The Multisensory Space
The Multisensory Space is an easily modified space where photographs, images, sounds and items create diverse learning environments for visitors. Different multisensory materials provoke thoughts, memories, feelings and emotions. The Space itself is the core of the Multisensory Space Method. The Method has been developed within a Finnish network, in a project called With All Senses – Developing Open Learning Environments and later in several local and international projects, such as Erasmus+ project DISC (2019-2021).
This method can be applied in different contexts when creating open and innovative learning environments. It can be utilized in the activities of different organizations, such as learning institutions, libraries, museums, daycares, schools and NGOs. Learning institutions can use the method to make their education more versatile and interactive. Libraries and museums can provide open learning environments for new visitor groups and encourage them to create their own Multisensory Spaces and multisensory environments. It is also a good method for building a local network and enhancing co-operation within a local community (between schools, museums, associations, libraries and so on). The method is a great way to involve and inspire local people to take action and get involved in community development and active citizenship.
The purpose of the Multisensory Space is:
- to use it as an open and inspirational learning environment
- to promote multiculturalism (immigrants work together with natives and make their cultures visible)
- to collect memories and local history through reminiscing, thus making history visible to others
- to make it possible to visit “another place or time” (creating places from memories, history, future visions etc.)
- to promote wellbeing and empowerment
The Multisensory Space Method is characterised by the following:
- use of different multisensory elements, such as visual materials, touchable objects, sounds, foods and scents
- the method promotes interaction, wellbeing and learning
- the processes are made together with different people; it brings together individuals and groups from different cultures, generations or organizations
The Multisensory Space is created around a certain topic. During the shared creation process, values, memories and individual experiences related to a theme or topic can be discussed and shared profoundly, thus making these processes visible for visitors. Then, in the ready-made space, people gather together to encounter, interact and freely discuss and share.
The development process of the Multisensory Space Method started in southern Finland, at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in 2007–2008 in the form of student projects. In 2009-2010, the method was further developed in a project called Encounters in a Multisensory Space, which was granted partial funding from the European Fund for the Integration of Third-country Nationals.
In September 2011, the project With All Senses – Developing Open Learning Environments (Aistien – Avoimia oppimisympäristöjä kehittämässä) was launched to continue the development and promotion of the method. The Laurea University of Applied Sciences co-ordinated this project with national partners: Provincial Museum of Lapland, Jyränkölä Settlement/Heinola Adult Education Center, Hämeen Kylät ry (Regional Village Association), City of Vantaa (especially Lumo Community Centre and Library), Päivälehti (Newspaper) Museum, and the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The project was funded by the European Social Fund and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of North Ostrobothnia. The project was concluded in March 2015.
Presently, the Multisensory Space Method is being developed European-wide in Erasmus+ project DISC (2019-2021), where the target is to improve the digital skills of immigrants and other new European citizens by applying multisensory spaces for competence development and active citizenship.
The Multisensory Space Method brochure
Download here a short brochure about the Method