The Empathy Museum’s new pop-up library, A Thousand and One Books, is now up and running (and looking rather beautiful). It’s outside the NOW gallery, next to the O2 Arena in London. Come and visit! The show will be open until July 2.
As part of the festivities, we’re holding a Human Library event on June 25, where instead of borrowing a book you can borrow a stranger for conversation. Our ‘living books’ include an Iraqi refugee, a Holocaust survivor and a community organiser. Reserve a ticket here. There will also be storytelling and an empathy-based film on the day.
The show naturally includes our famous giant shoebox, A Mile In My Shoes, where you put on the shoes of a stranger and literally walk in them while listening to an audio narrative of them talking about their life. There are over 50 stories, including an Imam who is the UK’s first Muslim chaplin, a sex worker, and a Sikh taxi driver.
We’re still looking for books for the library, so if you would like to make a contribution of your favourite book to share with a stranger, you can do so here. Our collection already includes books donated by a huge range of people, from prisoners to Sir Ian McKellan. (Also, check out our newly-launched website for the project.)
With Britain about to vote on its place in Europe, and the enormous fear of immigrants that has been generated as part of the political debate, this is an important time to spread the message of the Empathy Museum – that if we want to build a democratic culture of peace and tolerance, we need to learn to see the world through the eyes of people who are different from us and hear their individual stories.
Founder, Empathy Museum