Stigmarella – The Story about a Shoe and a Girl

Stigmarella – The Story about a Girl and a Shoe addresses one of the most sensitive topics of today: stigma.

Stigma is a broad concept that describes a process that affects the most sensitive parts of human life and is therefore difficult to define. All feelings of stigma develop in the early stages of childhood, when we begin to develop a view of ourselves and the world.

However visible or hidden on the outside, our stigmas change the way we see ourselves and how we interact with others. As we see it, enforced by the stereotypes-full media of the modern world, it is an ever-growing problem of everyday life that needs to be addressed with diversity and tolerance.


Illustration by Terra, 7 years.

Traditional fairytales like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc. teach girls to wait for their prince in a castle, to be saved by them. These stories create stereotypes and teach children that wealth is something to aim for.

Stigmarella is a story of a girl and a shoe; the girl is stigmatised for having one leg shorter than the other and her intention to come to a dance, “only to dance”.

Stigmarella – The Story about a Girl and a Shoe is a modified version of the Cinderella story, placed inside an exhibition space.




The Shoe and the Bus




We use an exhibition space as a medium of communication with children and their parents. The setting is in an all-white space filled with giant origami figures that guide the visitors through Stigmarella, animated short films, projected on the cardboard structures and walls. The space is used as a platform for user participation, a tool for gaining additional information on the topic of stigma. While children are invited to draw on the cardboard figures and express their feelings, parents are gifted with “Yoyo”, a book by Renata Ažman about sexual abuse. The book deals with the author’s own struggles with stigma reminding parents it is important to protect their children.

Whoever came across abuse, they encounter the deep-rooted stigmas that mainly accompany mental disorders. Why, despite its avowed humanism, has modern society failed to eradicate this stigma and, in fact, further exacerbated it?


The project is our attempt to co-create a healthier society.

The project Stigmarella – The Story about a Girl and a Shoe received special acknowledgement of BIO50, Biennale of Design, Ljubljana, NOW Programme.