Humboldt Forum Berlin

News from strangers

In the World Studio of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, visitors are encouraged in an entertaining and unconventional way to exchange ideas about Berlin in the world and the world in Berlin and to become active together. A place for workshops and communication, for spontaneous participation and lingering. And an inclusive place for everyone.

The World Studio is characterised by three spacious elements that make it possible to experience and critically question methods for creating maps in a new way: the Thread Cartographer, the Person Cartographer and the Ball Cartographer. Together with the expertise of a focus group, we “inkl designers” have ensured that access to this exciting experimental field is designed to be accessible.

The Ball Cartographer reaches almost to the ceiling of the World Studio. What looks like an adventurously built marble run is also a map archive. Here, guests leave their own sketched directions to a personal favourite place. This could be the best ice cream parlour in Naples or an idyllic bench on the banks of the Spree. Once a ball is clamped into the Ball Cartographer, it nudges others with a dark plop. Finally, the ball that has been in the track the longest falls down and you can take out the map inside: the secret tip of one or another as a unique Berlin souvenir. There are tips hidden in Chinese characters or places that are not in any “Lonely Planet” travel guide.

We have developed prototypes so that messages in the Ball Cartographer can also be sent by blind people. With the help of stamps that are also inscribed with Braille and stencils with special markings, blind people can also participate in the creative exchange. In addition, there is a typewriter with markings for blind people that also serves sighted people well and thus builds bridges in a very uncomplicated way.

There are also other inclusive offerings in the room: At weaving looms, the Thread Cartographers, associations to the city of Berlin can be woven into a common carpet. In a fruitful collaboration with partially sighted and blind people, threads and fabrics were selected that are exciting to the touch. The handling of the looms was optimised for non-sighted people. There is an accompanying folder with explanations in Braille.

All prototypes and installations were tested and further developed together with a focus group, even under the difficult circumstances of the Corona period. In video conferences and with the help of audio descriptions for the blind colleagues, we were also able to learn a lot of valuable things for our daily work.

Another component of the participatory offer is the Person Cartographer. For sighted people, this is a huge outline of a person that can be creatively designed, painted and written on.

But how do you make this offer accessible to blind people? Large outlines offered too little orientation on the poster, so without further ado we made the poster smaller and provided it with a tactile outline. Other points of orientation such as the eyes and belly button are now also tactile.

Picture of the logo of the Weltstudio in the Humboldt Forum
Two employees of incl. Design in neon green vests are on the construction site in front of the Humboldt Forum.
Members of the focus group stand in the entrance area of the Humboldt Forum. A staff member stands in the foreground and explains the premises.
The photo shows a close-up of small stamps marked with tactile braille letters, next to an ink pad. In the foreground is a piece of paper with the logo of the Weltstudio, which belongs to the Rolling Cartographer. On it, visitors can describe their favourite place.
The picture shows the Weltstudio in the Humboldt Forum. In the foreground on the left is a part of the Rolling Cartographer. In the background, members of the focus group in conversation.
A member of the focus group stands groping at one lane of the Rolling Cathographer.
Members of the focus group sit at a table in the Humboldt Forum and feel a model of the Rolling Cathographer.
The photo from the Weltstudio shows a large stack of very large posters. This is the Body Cartopgrapher, where visitors can artistically relate themselves to the world.
A blind woman from the focus group touches a small model of the Rolling Cartographer.
Three blind women from the focus group and two employees of inkl. design sit laughing around an open laptop. Because of the corona pandemic, they meet together online.
The picture shows a focus group meeting where some members are connected via video conference. The employee Franziska Müller sits at a table and picks out something in her documents during the conversation.
Another photo shows members of the focus group in the Weltstudio. They are trying out different activities, for example stamps or writing stencils.
The photo shows members of the focus group in the Weltstudio. They are trying out different activities, for example, stamps or writing stencils.
This close-up shows a woman's hands fiddling with a small piece of tape. On the table in front of her is the poster from the Body Cartographer, already painted in colour.
The focus group sits around a large table and crafts with different materials - feathers, beads, pencils, fabric....
The photo shows one of the finished posters from the Body Cartographer. It is painted all over with bright colours.
A blind woman from the focus group is sitting at a table. In front of her is a poster from the Body Cartographer. She feels the tactile outline of the person on the poster. Despite her mask, you can see that she is smiling.
Das Foto zeigt ein buntes Chaos auf dem Tisch: malende Hände, viele bunte Stifte, Federn, Schere, unterschiedliches Garn... Auch zu sehen ist die Legende zum Personenkartograph – ein Blatt Papier, das mit Schwarz- und Brailleschrift bedruckt ist.
A blind woman from the focus group touches a model of the Rolling Cartographer.
The photo shows a colour poster for sighted people, a poster for blind people where the outline of the person is additionally printed tactilely and the inclusive legend. This is printed both for sighted people with text and symbols and for blind people with transparent Braille.
The photo shows three women from the focus group sitting at a table. In the foreground are piles of colourful pens, boxes of craft materials and coloured yarn. The pencil box is labelled with a sticker from the Weltstudio, white writing on a red background.
The photo from the Weltstudio shows a wooden frame with lots of stencils hanging on it that can be used for painting. Underneath the frame is a stack of posters.

Project Details

Project scope: General consulting, support in the organisation and conduct of focus group work, creation of prototypes to communicate the concept approaches, production of tactile tools, media and consumable