At the World Economic Forum in January, one of the most eye-opening events for participants was an activity that literally kept them in the dark. The Sensory Dinner in the Dark experience took place in an unlit restaurant where participants were led to their seats and served a meal they could not see. The diners were dependent on the wait staff to get to their tables and find silverware and food, and the waiters were remarkably adept at navigating the environment and serving in the dark.
At the end of the meal, the lights were turned on and diners discovered that the wait staff that they had depended on so completely were people with visual impairments, showing that competency is not limited to the non-disabled.
The experience is the brainchild of Gina Badenoch, the founder and CEO of Capaxia and Ojos que Sienten (Eyes that Feel), organizations that aim to increase inclusiveness and diversity. Badenoch has been running events such as this for 12 years, and has found that participants come to see people with visual impairments in a different light and are able to enjoy the event in a more relaxed way, without making judgments on how
fellow diners looked or worrying about how they appeared to others.