Celebrating the call for kindness

Be Kind bunting

We are all about celebrating creativity here at Ideas Test and this month we’ve been combining creativity with kindness in celebration of National Kindness Day, which occurs each year on November 13. Across a number of community venues and schools, different artists and arts practitioners led kindness workshops reaching in total over 230 people! We are incredibly grateful for the funding from Optivo which allowed us to programme these excellent workshops and we hope everyone who participated enjoyed the experience. Huge thanks go to Laurie Harpum for all of her amazing kindness craft workshops and to Chris Reed, Marissa Mardon and Justin Aggott for the excellent delivery of their community workshops.

Kindness really does make such an impact in people’s day-to-day lives so it’s a wonderful concept to celebrate. Finding time to be creative and collaborate with your local community can be tricky but making that time is an act of kindness to yourself, so we really hope that the workshops were worthwhile. These workshops centred around encouraging people to do something nice and creative for themselves, but to also think about all the ways they could be kinder to others, too. No.34 is now full with kindness creations, all of which will remain on display for the entire week following National Kindness Day. Hanging in the window and across the curtains are some fabulous bits of bunting which are the colourful creations from the Messy Babies workshop. Another of the community workshops focused on knitting letters, where 3D wire letters spelling out the words ‘Be Kind’ were covered with brightly coloured wool – an unmissable message! At one of the community workshops, the local community pulled together to create lanterns and photos from this are pinned up all over the cork wall. Also on the wall and the table are giant boards adorned with shells, each one sharing a kind thought, message or phrase that pupils at St. Clements Primary, Rose Street Primary and Oasis Academy designed and decorated.

“This was great fun and made me realise you could do a lot for others,” an Oasis Academy student explained.

Decorated sea shells with messages of kindness
Photo credit Kyra Cross

All of the artwork created looks fantastic and everyone who participated should be incredibly proud of their handiwork. The importance of the workshops wasn’t just to create some wonderful artwork though; it was to really encourage and remind us all to think about being kind. Judging from the feedback we received after these workshops, we can be incredibly hopeful that the message of kindness will continue to be passed on.

At Rose Street Primary, one pupil said the workshop “has taught me about being a better friend” and another added “it will always make me think about being kind”.

These responses prove how spending even just a couple of hours thinking about kindness can create a positive attitude. Just think then how wonderful it would be, if that positivity was then passed on to someone else, who then in turn a few days later encouraged yet another person to be kind. That chain reaction of kindness could wind up doing wonders for a whole community of people and it’s so simple to start it off, so what are you waiting for? If you missed any of our kindness workshops, we have our Make-a-Zine workshop on Saturday 18 November here at No.34 or why not do something kind or something creative at home for a friend or family member? The opportunities are endless and as you can see, through just a few small workshops we managed to reach over 200 people and encourage them all to think about kindness.

Knitted letters spelling Be Kind
Photo credit Kyra Cross

 “If someone is nice to you, you see another person and it spreads” said an attendee at the Castle Connections workshop.

We must also thank People United for gifting us two paper signs as a consolation prize for our bid for an illuminating neon ‘Be kind’ sign. They are hanging proudly in No.34 and will serve as a constant reminder for everyone using No.34 to take that time to think about being kind. Hopefully all the artists and their fantastic workshops have done a fantastic job of illuminating the positive impact that kindness can have, too.

If you want to be kind to yourself by spending some time being creative, don’t forget to check out our What’s On page to see what we have coming up over the next few weeks!