Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ta da

Hello and welcome to the all new shiny Small World Experiment website. Hopefully this will be a lot easier for everone - easier to read and find information for you guys and easier to update and maintain for us.

We've also introduced comments to all posts so please let us know what you think or if you have more news of a box yourself then let us know. We still want your postcards though so please keep sending them. The site also has a forum where we would like to generate discussion on all topics relating to the small world theory and where we want to record your small world stories.

We look forward to the ongoing success of the project and fingers crossed on of the boxes will be back soon.

PS - if you've previously had a box but notice you've not been mentioned then let us know, also if you passed the box onto someone but they are not mentioned please give them a chase and get them to contact us and get them to pass the box on.


The Small World Experiment


summary of news over last few months

To speed the process of information transfer from the old site to the new - below please find a summary of news from the last few months.

12 July 2007

We'll as those who have emailed in know already we have had contact from lots of boxes over the last month but unfortunetly people have failed to let us know some very key facts-

1: where the box is
2: what box number it is
3: where its going next

We have had some lovely emails along the lines of "Hey I've got a box" and its wonderful to hear from people but you got to give us a wee bit more to go on before we can post it. Also anyone with some photos of the boxes send them in - we may award a prize for the best one.

14 May 2007

It's always good to hear from a box we've not heard from in a while, and even better when its a box we haven't heard from since the very first day when it set off. But that's the good news this week.

Box No 28 has just contacted us to let us know that it has had a pleasent year with Max in The Netherlans and is now ready to adventure on its on.

25 April 2007

More postcards arrived in without box numbers written on them so we are doing a bit more investigation into these ones as well.

We were also contacted by Whitley Gaffney who is writing an article about the Small World Phenominon for her school paper.

25 March 2007

Not so many updates recently. We have therefore decided to update properly once a month, with in between updates for any really big important news.

It is now nearly one year since the first boxes set out so fingers crossed there is more sightings from them in the next four weeks.

In February the final box set sail on its way to a lawyers in Tokyo. Three days ago we heard from box number 20 who has been living at which is an excellant website name.

From our initial plan for this project we imagined that the first box to return to us, would probably do so about a year later. So please, please please everyone out there, can you make sure you send us a postcard or email, if you have or have had a box and make sure you continue to pass the box down the chain, as we'd love to see them again.

14 January 2007

Happy New Year to you all. Fresh updates for Box numbers 08, 45 and 53. We will be endevering to update the site soon. Thanks for emails and suggestions, we will try to set up a forum for people to post their small world tales.

Congratulations to Small Worlder Polly Johnson who has just become a mum. Best wishes to you and the wee one, hope you have a great year.

01 December 2006

Recently we have had a few emails from people asking why the site hasn't been updated. The reason is, the boxes have been keeping very quiet. Which is why we were delighted to hear from box No 8 who has been spending time with Liz at the BBC in Surrey. Maybe No 8 has become a TV star and will appear as a spy on Spooks or running a stall in Eastenders.

28 November 2006

Thanks to everyone for their emails. Please keep them coming in, its great to hear from you all.

We are planning on updating the site in the new year, so if anyone has any good ideas for things they'd like to see or if anyone has any images of them wearing their badges or of their box in interesting places, we'd love to see them.

For those of you looking forward to the coming festive fun, we have made an advent calender. Download it in two parts here and here, print out, overlay the prints and cut out the doors each day for all kinds of Christmas fun.

05 November 2006

Box No 53 has just got in touch. It is already on its way back from Indonesia to the UK.

Indonesia has so far presented us with the most lovely stamps as you can see on the left.

Happy Guy Fawkes night to all UK. May you all have had a fun evening of setting off explosives with no need to call fire or medical emergecny services.

28 October 2006

We recieved an email from Marie in Massachusetts saying how she stumbled upon our website and was very keen to recieve one of the three remaining small world boxes. Her reasoning was very good and so we agreed and have posted her one. Look out for No 43 its on its way.

Visit here to find out more about Marie and her work - a
15 October 2006

News has arrived from CA from Frank, the Director of Genius Inc. Not entirely sure what genius inc do or what box number they have but we have been sent a of lovely photo of Frank and his family.

03 October 2006

Second bit of news - The assistant Paula has been in touch to tell us box 2 is on its way to chillie to visit the Incas. This may be the most exciting life of any box so far. Dragons and incas for your first two visits is pretty good going.

03 October 2006

Two bits of news today. Both relating to box#02 and both from the wonderful and mysterious Galapogas Isles. No1 Ros has got in touch to say that she has passed the box on to her assistant who is heading off for pastures new.

22 September 2006

Hmm box No 44 has just been returned undelivered aswell. This is an interesting turn up. I guess the people of the "Vegitarian Fast Food" in West Java must have moved. So we welcome suggestions for a new desitination.

15 September 2006

Ho, ho - good news. Box No 41 is getting closer and is now with an architect in edinburgh. Apologies for the break in news, been away. Keep your postcards coming.

08 August 2006

Another interesting turn up. Two boxes have arrived home. Hurrah, I hear you cry but not so. These have returned undelivered, unopened. We are therefore about to work out new places in New York and Japan. If anyone has any suggestions then get in touch.

30 July 2006

"Good luck" wishes have arrived from Plymouth. We don't know much about Plymouth, other than its where the Mayflower landed. Not much is known about Polly Johnson either. There is no box number on the card and the post mark is covering her address. Please get in touch with some contact info Polly.

27 July 2006

A little email has reached us frrom No 53 to inform us it has arrived in Indonesia. A postcard is apparently on its way and we look forward to seeing it.

Several cards have arrived without numbers. Please, please, please add your box number to the postcards if it is not there already.


19 July 2006

A very proud looking koala adorns the stamp on the first postcard from No 45. The lucky box has been away doing some vegetable shopping and apparently had a great time. Please let us know if you take your box on any advetnures and send us a photo.

18 July 2006

Not completely sure what Mary Duxbury - last known holder of Box No 7 does for a living as the postmark is covering it but we think she is a retired medical -physicist and now makes either beads of bread?


17 July 2006

Another postcard has arrived from Nicki Barnett in Scotland - unfortunetly the postcard is missing its box number so we will have to track Nicki down to confirm which box she had. [It was No 48]
Also visit the contacts page and sign up to our new monthly mailing list.


13 July 2006

Anita - first stop for No 52 has been in touch to let us know an article about Milgram's experiment was on Radio 4 today. It's very interesting and well worth a listen.

[click here to listen]

06 July 2006

Good news - after a wee break in communication we have heard from another new box. No 48, currently in Thailand is visitng the editor of Citylife magazine. Turns out the ediotr studied in Scotland and so the box is well on its way home already.

24 June 2006

Another US of the A box. No 3 is in Massachusettes and aparently has been sent 3,000 miles in the wrong direction to see what will happen. We reckon that means it's in the far east someplace or in the middle of the sea - depending which atlas we look at.

23 June 2006

This postcard has casued us a little confusion as last we heard No 23 was in London but this post card indicates that it is back in Paris. Either No 23 was missing the nice weather or the cards have got out of order.

22 June 2006

Just heard from wee box No 54 which is thenot only the furthest awaybut is also the last box to be posted. It is having a nice time spying fish from the bottom of a glass boat in New Zealand.

17 June 2006

Its funny how information comes in little bursts but as soon as one box gets in touch then another also drops us a line. No 14 which we have identified from its stamp is still in Sweden.

16 June 2006

Only a few days after our plea to other boxes to get in touch and we have heard from a new little fellow. No 47 who having spent some time in the bright lights in NEW york is now on its way to geordie land of NEWcastle.

10 June 2006

Just heard from No 41 who has just arrived in Edinburgh. Just a short nip accross the country and it will soon be home.

But where are all the others? Come on boxes, get in touch.

03 June 2006

So the battle to return has now become a three horse race - with our three box leaders 8, 41 and now No 23 all headed back to Scotland. No 23 was last found at Waterloo station and is currently on its way to Edinburgh. Place your bets now, if you think it can over take the other two.

02 June 2006

Hooray. News from a brand new box - No 12 has just dropped a wee message from Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. We don't know alot about the country but they do have a very fine selection of stamps including the one to the right with a women in a rather fetching red jumper.

01 June 2006

Apparently, according to a paper I read recently, rock is back - I was not aware it had gone away but it seems the finnish maddies that won the eurovision last week have saved it's soul. And speaking of scandanavian rockness we have just heard from box No 14 who is currently living with Martin "Rock God" Forssman in Sweden.

25 May 2006

Oh ho - here we are getting all excited about box number 41 and there sneaking up on the blindside is box No 7 who we have just heard has returned to it's home city. Will it be the first back and what has happened to the other 49. Stay tuned for the answers.

24 May 2006

Hmmm , some bad news has reached our ears today. Apparently there is something wrong with our email address. Thankyou to Paul and Box No 8 for bringing it to our attention. We will fix it as soon as possible but in the meantime please use

20 May 2006

Bounjour, mais oui. Fantasique!! The first postcard from outsde the uk shores has arrived. Box number 23 is spending some time with top chef Mr David Lebovitz. We are rather jealous of the tasty delicacies it will be enjoying in Paris. We've just had beans on toast for tea.

19 May 2006

Well box 41 is sprinting well into the lead with another postcard arrived, this time from mr Iain Halket a puppeteer from Aberdeen. All you other boxes better watch out - this wee guy is getting very close to home.



7 heaven in devon (well not in devon actually)

11 May 2006
So far so good and news from another box. This time No7 also within the UK - We look forward to hearing from our first box from overseas. Where will it come from, what has happened to the other 51 boxes. Only time will tell.


smitten mittens

06 May 2006
The good news just keeps a coming.
Box No 52 has left the comfort of Mildred's mittens guinnea pig home and is now picking up some useful tips from Sali Gray, a business and life coach in Glouscester in the UK.


hello - is it me your looking for

26 April 2006
Our very first postcard has arrived from one of our boxes, It was from No 41 who appears to be having a questioning time in Suffolk at the home of Tim Hunkin - engineer, cartoonist and inventor of amazing machines.


And they're off

22 April 2006
Fantastic news, the boxes are finally, (after a long delay) off on their way to lots of lovely strangers around the world. From the glass boat company in new zealand to the police departemnet in alaska. We wish them all the best of luck and look forward to hearing from them soon.


hello world

31 January 2006
Website goes online. Hello there, welcome to our world.



28 December 2005
The boxes have had their lables stuck on, the badges are counted and placed in the boxes and the postcards are ready to print. Its all getting very exciting now.


blank boxes arrive

05 November 2005
Yippee after a very protracted ordering process, the boxes have finally arrived and we can get on with launching the project.


First press

03 May 2005
The Small World Experiment was the main focus for an article in last weeks Sunday Times. Click here to view the newspaper clipping which includes a photo of a rather shady looking Hole in my Pocket. Alternatively you can read the article online at the Sunday Times.


Monday, July 16, 2007


54 boxes travelling around the world, meeting people and having adventures. This is their story and the tale of their journeys home.

This website is an experiment to explore the Milgram theory otherwise know as the small world phenomenon.

If you want to know the latest news click here.


Saturday, July 14, 2007


Ok doky - I want to try and make this site a bit more user friendly and a bit more interactive.

So that's what this page will attempt to do. Please post your thoughts and comments on the below topics or suggest other topics we could discuss.


Milgram - small world theory

Does the theory hold up? Is there such a thing as six steps of connection between us all?


Small world stories

Post your own stories of small world encouters here.

For example:

I recently flew to New York and the plane was pretty empty and I was looking forward to having a load of space around me and a view across the aisle and out the window.

Just as I was making myself comfortable and wondering what the inflight movie would be I noticed out the corner of my eye more people being led up the plane by an air stewardess and placed into the seats across the aisle from me. I glanced over and it was an old school friend who I hadn't seen for several years.

The chances of ending up beside him considering how big and empty the plane was seemed remarkable - what was even a stranger coincedence was that on a previous holiday I had actually bumped into his sister in a greek airport.

So thats the kind of thing we want to hear - stories of connections between strangers or of meeting someone unexpected in an unimagined places.

Labels: ,

The boxes

Have you had a box? Tell us what you thought of it - did you find it difficult to pass it on? Was it a male box or a female box?


Topic 4


topic 5


Friday, July 13, 2007


To find out more about the project, tell us you’ve got a box or to ask us a question then please email us.

Other sites we'd recommend
The home of the Scottish Arts Duo behind the small world experiment
our favourite shoeless friends
project involving a network of little black books
our always helpful hosting gurus
Nick Thorpe is a top adventurer and author of unusual travel stories and he once wrote an article about the Small World Experiment for the sunday Times



press release
press release
If you fancy writing a wee article about us and this project then maybe this press release will be oif use. If you've got any further questions then please email us.

press image 01
press image 02
press image 03
Feel free to use some of these images if you write a lovely article about our boxes and their adventures.
Nice wee article in the Sunday Times by Nick Thorpe.

citylife magazine-04.05.05
Short article in Thailand magazine



Please find below a list of our most popular questions. If the info you are after is not there then feel free to drop us an email and we'll try to answer it for you.

How many boxes are there?

Where have they been posted?
To 54 strangers in 20 different countries around the world. The strangers were chosen at random over the course of a year, some were found by random searches on the internet. Some were people who's addressess we saw while on holiday, some were collected from a mailing list gone mad and other such sourcres. Where possible we tried to contact people ahead of schedule so they knew to expect the boxes but the delay from then til posting will hopefully have made it still a surprise

Why was there a delay to posting?
We had initally planned on releasing the boxes in May 2005 but our original box supplier was very naughty and failed to deliver the boxes despite having been paid. Many, many months later we got our money back and discovered makers of wonderful box type things. They helped us get things back on track.

Why can't folk just google you on the net and post the boxes back directly?
If people did that then it wouldn't test the theory. It's not just about "Can we get 54 boxes sent back to us." Its about the journey's the boxes take to get back, specifically to test the idea that any human on the planet can be connected to any other by simple chain of connected friends.

As dez O'Conner used to say, what's in the box?
Well the lucky recipient of a box will find inside the following:
Some instructions - to explain the project
A guest book - please leave a message for the next person
A Small World Badge - please keep one as a souvenier
A set of Postcards - please complete one and return
Some interesting Objects - If you wish to add an object, please do.

Where did the inspiration come from?
The idea for our experiment was influenced by a chapter in the novel "Life: A User's Manual" by Georges Perec.

In it a rich eccentric man decides to spend 10 years learning to paint, then him and his butler set out on a round the world trip, spending the next twenty years painting a watercolour at the rate of one every two weeks. Each painting is posted to a jigsaw maker who sets the painting onto wood and then constructs a tightly crafted jigsaw from it.

At the end of his round the world journey Bartlebooth begins completing the jigsaws at a rate of one every two weeks. As he completes a jigsaw it is re-gummed and then dipped into paint stripper. At the end of another 20 years all he is left with is a pile of crisp, white, blank sheers of paper.

There is something poetically beautiful about this achievement with no point and we tried to carry this project out in the same carefree spirit.



The himpsters at work (giving a lecture on astro pyhsics to the nobel prize commitee)

'Hole in my Pocket', are a dynamic art duo whose antics include film, painting, sculpture, photographic pranks and travelling around Scotland with an air hostess trolley.

Their first project together saw them win the Pigeonhole City competition which was run by GLAS in conjunction with The Lighthouse in Glasgow and judged by Cedric Price.

Following this success additional funding was awarded for the progression of their winning proposal as well as an invitation to exhibit at The Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Architecture, Design and the City.

In recent times they have directed a short film for Channel 4 in the UK, held several exhibitions, created 100 staff T-shirts for the V&A gallery in London and designed part of the permanent exhibition collection for the new museum and gallery in the Shetland Isles.

Basically they jump around from one project to another depending on what interests them at any particular time.

(They also make very fine pancakes - contact them and they might send you one. )

To find out more about our further adventures and details of all our other exciting projects then please visit our main site at