Dear, Bench Diary

By    Mar 20, 2017

This Arts Advocacy Day, the stakes are much higher. As we work to make the case for the arts, we wonder, is our data keeping pace? We’re using love (or breakup) letters as a creative and fun design research method to get powerful insight into the perceptions of our stakeholders. We invite you to join us in this discovery.

Dessa Lohrey is the Founder of Bench Diary, an experiment-turned global storytelling project. A diary is tied to a bench for one day and invites those who happen upon it to write an anonymous entry. Dessa has collaborators in cities around the world and has collected hundreds of stories. Bench Diary has received many notes of love over the years. Here are a few:


“Welcome to my backyard! It’s the funniest thing just before I sat down I was thinking I wish I had a pen. Little did I know one was waiting for me right here. I come to this spot everyday to walk, to run, to think, to dream and to talk with the ones I miss at home. I’m often lonely on this bench, but today I met you. Thank you for your company, this Bench Diary is such a lovely idea. I’m excited to follow it and to be one of the first to write an entry in this Boston diary. I hope you continue to change some lives, inspire, share stories and make people smile like you did today. Thank you, Elizabeth.” | Boston, MA

“It’s moments like this when you stop to think about what to say that finally bring the peace of an empty mind and full heart. Thank you bench diary.” | Boston, MA

“As I read the entries that came before it makes me feel connected to them all. I believe we all have a purpose and we are all connected. I love the idea that this book can make someone smile who you have never met and may never meet. Maybe it might just change their life forever.” | Brisbane, Australia

“It’s random to sit down at lunchtime and find this diary sitting here. I looked around suspiciously wondering where the owner was. This is a great idea. It reminds me of the old ways of communication, pen to paper, you know? Writing to loved ones about the recent events in life, dilemmas and in general just expressing yourself with a genuine amount of thought.” | Wellington, New Zealand