Dialogue in the Dark Founder Andreas Heinecke

The Story of Dialogue in the Dark

Andreas Heinecke @ TEDx 2011

An Exhibition with reverse Roles?

1988, after his studies in Philosophy, Andreas Heinecke started working at a radio-station in his hometown Baden-Baden. One day he was asked to develop a work training for a young journalist, who had lost his eyesight through a tragic car accident. Andreas had no clue about disability and he could not imagine how life without eyesight could be of value. But the encounter with the blind journalist changed his life. The blind colleague was a very optimistic, straightforward guy with a great sense of humour who coped with his condition perfectly well. Andreas understood that being blind contains a potential he had never thought about.

Prejudice about blindness is widespread and Andreas witnessed that blind people do not have equal access to education and the labour market. Deciding to continue working in the field of disability, he wanted to create an event: Why not turn off the light, darken a room, and invite blind and sighted people to meet under reverse conditions? Andreas started to experiment with ropes and sounds in the dark and opened the first Dialogue in the Dark exhibition in Germany in 1989.

It was then that Andreas became a social entrepreneur, dedicating his life to promote the concept of the exhibition. A stony road in the beginning, the idea grew steadily and new formats like Dinner in the Dark (created in 1993), and business workshops in the dark (developed in 1994) were added.

Today, an international network in more than 32 countries presents the exhibition, workshops, Dinner in the Dark and additional edutainment formats in their cultural context. More than 8 million visitors have gone through an experience in the Dark and thousands of blind guides and facilitators find employment through exhibitions and workshops. Internationally acclaimed, Dialogue in the Dark is one of the best-known social business concepts worldwide.