Collaborative Art Warmup

This exercise is intended to be fun and quick. It can be used in meetings, co-design sessions or any other group context to help make participants comfortable in the space and in working collaboratively with each other. It introduces the practice of multi-modal communication and experience.

How

Preparation

Working areas or stations should be set up for each group, using separate tables or other arrangements. Materials (lego, toys, coloured paper, pipe cleaners, tape, sticky notes, or anything available) can be placed at each station, or at an easily accessible location in the room.

Step 1

Break into small groups (3 or 4 people per group is best) and find a workstation.

Step 2

Each group collaboratively builds a small art installation or artwork using any of the available materials. This step can take between 4-7 minutes.

Tip: Don’t worry too much about the outcome, take risks and play.

Tip: If there are members in your group that require audio description, make sure to describe the available materials at the start and to describe the artwork as it takes form. Allow for tactile exploration of the materials and the artwork as well.

Tip: To ensure that everyone gets a chance to participate, you can have each group member take a turn adding something to the artwork.

Step 3

The groups rotate to the next station, and come up with a title and description for the work of art at that station. How would you describe the work to someone who can’t see it or isn’t here today? This step can take between 3-5 minutes.

Step 4

The groups rotate one more time. They now develop and document a brief artist statement (1-2 sentences) about the artwork at that station. This step can take between 3-5 minutes.

Step 5

Each group returns to their original station and shares the title, description and artist statement to the larger group.

Why

This activity helps participants gain a deeper understanding of the different ways artwork or other content may be accessed, perceived and interpreted. It also helps participants to think beyond typical communication methods in order to expand the range of people who can access and use the content.

An image showing a small sculpture made of lego and pipe cleaners on a table top, beside which lie two hand-written notes, one of which includes a title and description, while the other contains an artist statement.
Figure 1: Example of collaborative art created using the Collaborative Art Warmup Activity.
An image showing a small sculpture made of lego, a toy car, and pipe cleaners on a table top. Some handwritten notes lie on the table beside the sculpture and a bin of lego can be seen in the background.
Figure 2: Example of collaborative art created using the Collaborative Art Warmup Activity.