A Mile in My Shoes

An award-winning immersive experience, developed with The Empathy Museum, allowing people to step into the shoes of people working in health and social care to see the world through their eyes

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  • A Mile in My Shoes is a giant shoebox, a display of shoes, and a series of unique audio stories from people working in, and using, health and social care.

  • We invite you to step into someone else’s shoes and embark on a mile-long physical, emotional and imaginative journey to see the world through their eyes.

  • Re-imagined for digital audiences, you can now share in this immersive experience online.

  • Visit the site: listen.health.org.uk

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What is A Mile in My Shoes?

Empathy is often neatly summed up as ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’. It’s something people working in health and social care services need to be able to do with the people in their care – thinking about a person’s situation, understanding their perspective and providing care that meets their needs. But how often do we empathise with the people providing health and social care?

In 2016, the Health Foundation teamed up with the Empathy Museum to develop a collection of stories from people working in, and using, health and social care in the UK. With each story that was shared, the individual donated a pair of their own shoes to be included in the A Mile in My Shoes collection.

An interactive shoe shop, A Mile in My Shoes invites you to step into someone else’s shoes and embark on a mile-long physical, emotional and imaginative journey to see the world through their eyes. This collection of stories showcases the remarkable contribution and challenges faced by those working in, and using, our health and social care system.

Audio recordings of more than 30 people working in, and using, health and social care are available – from a junior doctor to a hospital imam – and visitors are given a pair of shoes and an audio device to enable them to literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. The collection of audio recordings showcases a range of roles in the sector, including frontline jobs like pharmacist, GP and paramedic, to some less visible positions such as finance manager, HR manager and porter.

It also gives insight into the remarkable contribution and sheer diversity of people and positions that contribute towards the nation’s health and health care – from a prison psychiatrist, to a carer to a cardiac physiologist.

You can use the audio player below to listen to snippets of some of the stories.

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Why is this important?

Every person has a story.

In the busy and challenging health and social care environment, we sometimes fail to look beyond the role and see the people delivering care every day.  We believe storytelling is a powerful way to learn, understand, share and connect with each other.

By sharing these thirty-five stories, we hope to encourage greater understanding and empathy across society for people involved in the NHS and social care, while showcasing their extraordinary contribution and the difference they make to all our lives across the UK.

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Hear others' experience about the exhibit

A Mile In My Shoes on the road

The exhibit debuted in June 2016 at the NHS Confederation annual conference in England. Since then we’ve taken it out and about – from the Houses of Parliament to NHS events. At all events people took part enthusiastically, and told us how inspiring and moving they found the experience.

Having a presence at these health sector events presents opportunities for leaders and decision makers to walk in someone else’s shoes while listening to their story, as well as showing their support for a creative initiative that puts the spotlight on people working in our unique health and social care system. 

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Awards for A Mile in My Shoes

In 2018 A Mile in My Shoes won several DRUM awards, including Best Charity/Not-for-profit campaign, Best social good campaign, Best live or virtual event campaign and Best B2B content marketing campaign, as well as a silver award at the International Content Marketing awards for Best B2B campaign. 

Chairwoman of the Branded Content Marketing Association and member of the DRUM awards judging panel, Patricia Weiss, believes that the greatest challenge of the century is to provoke empathy in people. “This is an original, authentic and meaningful project,” said Weiss. “A rich territory of experiences that amplify the brand values being fully oriented by what is important to the audience and the society.

“Content and experiences like that represents the perfect intersection between the brand purpose and what is really relevant to people. This is what happens when a brand could represent the society and also be a catalyst of a broader conversation that is more people-oriented and less product-oriented, because great stories and experiences are bigger than products and therefore humanize brands.”

Three logos of the awards that a Mile in My Shoes won. Drum content awards, Drum b2b awards and the CMA Awards.
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