As part of my research for the D & AD project, I visited the empathy exhibition in the migration museum. A mile in my shoes, one of the exhibited projects put forward an interactive idea where a visitor can swap shoes with a donated pair of shoes from an immigrant or a refugee. The visitor would go for a walk in them while listening to a 10 Min. long story told by the owner of the shoes on an MP3 player.
It was a rather capturing experience for me, that will remain in my memory. I have never put on a stranger’s shoes before to later take them off and feel like I had made a strong connection with that person without meeting them. The story was very heartfelt and honest. It was about a Brazilian woman named May she had been an immigrant in multiple countries most of her life until she settled in the UK. To her, the most important landmark in the UK was the Big Ben clock, the constant rotation of the clock day and night was a reminder for people to stay on the go, to run after work and money.
One of the greatest struggles to being an immigrant according in her perspective was, not feeling like a part of the society. She described in detail that Locals will invite immigrants to public places: Restaurants, Cafes and so on… However, they would never invite an immigrant into their own private house, which made her feel lonely. Everyone tries to find an escape from a harsh reality that they have to deal with on a daily basis, and Mai was captivated by films, where she claims to find meaning and lies. she was on a constant search for truth “Truth hides its self, You have to keep searching until it reveals itself when you are least expecting it” she said.
Since I was a child I always heard the saying: Don’t judge me, till you walk a mile in my shoes. It never was as impactful as actually walking in someone’s shoes imagining their feelings and the streets they walked through and their experience in that pair of shoes.