The Multisensory Space
The Multisensory Space Method is a nationally rewarded and internationally recognized open learning environment developed since 2007 at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland. It is based on multisensory dialogue and sociocultural empowerment. This method facilitates authentic interaction and allows genuine encounters among people from many different backgrounds. Within social and health care, the Multisensory Space method can be used, for example, when creating dialogic spaces for multicultural encounters, identity negotiations, holistic wellbeing, and digital and multisensory learning. It makes individual stories visible and allows one to enter different cultural, mental and psychological worlds for shared understanding, capacity building and empathy development. The Multisensory Space is also a great tool for community development and enhances the sense of belonging and active citizenship.
In practical terms, the Multisensory Space is an easily modified space where all the senses are activated by different elements. The space can be used as an inspirational learning environment but also as a meeting point for people. The space and the multisensory materials provoke thoughts and memories which inspire dialogue among visitors. A visitor can, for a moment, relax in a pleasant atmosphere, return to his/her past or explore a completely different world. The space promotes wellbeing in different ways, for example there can be organized activities that support the culture of the aging and second-generation immigrants.
The method is in use at Laurea and within local and global network partners. Method is now expanded to even for a wider use – for example it has been used in teacher training program at University of Helsinki. Also, the Finnish Red Cross has used the method as a way to tell about the life in a refugee camp. The Red Cross applied the concept of a refugee tent to intensify their campaign, to highlight the refugee related issues in society and to have an impact on policy makers.