go & look challenges
A mish-mash of arts stuff you can go and find out about, maybe that you haven't come across before, or a different take on an artform you know well. Click on a heading below to zoom down to the detail.
Crispin & Nathan
Crispin is a visually-impaired teenager who has spent some of his life in care. When he met and started working with Creative Mentor and theatre maker Nathan Geering as part of Derbyshire's Creative Mentors programme, Crispin discovered artistic skills he didn't know he had. Initially thinking 'the arts aren't for me', Crispin has since choreographed and performed as a BBoy and become a skilled contact staff artist. Nathan and Crispin have now developed an accessible way of creating dance which blind people can participate in as choreographers, performers and viewers.
Watch these films to see Crispin in action and hear how he has journeyed from reluctant participant to skilled performer, as well as giving some stuff a go yourself.
Crispin featured on BBC's Strictly It Takes Two, talking about the massive boost to his confidence he's gained from learning to breakdance. Click here to watch (subscription to BBC iPlayer required) - the feature runs from approx. 7'30" to 11'30".
Crispin and Nathan chat about Crispin's first experiences of break dancing and becoming a multi-skilled performer
See how a soundpad is used to create different sounds for different movements
Creating a performance with audio description
See and hear Nathan describe Crispin's performance
Crispin contact staff demo
Watch Crispin in action
Crispin teaches you to perform a handwrap move. Give it a go!
See how far Crispin has come.
Yusuf Paul McCormack
Yusuf is many things to many people. He is an Artist, Poet, Writer, Author, Trainer, Dad, Adopter and Foster carer, who spent the first 18 years of his life in the harsh environs of children’s institutions.
Here he was taught the lessons of shame, rejection, fear, silence and retribution. Remarkably, not only did he survive, he thrived.
As a storyteller, Yusuf uses his art and poetry to voice and explore the emotions he was unable to voice as a child. "It’s been painful, but honest, reflecting a world that is talked about, just not fully understood, and where those that grow up in it know that something isn’t right, yet often remain unheard and unable to do anything about it"
He uses his combined experiences as an artist and a child of the state, to inform and share with those who genuinely want to improve and sustain better outcomes for those who never chose their start in life. And he stresses it's not about making a difference, it's about being the difference, which is much more personal, less aspirational and probably more doable!
Introduction to Yusuf
Benedict Okwuchukwu Godwin Chijioke was born in London into an Igbo family from Nigeria. He spent many years of his youth in the care of private foster parents in Jaywick, Essex. "As kids we had no clue why we were here, and then my parents said 'we're going now, but you're staying', so we didn't know why we were being left here. And just feeling a little bit abandoned really."
In the early nineties, he was discovered after competing at the open mic competition at Muthaland at the Borderline in London's West End. He continued to hone his skills and make connections and in 1995 co-founded Ghetto Grammar, a pioneer in Hip-Hop education in the UK, and went on to release a series of successful rap albums before diversifying into spoken word and contemporary jazz. In 2019, he was joined by Black Twang and Rodney P to form Kingdem, which the New York Times called a "supergroup of British rap elders". He sadly fell victim to Covid-19 in 2020 and is no longer with us, but his influence on Hip-Hop will live on.
Check out his 2013 single Let's Start on YouTube. It's a multi-artform feast - great lyrics over a great riff, featuring interactive animated artwork, specially designed t-shirts and urban dance.
They say the sun don't shine forever
But I'm categorized as soft when my actions say I'm tougher than ever
Al Green let's stay together
Through a minefield of naysayers, see why I still endeavour
Nestled between a rock and a hard place
We cover more notes than a rock guitar case
I don't take any inspiration from Scarface
Never stood still, I even slip with a fast pace
Nat King Cole, unforgettable soul
That does not walk the path that Johnny Cash controls
Ring the bell but don't move for whom the bell tolls
Follow fashions need to run and sell clothes
No popularity contest, I'm trying to make meaningful music
My conquest designed to shake
Whoever's on it feel the sonic far and wide
Close the distance let's get real platonic... and roll
Pulling rabbits out of thin air is not my habit
Please, give me room, let me work my magic
No day off work straight through the Sabbath
Shake the dice and stroll past snakes and ladders
In a rush, give me the keys to the truck
The road to victory is peas to the mush
To fight the power becomes easy to us
In the midnight hour, we turn leaves into dust
Let's skip breakfast at Tiffany's
I'm trying to skip by what you're slipping me
Giving me false hopes of living vividly
Through dusty telescopes you hold timidly
Nahhh I refuse this weak imagery
Eating stale food is not obligatory
So let's start the dialogue
'Cos we're one people reporting to some kinda God... now... let's go
Rap now is a circus with clowns
Rap circles around
Saira-Jayne Jones is an artist and poet born and raised in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham and now living in Coventry, who spent much of her young life in care, developing her own creativity despite discouragement on all sides. With no formal art training or qualifications Saira-Jayne has become a successful self-taught visual mixed media artist, creating a variety of artworks reflecting contemporary, expressionist, abstract and conceptual styles.
Introduction to Saira-Jayne
Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA nominated International prize winning writer. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen, The Pen Pinter Prize and a Points of Light Award from The Prime Minister. Google “Lemn Sissay” and all the hits will be about him. There’s only one person in the world called Lemn Sissay.
Lemn worked with care leavers in Coventry in Channel 4's Superkids: Breaking Away from Care. To mark second lockdown, we feature a brand new poem, No Lockdown in the Imagination:
THEATRE & CHARACTERS
Sensory - stories
Explore these wonderful sensory stories Here
Give it a Go - drama games
Make & Create - inside theatre
Explore different types of theatre Here
Make it Mine - deep inside theatre
Dip into our Street Festival Tent and see how street theatre artists create their characters and acts. Can you create a character that could be appealing, mysterious and entertaining?
Try these great theatre activities from Bubble Theatre (click the image to download the pdf).
Listen to actor Bill Mitchell from the fabulous Kneehigh Theatre company talk about a new piece of theatre he is creating Here (YouTube)
Have a look through the varied roles and career pathways in theatre on our Career Pathways page.
VISUAL ART & EVERYDAY OBJECTS
Sensory - identifying objects
Give it a Go - recycled art
Check out artist Claire Witcomb’s recycled art projects on Connect and Create Here
Try these using these everyday objects to create different painting projects on YouTube Here
Look at this Go & Look challenge on Create and Connects showing how different artists use stones in their art in differing ways on Here
Make & Create - art from everyday objects
Check out the Visual Arts Tent at our online festival Here and explore the recycled and upcycled artworks that can be created from things that are thrown away.
Experimenting with different materials is an important and fun part of developing your own artistic preferences Here
Can you create a piece of clothing, art, music or a dance from everyday objects, using them in imaginative ways? What makes an artwork a quality piece? Is it personal opinion or is there more to it? Have a look Here, and see what you think!
Make it Mine - professional arts
Everyday buildings can be made to look extraordinary by public art and graffiti. Look in our Visual Arts Tent and check out Trik 09’s work Here and also the amazing spaces that can be created by creative architecture Here.
Research how design briefs are set Here
What makes an artwork a quality piece? Is it personal opinion or is there more to it? Have a look Here, and see what you think!
Check out various careers in visual arts in the Visual Arts Tent Here and hear from artists Claire Witcomb - artist, Jon the Potter, Jamie Neville – graphic designer, David Brown – Graffitti artist in Connect and Create’s Career Pathways Here
COSTUME & BODY ART
Sensory-friendly Halloween costumes
Get some great tips here on creating Halloween and other costumes that work well for kids with sensory processing challenges.
Give it a Go - festival body painting
Check out the body painting demo by Cabasa Carnival Arts in the Body Art Tent at our Summer Festival Here. Could you design a face and shoulders decoration like the one in the picture? Why not send us your design?
Make & Create - carnival and fashion designs
Have a look at beautiful Brazilian carnival costumes Here
Check out the work of island fashion designer Letila Mitchell on our Visual Art page (near the bottom). Now try creating your own patterns Here
Make it Mine - your costume designs
Are you a keen artist, or interested in fashion and costumes? Why not send us your designs? We've already featured designs from young people in the Gallery: check out designs by Paris, Lauren and Lewis.
Feel free to use our Makeup & Costume design template below.
Have a look at this brilliant insight into designing a fantasy character's costume.
Careers - how to become a costume designer
A fantastic guide at backstage.com on what the world of film costume design Here.
DANCE STYLES & INTERPRETATION
A 'sofa dance' from the BBC (YouTube)
ACE Youth Dancers
Make it Mine - Dance interpretation
Watch these three versions of a swan solo from Swan Lake:
What parts or elements are effective in your opinion? Costume? Movements and body shapes? Patterns made by the dancers? The link between music and dance movements?
Which version has the biggest emotional impact? Do you feel sad/interested/bored/entertained?
Check out the National Youth dance Company and how young people interested in dance can develop their skills Here
Career Pathways in Dance
Find out how these people have made dance their everyday job:
Which of these would you like to try? Can you copy one of the moves?
Dance styles through the ages
Jasmine a care-experienced young person in Dudley - has written about her favourite books, and suggests 10 you might try:
I can't really choose just one book because every book this author writes just seems to get better and better. So my favourite author has to be Cassandra Clare, every book she writes has a new and thrilling plot that just draws you into the book and the world she creates. She includes a range of different ethnicities and sexualities in her books that make it even more interesting. Her books always includes vampires, werewolves and warlocks but also discusses demons and Angel's. The books that she writes tackles a lot of difficult things, such as racism, homophobia and a lot of other things that just hits home. Every book that she writes is different and new and gives you plenty of reasons to love her as an author. I warn you though If your going to read any of her books you should always be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. Plus no matter what you'll fall in love with nearly every character she creates as each one is unique and has a special personality.
Jasmine's Top 10 Book List
1) Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
2) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
3) The Maze Runner by James Dashner
4) Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
5) The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
6) Smart by Kim Slater
7) Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
8) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordon
9) Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
10) The Magersterium by Holy Black
from Artslink Awesome Arts Festival
On the final day of our summer festival we looked at Chill Skills, ways that artists unwind, chill out and de-stress.
Head over to the Chill Out tent and pick a few films from the collection to watch. See if you've tried any, or would like to.
1. For younger festival goers
There are many festival held in the UK and in other countries. Have a look at these:
Which would you like to visit, and why?
2. For older festival goers
Research some festivals. Use these below or find others.
Who do you think is the target audience for
each festival? E.g. young people, families, children…..
1. Being a BBC Production Apprentice
by Annie Chisambo
Annie talks about her background in local radio, and about what it's like to be a BBC apprentice.
Commissioned from the BBC for streaming by Artslink Connect & Create participants only. Please do not use for any other purpose.
2. BBC Young Reporter Competition
Open August - October 2020
A chance for 11-18 year-olds to share their unique stories with the BBC. This is the third year of this editorial opportunity and previous winners have produced reports with the likes of BBC Three, The One Show, BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live, Newsbeat, Newsround and the News at Six.
All the details will be on www.bbc.co.uk/youngreportercompetition where at the moment you're still able to see some of this year’s winning stories.
Crazy Cover Versions
Listen to these pop songs which musician Hildegard von Blingin' has transformed into medieval covers. Click Here
Check out Post Modern Jukebox, who take modern day hits and transform them into 1920/30/40’s style performances. Click Here
Take a song you like and know, and transform it into a different musical style. For example, can you change a nursery rhyme into a rap? A love song into an upbeat pop song?
Look at ‘cover versions’ that artists have created from well known existing songs. Radio 1’s live lounge invited artists to do this Click Here
Look at these extraordinary sculptures carved from fruit and vegetables by artist Vincenzo Scuruchi: Click Here (YouTube)
Artist Manami Sasaki creates works of art using food items on toast. Click Here
Japanese chef and food artist Takehiro Kishimoto creates exquisite patterns into all sorts of vegetables and fruit Click Here. His work is based on the Japanese tradition of ‘mukimono’ decorating and garnishing food.
Create a sculpture or image using items of food.
Photograph your creation. You can eat your sculpture afterwards so you don’t waste food!
N.B. please do not use any sharp objects without adult permission and supervision.
Research other traditional carving patterns such as maori wood carvings Click Here and their meanings Click Here. Research other patterns such as celtic patterns and meanings Click Here. Create your own patterns using ideas from zen doodling Click Here
Postage Stamp Art
The Royal Mail create ‘special edition’ stamps which many people collect. Previously there have been special sets of stamps based on Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Gruffalo, James Bond, Royal Navy ships, Alice in Wonderland. Click Here
Challenge: Design a set of stamps based on your
interests in life. Experiment with different ways of
creating your design:
You can use these templates or design your own stamp shapes too!
Research stamps from different places. Notice the different sizes, shapes and colours. Look at the way stamp design has changed over the years in this country.
Comic Book Characters
Can you create a comic book character or a flying superhero – human or animal?
Think about its characteristics – positive ones and things that get it into trouble! Design a character including its expressions, any makeup or masks, accessories, costume, key phrases and name it. Use a range of ways to create the designs:
Crayons and felts
Photographs – mix and match them
Research superheroes from different countries and cultures. Look at different stories, animations and comics. Create a model of your superhero using clay, playdoh, plasticine, paper, card, tape, paint... any materials that can create a 3-dimensional figure.
Create a life size costume for your superhero - use fabric or paper and paint/pens/chalks or newspaper and sellotape to create the garments. What would your superhero wear, what lengths and shapes would their clothing be?
Create a story or adventure that your superhero appears in. Tell the story (voice record, live performance, video, write it down, create a comic strip) and share it with others. We would love to see your designs and stories.
Take a look at the different types of portraits in the National Portrait Gallery’s online collections: Click here
Explore the artists featured as part of ‘National Portrait Artist of the Year’: Click here. Which styles and materials do you particularly like?
Check out some weird and wonderful portraits made with unusual materials
Can you create a portrait of someone, or maybe a pet, or use a photo to create from? Use materials of your choice – collage, caricature or cartoon, chalks, pencil, fine liner pens, paints, charcoal, objects…. Explore trying different styles and materials and find your preferred materials and style.
Research portrait painters and photographers that you like. Create portraits yourself and build a collection. Have a mini exhibition somewhere in the place you live or create a digital exhibition - PowerPoint or slideshow and share it with people you live with.
Rockin' Around the Room!
Look at this fantastic film of people dancing in and around their houses - different people in different places with different moves.
Dancers from Paris Opera made this film on YouTube to encourage people to stay home during lockdown. Do you recognise the music? See if you spot the little people getting involved!
Can you dance around wherever you live and create different movements in each room or space (corridors, stairs)? Can you teach movements to people you live with and dance together?
Research site specific choreography – that is dance pieces choreographed about and to be performed in a specific place. Look at these dance pieces created and performed in specific places:
A small alcove and a swimming pool Click Here
A motorway junction - under spaghetti junction Click Here
On a treadmill Click Here
Just hands moving together on a flat surface Click Here
Can you create a dance piece in a particular space? Practice it and film it. Share it with others.
Take a look at the way artist Tamas Kanya creates sculptures, patterns and pictures using stones and other natural materials. Click here
For more stone patterns click here
Artist Andy Goldsworthy also uses stones and rocks to make large patterns and sculptures outside. Click here
Artist Erzsebet Szilajka uses pebbles, stones and sea glass in a different way to create simple beautiful images. Click here
Here’s a YouTube video on painting stones – you could try this at home. Click here
Japenese artist Akie transform stones into animals. Click here
Can you create an original piece of art using stones and pebbles? Paint them, balance them, arrange them into patters – whatever you like. Think carefully about the background you are placing them on – grass, pavement, plain paper, material/fabric, cardboar, tin foil, plastic sheet…. Photograph your art work. We would love to see it and share it in our gallery.
Look at this article on graffiti art in Digbeth, Birmingham. Look around where you live, is there any graffiti art? What do you think of it?
If you were given a wall or patio to transform, what would you do? Design on paper your own graffiti image or have a go on the Tate online site: Click here
Ask whoever you live with if you can use coloured chalks to transform an outside wall or patio/pavement/paving slabs area. Here’s some work that a mother and child created to cheer up their pavements in the neighbourhood: Click here
Share your work in ways that suit you – in person or digitally online. We would love to see it, so you can send photos or a film clip of your work .
Research the work of other graffiti artists. Create a collection of work that you like. Create a series of your own designs. Create your own graffiti tag.
Look at these incredible beautiful breeds of bird: Click Here
Artist Patrick Cabral creates intricate portraits of endangered species by cutting paper: Click Here
Take a look at paper artist Lisa Price who used nature as a focus for her paper sculptures and 3-dimensional pictures: Click Here
Artist Brian Mock makes sculptures from nuts, bolts and other recycled material: Click Here
Here’s some simple craft bugs using items from the garden: Click here
Here are some guides for making simple origami (paper folding) animals:
Can you create a creature or creatures (real or imaginary) using different materials:
A creature using leaves, stones, sticks
A creature using paper - folding it, cutting it, drawing on it
A creature using recycled materials - cardboard, junk mail, drink cartons
Share your work in ways that suit you - in person or online. We'd love to see them, so if you'd like to send them to us for our Gallery: click here.
Research how paper can be used to create art here. Research artists who use recycled materials to create sculptures. Find out about different paper techniques including as quilling, origami, paper cutting, paper dyeing.
You may feel that your life has got quite small since being in lockdown. At the moment we can’t go to as many places or see as many people as we used to. Artists specialise in creating tiny scenes using everyday bits and pieces with amazing results!
Artist Tatsuya Tanaka creates and photographs small scenes in everyday places using everyday objects: Click Here
Gardens in a tea cup: Click Here to look at the work of Muhaiminah Faiz.
Create a tiny scene in a tiny place somewhere inside or outside of where you live. Photograph the scene you create, take sevral photos from different angles. Share your work with someone else. Create a folder or album (digital or paper) of your scenes. Send your pics to us if you like - click here.
Create an exhibition or a trail of your tiny places for people to look at, inside and outside of where you live. Can you create a scene somewhere along a place where people walk - see if they notice it! Create a series of scenes and film them. Add a soundtrack to your film. Research other artists who create mini worlds or small scenes.
Take a look at these unusual building designs
What do you think is important for the outside of a building and the inside?
Take a look at these amazing small spaces (YouTube clip) that have been designed carefully to look fabulous and be fun to live in.
We have some architecture activities for you to do at home from Foster and Partners – templates to build your own paper city, town, village. Click Here
Can you design your perfect space?
Draw it – inside and or outside, floor plans
Make a model from card and paper, tin foil, or plasticine, play doh, lego, building blocks – any mixture of things you can find.
Create a mood board (collage) of the colours and textures you would like in your perfect space, pictures of the gadgets and accessories, the furniture and furnishings – decorations, lights, what else would you have in your perfect space….?!
Create a location and an environment for your designed space. Where would it exist – a city? A desert?
Research some contrasting architects and designers here
Being Well - Mental Health and the Arts
It can be tough to stay emotionally steady during this lock-down time. Many people have dips and wobbly times, and it can be especially tricky at the moment.
TROUBLE IN YOUR BUBBLE? has great tips for keeping those relationships and yourself as healthy as possible during lock-down (click the image to download the pdf) - there are some useful thoughts and pointers around well-being. The resource was created created in New Zealand by an organisation which supports Pasifika culture.
You can also use arts activities to pick up your mood, distract yourself or work out your thoughts and feelings:
MUSIC – create a playlist that helps you to feel calm and relaxed or energised and positive.
DANCE – have a dance to get yourself moving. Stick on your favourite tunes and move your hands, feet, arms, body to your top tunes. Many people enjoy dancing (see here) You could turn, jump, travel from room to room in your home – enjoy! (N.B. links to YouTube and features adverts. We recommend you don't follow any links)
WRITE – Poet Joseph Coehlo reads his poem ‘Argument’ here
Write a poem, rap, a rhyme, speech, letter, scene for a play, story.
Download a free journal template here
DRAW - colouring, doodling are all useful things to remember and use if you are struggling to stay steady.
Free colouring book by artist Johanna Basford here
The arts can be a great way of expressing feelings during difficult times
BLURT – Project Quaranzine: take part in The blurt Foundation's zine project here
You could create a zine (folded leaflet) and draw, write, collage your thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t have to make sense or shown to anyone else but yourself.
How to make a zine here
Download a zine template here
Can you create a list of the top 3 arts activities that help your mood? If you wish, share them (or this page) with others - the challenge may help them too!
Making music in extraordinary ways
Have you ever seen or heard of instruments that are made from different materials? Explore the links below and discover a whole new world of sound and music making!
Watch this short film about the amazing Landfill Orchestra in Paraguay: Landfillharmonic
Other unusual ways of making music using everyday instruments include:
Have a go at creating your own rhythms and/or tunes using everyday objects and yourself!
Record or film your piece. Ask for other people's feedback on your piece. Can you create a group piece of music with the people you live with? Maybe start with a rhythm and see where it takes you.
Try creating pieces in different styles. Give your piece a title.
Makeup Design & Costume - Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil is a world class performance company who combine circus, dance, drama, theatre, storytelling, visual design and performance. Look at how the performers audition and train to get a place in one of the Cirque companies.
Behind the scenes Auditioning for Cirque du Soleil - Click Here
Costumes and make up are one of the key features and attractions of Cirque du Soleil shows. Have a look at these films to see what goes on behind the scenes:
‘Alegria’ Make Up & Costumes - Click Here
Short interview with make up designer - Click Here
Stage make up tutorial by Cirque performer - Click Here
(there are plenty more if you search ‘Colour me Cirque’
Behind the scenes at a Cirque du Soliel show - Click Here
Can you design a circus costume and make up? It could be any type of character or creature that you can imagine. Feel free download and use our template:
Have a look for other costume designers work in different kinds of theatre and performance. Make up artists work in daily TV studios as well as in films and stage productions that need special make up effects. Can you design accessories for a range of characters including masks, headdresses, hats, footwear, gloves, etc?
If you want to get more into costume design, you can find a great range of templates at this site. You'll need to subscribe, so make sure you have permission if you need it.
Look at the choreography of the company ‘Up and Over It’: Up and Over It click here
Can you create a hand dance to a piece of your favourite music, either on your own or with someone you live with?
Share your work in ways that suit you – in person or digitally online. We would love to see it, so you can send photos or a film clip of your 'handywork' to us via our contact page and we'll display some of the images in the gallery.
Next steps – research what other dance styles use hand movements in a specific way such as flamenco, khatak, vogue, more finger tutting
Visual Arts Creatures
Take a look at ‘Butterflies & Moths Collection’ – Natural History Museum
Check out how other artists have created artworks featuring creatures:
Artist Jennifer Murphy:
Artist Fredrico Uribe:
Create a creature (real or imaginary) either by:
making a model (plasticine, play doh, salt doh, natural items found outside stones, twigs, leaves etc or inside – everyday objects),
collage – cutting out creatures from magazines etc (ask first!) and arranging them,
painting/drawing – using pencils, crayons, pens, paints,
or using any other ideas you have…..
Share your work in ways that suit you – in person or digitally online. We would love to see them, so you can send a photo of your work to us via our contact page and we will display some of the images in the gallery.
Next steps: research other artists and designers who use creatures, animal images in their work e.g. pokemon, manga art, tinga tinga art etc.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Children & Young People: please make sure you stay physically safe when doing any of the activities, and check with an adult before starting, as Artslink can't accept liability for any damage to yourself or property!
Children & Young People and key adults: please be aware of the importance of e-safety.
We strongly recommend the Thinkuknow e-safety website.