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Connecting Differently

8 January 2018 Marie-France Vanheel

At Heavenly we always think about how to make the complex simple, how to champion brevity in an increasingly impatient world. Because the best ideas land in an instant. As Mark Twain famously said: “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” We like to call this the ‘compression of expression’.

Which made me mindful of how we can often take ‘expression’ – compressed or otherwise – for granted: the everyday action of making one's thoughts or feelings known to those around us feels second nature; a semi-conscious array of words, sounds and movements that are a central part of ensuring we are connected and understood.

We recently did a project for the national disability charity Sense – which brought this idea into sharp relief. How can a brand champion the expression of a single-minded idea, when that very expression is challenged by both a given individual’s complex communication needs – and by society’s narrow-minded expectations about what it means to ‘communicate’?

The key is to champion people who are deafblind or have multi-sensory or complex communication needs – by acknowledging that they connect differently. It may not be by talking or listening, in may be through sign, touch or even dance. Connecting differently means we all need to work harder, together, to ensure everyone is able to express themselves, and that they are both understood and valued. Not isolated and ignored.

A humbling lesson to take forward in future endeavours…

 

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