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Joel and Emel explore ‘labels’ and how, whether real or perceived, they play a part in our quest for meaning, both in terms of how we self-identify, and in how we identify and interact with others. Labels can be incredibly useful introductions to ‘more’ and yet incredibly destructive if we make them the whole story: in themselves, they’ll never tell us enough.  

Emel uses 5 headings to consider two questions:

• How do labels help us?

• What barriers do they form? 


In this clip from ‘Lessons in Chemistry’, Elizabeth Zott asks a housewife to consider the possibility that she is more than just this label.


Emel reflects on this clip and how we too may find that we dim the light of possibility in our lives to make a label fit.

In this second clip, Elizabeth pushes a friend and colleague to not act according to ‘type’ and limit what could be. 

Emel proposes that we can try to ‘win’ in the interactions of how people view us according to their labels. Is this a worthwhile and achievable endeavour?

 In this next video, a number of people are asked to pick one label to describe themselves. They each learn how this limits us.  

 Emel encourages us to avoid cementing our assumptions based on simplistic labels and invites us to lay down some of our own: “Does the idea of being a 'nobody' terrify or liberate you?”

 Emily Dickinson wrote a poem called ‘I’m Nobody! Who are you?’ In this final clip, the character of Emily wakes up invisible and hears what everyone else has to say about her work. 

Emel invites us to be adaptable and wise in our approach to labels, to wear labels loosely because: “Before the label existed, you existed.”


Joel closes by highlighting the paradoxes in the corkscrew of life, including how we might still use and celebrate the labels that once defined us, beyond the moment when they remain who we are. 

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