From June 5.-9., the traveling exhibition "Dialogue in the Dark" came to the DW Funkhaus Berlin. What was offered here and to what extent does this week have a lasting effect on many DW employees?
Innoklusio Week at DW began on Monday, June 5, with the official opening ceremony, at which Prof. Manuela Rousseau, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG, symbolically handed over the baton for the traveling exhibition to DW's Intendant Peter Limbourg.
The traveling exhibition
The exhibition was made up of four boxes, each represented by a different color. Here, visitors could interactively approach the topics of "people with disabilities," "barriers" and "inclusion." For example, in the pink box there was a table with two fields on it. One field was labeled "No Problem!" and the other "Attention Barrier!". Next to it was a stack of cards with everyday situations that seem normal for people without any form of disability, for example, sitting down in a crowded coffee shop with high counters. Then you had to take the second stack of cards: Here, each card had a picture of a person with some form of disability/impairment. Now the questions were asked: Could a blind person/a person sitting in a wheelchair/a person with a speech/language impairment (e.g. stuttering) go into this coffee shop? For whom would this situation be associated with a barrier, and for whom not?
The heart of the exhibition was the so-called BlackBox. Here, two blind guides led small groups of max. 16 people through the completely dark room for 30 minutes. Seeing nothing - what does that do to our sense of hearing and touch? This question was explored with the help of various auditory stimuli and the touching of objects. Laura Bechert, Content Creator at DW News Digital, describes her experience in the BlackBox as "a memory which will definitely last!"
Trainings for executives and employees
The accompanying training sessions also gave many executives and employees goose bumps. The program was filled with a variety of games, which above all made a feeling perceptible: What it's like to be impaired and, unfortunately, often excluded as a result. This seriousness was accompanied consistently by a large portion of humor. Perhaps it was exactly this combination of fun and gravity that made a tangible and lasting impression on all participants at the end of the day. After all, processes of change, whether in private or professional life, often arise from a certain emotionality that leads us to reflect on our current ways of thinking and behaving.
We have received numerous messages that the exhibition and the training sessions were very well appreciated by the DW colleagues. At the same time, the key learning was: Inclusion is a question of mind-set and not (necessarily) of budget. Rather, the right job must be found for a person with a disability/impairment and not the other way around.
The Innoklusio team also gave positive feedback to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Team about the week at DW: DW employees were very open, interested and extremely reflective. Here, one would definitely notice that it is an international media house that upholds diversity and variety. This is also reflected in the visitor numbers: Around 318 DW employees took part in the Innoklusio program.