Human Library Winchester

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Tuesday 15 May
The Stripe, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR

Welcome to the Human Library, where people are books, and reading is a conversation.

During this extraordinary event readers have a chance to ‘take out’ Human Books and have an honest conversation about their chosen title. This is where you can borrow and read an Autistic person, a Buddhist, a Vegan, a Transgender, Animal Rights Activist, Muslim, Bisexual Christian, Immigrant, Niquabi and a host of other titles. When you borrow a Human Book, you get a unique opportunity to ask any direct questions you might have had about their identity.

Human Library started in Denmark in 2000 and since then grew on to hosting hundreds of events in over 70 countries as diverse as Thailand, Dubai, Ukraine, Canada, India, Pakistan, Poland and the UK. It’s an international equalities movement, challenging prejudice one conversation at a time.

A Human Library is an event that aims to create dialogue and understanding between people. Individuals volunteer as human ‘books’ and participants in the event can ‘read’ the book- meaning they would have a one on one conversation with the volunteer and share in a dialogue about that individual’s experience. ‘Books’ are volunteers from all walks of life who have experienced discrimination based on race, religion, sexual preference, class, gender identity, sex, age, lifestyle choices, disability and other aspects of their life. The Human Library provides the opportunity for the community to share and understand the experiences of others in their community.

Bringing people together, bridging differences and combating social stigma and bias - one conversation at a time.

Human Library is an international equalities movement, which started with a really simple idea: just as any other library, it connects books with readers. The only difference is that ‘books’ are real people, and ‘reading’ is a conversation. Since the first edition, organised at the Rotskilde rock festival in Denmark in 2000, the Human Library events have been organised on five continents, in countries as diverse as Tunisia, Mexico, Poland, Estonia, Belarus, Thailand, New Zealand and the Phillipines.

A reader coming to the Human Library selects from a list of available titles and can then engage in an honest conversation, where direct questions are allowed and expected. Each of the titles reflects aspects of identity which invoke prejudices and biases; previous editions included titles such as ‘Unemployed’, ‘Homeless, ‘Refugee’, ‘Single Mother’, ‘Pagan’, ‘Disabled’, ‘Childless by Choice’, and ‘Homeless’.

What happens next is a conversation which can transform both the reader and the Human Book. Having a direct, honest dialogue with somebody very different from us can help dispel myths and prejudices, see common ground and similarities, but also understand that some differences are impossible to reconcile.

Feedback from readers last year:

‘Amazing experience!’

‘You should be proud of yourself’

‘Great atmosphere’

‘It was incredibly uplifting to meet with people with such flexible and open minds’

‘An amazing way to offer an exchange of knowledge and culture’

‘A transforming experience’

‘I wish there were more Human Books to talk to’

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