didn’t ask for” , topic about resilience and self-adaptation to changes.
- “Faces”, topic about other ways to perceive your family and beloved people when you lose eyesight.
- “Blind trust”, topic about the important role of trust for blind people and how this ability to develop trust may be applied for a better society.
Each talk was 15 minutes and live music was played by blind pianists during each break. Visitors were served snacks and drinks during the live music passages. At the end of the talk, there was an open questions and answers panel with the three speakers. We collected the feedback from visitors and all in all were good. They appreciated the talks and could link the topics with their own lives. Also the speech synthesizer host was and entertaining funny experience for them.
The contribution of this experience was to position blind speakers on transferring a universal learning message to the general public and to open a dialogue on topics which we all matter. Hopefully, Dialogue Nights will be part of the DiD portfolio somewhere else in the world, and we hope very soon.