The Blind Cafe Experience for Colleges and Universities
( 12 - 150 + persons )
The Blind Cafe Experience: Positive Social Change In The Dark Dinner® program curriculum is as follows:
- Gathering In The Light
- Journey Into The Darkness
- The Breaking of Bread
- Group Discussion / Question and Answer Forum
- A Music Listening Experience
- Back To The Light
- Debrief: Back To The Darkness
Pre - Assessment
We will work with your lead staff to design a Blind Cafe Experience event that aligns with your schools values and desired outcomes.
Gathering In The Light
First we will start off with a reception in the lighted lobby area where the participants will have a Gathering In The Light, before they enter the darkness. This is where we give participants the ground rules and prepare them for their darkness experience. At this time we often serve appetizers and drinks before entering the darkness at this point. This is where you can communicate any intentions of the event to your students.
Into The Darkness
Then the students are lead into the pitch dark by our professionally trained legally blind staff. Participants will have to work together to find their seats at their tables and get situated in the dark. The facilitator will challenge the participants by bringing attention to spacial awareness and navigation skills for being in the darkness.
The Breaking of Bread
The audience will literally break bread together at large tables, the audience working together to navigate & share food & drink in the dark. The participants will be challenged to learn new ways of communicating and socializing without their sight.
A Community Awareness Discussion In The Dark
The audience will participate in a community awareness discussion, Q & A format, between the audience and the blind facilitators. We use a Tibetan singing bowl to bring all 100+ of the audience together to practice active listening as a group, encouraging them to practice being present, listen to others and also to speak out as inspired. This is facilitated by our blind staff and is one of the most powerful aspects of our program as the participants learn how to participate in a group experience without sight. The students hear the stories of our blind staff and are encouraged to ask any questions around blindness or relating without sight. *This is flexible and we can add students discussions or speeches from any one in your staff to this component of the event.
A Music Listening Experience
This is when dessert is served. The audience then is empowered to practice active music listening as a group, encouraging the audience remember what it was like to listen to music without the distraction of their visual conditioning, social etiquette and cells phones. A music performance in the dark allows the audience to move away from their thoughts and into feeling experiencing the group experience deeply in their bodies through listening to the music. The music is performed live by one or two of our professional darkness musicians Rosh & The Blind Cafe Orchestra &/or Richie Flores of The Constellation Prize.
Back To The Light
Finally, after several hours without sight...we bring the participants back to the light with a very special moment we can't reveal till we are in the darkness! ;)
Debrief: Back To The Darkness
After participants have had a chance to go to the bathroom, adjust back to vision again, we will hold a discussion where they will share their experiences, challenges and insights, in the light. We'll identify takes a ways and lessons that could be brought back to the work place and to life in general.