It feels as though time stands still for a moment. As people pass by on all sides in the busy Forum foyer, I’m standing with my headphones on listening to someone talking about what it was like to experience the Covid-19 pandemic as a Chinese student.
The headphones are attached to a bright pink ‘audio pole’, where various pictograms offer a glimpse of someone else’s life. The four poles – two in Forum and two in Aurora – are the product of a collaboration between the university and Fun Times Wageningen, who have been organizing Storytelling Nights together for a while now.
‘By listening to personal stories you can experience for a moment what life is like for someone else,’ says Diversity and Inclusion Officer Heather ten Ham, the initiator of Hear Me Out. ‘I thought it would be great to have an exhibition of stories. You can reach a lot more people with them than you can with only live events.’
Another advantage of listening through headphones is that you don’t have to react immediately. ‘When you listen to someone else during a conversation, you are often already thinking about how to respond or what your opinion is on the subject. Here you don’t have to do that.’
The six stories come from Wageningen students, who read them out loud themselves. ‘The stories are about being different, but also about belonging, and finding your place in the world. These are experiences of people you might not normally speak to in your day-to-day life. They can give you a different perspective.’
Curious? You can listen to the stories until 30 April. Several live storytelling events on the theme A Mile In My Shoes will be run over the coming months as well. Click here for more info.