A quick Google search on loneliness brings up multitudes of news articles and research on the issue with lots of information about the ‘epidemic’ we are facing from too much time spent in isolation and the health risks this can cause. It is a problem facing many people but not one that is often talked about openly. Friends for Good is reaching out to people and groups around the globe who are also working on the issue of loneliness.
This story is about one of them.
The Loneliness Project, passion project of designer Marissa Korda, plans to change the stigma surrounding loneliness by creating a beautiful space for people to share their stories. We caught up with Marissa to find out more about this exciting endeavour.
Designer Marissa Korda
Could you tell us a bit about the Loneliness Project and what inspired it?
The Loneliness Project started as a passion project encouraged by the Toronto design studio where I work, Lesli Ink, which has a policy that any employee can pursue a passion project of their choosing. When that idea first came up, I knew instantly that I wanted to create something that would build empathy, because I really believe in exercising empathy and compassion as ways we can make the world a better place. From there, I found my way to loneliness as a topic, and it’s become the lens through which I explore empathy and compassion. Loneliness is something that everyone has experienced as some point in their life. People know what it feels like and therefore it’s not a huge stretch to be able to imagine other peoples’ experiences with loneliness. Yet at the same time, no one is talking about it. I want to change that. I want to bring loneliness into the open and start a conversation around it. I want to frame it as a normal part of being human, as something that everyone experiences.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far through hearing about peoples experiences of loneliness?
I always knew that loneliness was something everyone experienced it, but it’s very different to believe that in an abstract way than to really experience it. To date, I’ve received over 1300 stories from all around the world (60 countries and counting). Loneliness is something that’s experienced across all ages and locations, and it’s very similar everywhere. No matter who or where they are, people just want to feel connected to others.
Are there any stories that particularly stand out as the most powerful or uplifting?
I hesitate to pick favorites, because all of the stories are so amazing. There’s one sentence someone submitted that stuck with me, because I think it’s really true and is something I’ve found comforting. It’s helped me reframe my idea of loneliness: “For without loneliness, how could we appreciate company?” – Catriona, age 24.
What can we expect from the Loneliness Project in the future?
I’d love for The Loneliness Project to be the first chapter in what I’m calling An Imperfect Archive of Us, which would have other chapters like The Guilt Project and The Failure Project. And other than that, I’m figuring it out as I go – I’m as excited as you to find out!
Thanks to Marissa for sharing her story, we can’t wait to see more of the Loneliness Project!