Photos, audio, and video clips gallery of community-engaged arts for social change programs by Instruments of Change

INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE uses the arts as an educational tool to empower people to become instruments of transformative change in their own lives

Arts Based Professional DEVELOPMENT Tools

Through engaging, arts-based professional development activities, Instruments of Change leads innovative, collaborative processes which foster divergent thinking that you can bring to your work and your life.

Our service-designed approach offers a broad menu of interactive arts-based tools (inventoried below). These can be customized to meet your specific performance goals and to address your desired learning outcomes.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS ACTIVITIES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
Jam Bandwidth Choose existing popular song (IE. If I had a Million Dollars; Favorite Things; Long and Winding Road, Imagine, Get Up Stand Up). Play recording of song. Discuss song meaning. Create ideas for lyrics’ theme. Rewrite lyrics in rhyming verse. Sing new version together. Music 5-30 30/60 min.
Take the A Train Play the “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing” game, with any chosen topic (IE. “I’m going to improve our office environment…”; “I’m going to expand my creative tools…”). Go around room adding one alphabetized item at a time. Have each subsequent person repeat all previous items and then add their own. The group can help the individual. Writing 5-30 people 15/30 min.
Word on the Beat Identify found objects in room that can serve as percussion instruments. Distribute “instruments” in small group combos. Elect one member of each group as chief (this can rotate). Have chief choose a word, and beat that word on “instrument” creating a “Call”. Have his/her group “Respond” with same rhythm. Then, as a word association exercise, the next chief chooses a word and beats it out to his/her group as a Call. Then, they Respond. Pass this around the room. Possibly combine all of the different syllabic rhythms at end of activity. Listening Skills 5-100 15/30/60 min.
Alliteration Salutation Use first letter of first name to introduce yourself with corresponding adjective and action noun (IE. worker, learner, etc.), starting with same letter, to describe yourself. To continue subsequent person says “it is good to meet (repeat previous person’s name and attributes here), and then introduces themselves in the same way. Writing 5-30 15 min.
Buzzwords Use existing incomplete stories (provided by facilitator). Do not share story with group until end of activity. Fill in provided blanks collectively. (IE. Adjective to describe strength of the company; Exclamation for what you’d say if team got 20% raise; Noun for most useful office object, etc.). Have participant read resulting story to group. Writing 5-30 15 min.
Story Web Collectively choose a topic for story (IE. “When our company Is taken over by robots”…). Have first storyteller hold a ball of yarn and begin the first sentence of the story. Have that person toss the yarn to next chosen storyteller and let the web be woven. Writing 5-30 15 min.
Two Truths and a Lie In a circle, each person takes turns telling the group three facts about themselves: two of them true, and one of them a lie. After each person, the group can discuss which they think is the lie, and why. Theatre tbd tbd
What Are You: Doing/Being/Feeling? An audience and stage space is established. One person begins by going to the stage area and performing a mimed action. Then another person enters onto the stage space and asks the person performing “What are you doing?” The person doing the action must say any other action than the one they are performing. Then, the asker becomes the performer and does the action that the first person says. The game goes one with new people going up each time and new actions being performed. The facilitator may also encourage more to be expressed such as emotions and characters as well as actions. Then the question might become “What are you?””Who are you?” How are you feeling?” while completing actions. These themes might be related to specific topics as well. Theatre 7-30 5/10 min.
Rope Tug of Play Participants get into pairs. Each pair is given a rope or a long piece of paper crumpled up into a snake like form. Each person holds the rope at opposite ends between each other, holding the rope taught. Together they must move through the room paying attention to keeping the rope taught. At the beginning one person is the leaderwhile the other is the follower. Then the roles switch. Eventually the roles of leader and follower disappear and both participants are actively leading and following while keeping the rope taught. No speaking is involved. Movement 2-100 5/10 min.
Cellphone Pictionary Using their own cell phones and having identified the cell number of the person seating to the right of the circle, participants are asked to send a sentence or quote as a text message to that person. The person that receives the text message has to make a drawing representing this sentence, take a photo and send it to the person to the right. This person writes a sentence, sends it again and the pattern continues. Once the circle is completed, each person would read their own quote and people will show what they came up with once they received this as a drawing or as a sentence. Visual Art 5-30 15/20 min.
Tear-up Wearing a blindfold, participants are not allowed to ask questions but can talk freely among themselves. The facilitator gives each participant a sheet of paper of equal size and gives them instructions sequentially: fold the paper in half and tear off the bottom right hand corner, fold the paper in half again and tear off the upper right hand corner, fold the paper in half again and tear off the lower RH corner. Then with eyes open, they can compare results to emphasize how people interpret ambiguous instructions and produce disparate results. Visual Art 5-30 10 min.
Office TV Each team selects a popular song that will represent them. The group is guided through the process of producing a video clip using that song. Participants have the freedom to act, use puppets, use props or shoot any footage that will be edited in a video clip format using their selected song. Visual Art 10-20 20/30 min.

PRESENTATION SKILLS ACTIVITIES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
Value-added Have group write down 1 or more adverbs each, and 3 or more verbs, on a small piece of paper.  Fill a hat with the adverbs and.  Another with the verbs.  One person at a time picks an adverb and 3 verbs and begins to act them out in sequence in the “adverb”ly way.   Group has 1 minute to guess the adverb. Theatre 5-30 people 15/30 min.
News Fashion Split the group into four or five teams. Give each team a roll of tapeand a complete full-size newspaper (ie. Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail). The groups have ten minutes to create a costume. All teams will then present their new piece of wardrobe on a modeling “runway”, explaining why their item is the next exciting item to hit the fashion world. Theatre 10-15 30 min.
Zip Zap Zop In a circle, one person sends a “zip” with a clap gesture towards someone else, making eye contact with this individual. The person who receives the “zip” must then immediately send off a “zap” with the same clap gesture and eye contact towards someone else. Then next person follows with “zop”. Keep the pace rapid-fire but encourage the group to speed up. Anyone who says sends the wrong word is out! Movement 8-20 10/15 min.
That’s a Rap In different small groups, brainstorm theme words around a prescient topic at work, and build Rhyme Banks for key words. Then, craft rhyming rapped verses about the topic of choice. Groups are also encouraged to create a memorable “chorus” to teach the audience for a rap-along, during an eventual performance. Groups can add beat-box or body percussion for accompaniment. They are also invited to name their band, make branded bling (buttons, t-shirts, etc.), and add choreography as they feel inspired. Music 5-30 60 min.
Drums Among Us Identify found objects in room that can serve as percussion instruments. Distribute “instruments” in small group combos. Facilitator teaches prescribed or improvised individual rhythmic lines, one at a time. Practice rhythms vocally first (using syllables IE. “ta”, “da” “dum” “ba”). Progressively build collaborative rhythm. Practice rhythms in different pairings. Perform collaborative rhythm. Music 5-100 15/30/60 min.

COLLABORATION SKILLS ACTIVITIES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
The Sculptor and The Clay Split the group into pairs. One partner will first be the manipulator, the “sculptor”, while the other will be the frozen body, the “clay”. With the clay standing in neutral, the sculptor gets to move and manipulate the body in three ways to construct a sculpture. The sculptor can make three different sculptures, “erasing” each one every time, before the partners switch roles. Time permitting, each pair can choose one sculpture to share with the group, and name it. Movement 6-40 10/15 min.
Mirroring Split the group into partners. Partners will stand a foot apart and must keep their eyes on each other. One person will first be the leader, and their partner will mirror their exact movement. Switch partners. Movement 8-20 10/20 min.
Straw Circle Instruct the group to stand in a perfect a circle as possible with space between each person. Hand everyone a straw for them to hold in their left hand. Instruct everyone to hold the straw with their index finger at the end of the straw, pointing the straw horizontally to the right. Instruct everyone to cross their left and right hands in front of their face so that their right index fingers meet the end of the straw of the person on their left. At this point, instruct everyone to release other fingers that maybe holding onto the straw so that everyone’s straws are held up by two index fingers of two different people. Movement 5-30 8 min.
Flocking Instruct the group to stand in a clump, spread out enough that there is a bit of space between each body. The rule is, whomever is at the forefront of the group, the most “downstage”, leads the group. The group follows the leader’s movement as precisely as they can. When the leader rotates his/her body, someone else will naturally become at the forefront of the group and seamlessly take over as the movement leader. Movement 8-30 10 min.
Story Board Songwriting Choose a topic and write down objects, actions, feelings, characters that relate to that topic. Create 3-6 subsequent lines of text. Have participants draw their own relationship to topic. In small groups, have people describe their drawings to each other and come up with a new list of words in the categories related to their drawings. Have each group write four lines of text from their new list of words and turn each group’s lines into a verse on the board. Music 10-30 60 min.
The Count-Up In a circle, the group must count consecutively from 1 to however many participants there are. However, only one person can say each number, at each participant must call out a number. Whenever, more than one person says a number, we start from the beginning. Theatre tbd tbd
Snap Shot Participants choose a theme to be explored using “tableau”- on stage picture using humans without motion. Without speaking one by one participants assume an aspect of that picture by taking the shape with his/her body. When the picture is complete, those who are not in the picture can look at, talk about, ask questions, and analyze what they see. If changes can be made to the picture then participants who have an idea of how to change the picture can move the bodies within or invite their suggestions to change. When the picture is satisfying to the whole group then an imaginary snapshot is taken and the actors can then move out of position. Theatre 5-30 10/30 min.
Tandem Drawing In pairs, each participant holds one side of a pre-assembled drawing tool (two markers held together with a rubber band). Each pair/team has to draw a determined object (still life) during a determined period of time (5-10 minutes). The facilitator can decide if the participants can talk or not, but their challenge is to draw the object as a team without releasing the drawing tool. Visual Art 10-20 20 min.
Happy Accidents Using a big roll of paper on the floor, participants blow ink using a straw. Participants have to turn these accidental marks into a determined element that is part of a group of things from the same category (animals, people, fruits, clothes, food, etc). The group has to cut them out and install them in the space and then create a story that narrates what they see in their scene. Visual Art 5-30 20/30 min.
Giant Morphology™ Game Inspired by the Morphology ™ game and following the same rules, each team selects a morphologyst who will represent the word on the selected card using the available materials. Without talking, the morphologyst must “morph” the pieces into the word. Each time a team correctly guesses the world in the 1 minute allowed, the team scores one point. The team with more points wins. Visual Art 10-20 30/45 min.

PROBLEM-SOLVING ACTIVITIES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
Down the Line Choose a pressing issue in the work group or environment. Identify salient word to describe that issue. Each individual writes word down vertically and creates a poem about this issue. Facilitator writes word vertically on white board and group chooses best lines for collective poem. Repeat for multiple issues, if time allows. Writing 5-30 15/30 min.
Team Tableau Split the group into four teams and number or name each team. Call out an object (ie. kitchen, car, pizza, alligator). Each team silently makes one of the objects and freezes when they have completed. The facilitator calls out the teams’ names/numbers in the order he/she see them freeze. The team that freezes first wins the point. The team that gets up to 5 points wins. It is best to give a demonstration of this activity before beginning. Movement 10-50 1/150 min.
Detective One participant, as the detector, is asked to leave the room. The rest of the group forms a circle and chooses a secret leader. The leader, standing on the spot begins to move slowly so that everyone can follow. The facilitator invites the participant outside of the room to come in and enter the circle. He/she has three guesses to detect who is the leader. A new participant is selected to leave the room, and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to be the detective. Movement 8-20 10/20 min.
Wired Using soft copper wire, each team (of 4-5 people) has to make a functional object that serves a purpose for an identified need in the workplace (e.g. a machine with special qualities, a spatial or improved condition, etc). Visual Art 5-30 30 min.

LISTENING SKILLS ACTIVITIES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
Word on the Beat Identify found objects in room that can serve as percussion instruments. Distribute “instruments” in small group combos. Elect one member of each group as chief (this can rotate). Have chief choose a word, and beat that word on “instrument” creating a “Call”. Have his/her group “Respond” with same rhythm. Then, as a word association exercise, the next chief chooses a word and beats it out to his/her group as a Call. Then, they Respond. Pass this around the room. Possibly combine all of the different syllabic rhythms at end of activity. Music 5-100 15/30/60 min.
Drums Among Us Identify found objects in room that can serve as percussion instruments. Distribute “instruments” in small group combos. Facilitator teaches prescribed or improvised individual rhythmic lines, one at a time. Practice rhythms vocally first (using syllables IE. “ta”, “da” “dum” “ba”). Progressively build collaborative rhythm. Practice rhythms in different pairings. Perform collaborative rhythm. Music 5-100 15/30/60 min.
The Count-Up In a circle, the group must count consecutively from 1 to however many participants there are. However, only one person can say each number, at each participant must call out a number. Whenever, more than one person says a number, we start from the beginning. Theatre tbd tbd
Mirroring Split the group into partners. Partners will stand a foot apart and must keep their eyes on each other. One person will first be the leader, and their partner will mirror their exact movement. Switch partners. Movement 8-20 10/20 min.
Flocking Instruct the group to stand in a clump, spread out enough that there is a bit of space between each body. The rule is, whomever is at the forefront of the group, the most “downstage”, leads the group. The group follows the leader’s movement as precisely as they can. When the leader rotates his/her body, someone else will naturally become at the forefront of the group and seamlessly take over as the movement leader. Movement 8-30 10 min.
My Job Description Participants are asked to individually draw a comic strip representing the different tasks they do during a very busy day at work (10 min). These are collected and re-distributed to different participants. Now each person has to add speech bubbles to their drawing and guess who this person was and their role or job description. Visual Art 5-15 30 min.

CREATIVE CONFIDENCE ACTIVITIES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
Play Catch In a circle, the facilitator announces that he/she will be throwing an imaginary ball to the person beside him/her by first making eye-contact, and then tossing the “ball”, being physically clear about the size and weight of the “ball”. The “ball” is then tossed from person to person around the circle. Once this is complete, the facilitator tosses the ball to anyone in the circle. After a minute, he facilitator adds in another “ball” that is very small and very light. At the end, the facilitator will add in a third “ball” that is extremely heavy and large. When the facilitator stops the game, the group should be able to distinguish who is holding the average ball, the tiny ball, and the heavy ball. Movement 5-30 people 5/10 min.
Shape Shift With all participants in a horizontal line, when the stopwatch starts, any one participant A runs to the other side of the room and freezes in a big shape. Another participant B runs up to the first, and standing in front A, re-creates his/her exact shape to best of their ability. Once A sees that B has captured his/her shape correctly, A runs back to the lineup. The moment that A leaves, B can then freeze in a new shape, and anyone other than A can run in front of B to “steal” his/her shape. Once everyone has gone, the facilitator can stop the stopwatch. Optionally, this game can then be played again, with the group aiming to beat their first score/timing. Movement 12-50 10/15 min.
Impulse Passing Participants stand in a circle. One person begins by making a sound and gesture of any form and sending it to the person beside them. The next person receives the sound and gesture and passes the same sound and gesture to the next person and it travels around the circle. As the sound and gesture are passed there must be eye contact between receiver and sender. As participants get more comfortable the game gets faster and faster so that there is no hesitation between receiving and sending no matter how ridiculous the sound and movement may be. Eventually other techniques are introduced where one can choose to change the sound and movement and the direction of the sound and movement. Also, 1-5 different sound and movements can be passed simultaneously around the group. Movement 7-40 10/15 min.
Thinking Inside the Box Placing their (non-dominant) hand inside a box (the size for storing files, with an opening cut at one end with a curtain or sock-like tube to cover the opening but allow the hand inside) and feel the object inside. While still holding the object in one hand, participants try to draw what the texture feels like with their other hand (outside the box on the table.) The same tool can be used in the opposite way. Objects are visible on the table but the drawing paper and drawing hand are hidden in the box, allowing the participant to concentrate on observing details of what they’re drawing. Visual Art 5-20 people 30 min.
See-through Portraits In pairs and using a sheet of acetate mounted on a standing piece of acrylic (or transparent clipboard), each participant draws/paints their partner’s portrait looking through the transparency. Visual Art 10-20 20/30 min.
Start-up Song Brainstorm theme ideas for original song. Write list of words related to that theme on white board. Engage in Exquisite Corpse activity related to words (IE. One person writes sentence with word and passes it on; Next person draws that sentence. Have several sentences circulate around the room at once. Use resulting sentences or illustrations to inspire collectively agreed upon lyrics for song. Determine which overarching phrases will best create the repeated chorus. Music 5-30 60 min.
Basket Beats Distribute a basketball to each participant. Facilitator leads group in creating a steadily bouncing slow beat. Participants can experiment bouncing balls in different subdivisions of that slower pulse. Then, group can be divided into separate teams who can each execute different subdivisions simultaneously. For a greater challenge, teams can compose their own bounced rhythms to be performed in collaborative sequence, or in simultaneous layers with other groups' rhythms. Music 10-30 30/60 min.
Message in a Bottle Distribute multiple bottles to group. Choose prescribed song. Collectively figure out water levels for each corresponding pitch. Fill equal numbers of bottles in each pitch. Create numbered score. Practice singing song. Practice bottle flute sound. Practice bottle flute parts. Perform bottle flute version. Music 5-100 people 15/30 min.
Guess What? Participants can be in a large group, small group, or pairs. One person begins by choosing in his/her mind an object that has a use or purpose. He/She starts to create the object by miming what the object looks like, as if making it out of clay. When the imaginary object is made, he/she uses the object as it is meant to be used (miming). The person next to them must guess what they object is, if he/she guesses wrong, the mime must continue to find new ways to use or explain what it is without speaking or making sounds. When the right answer is given the guesser becomes the mime. Theatre 5-30 5/10 min.
Longtale Have each person contribute one random difficult to answer question and put these in a hat. (IE. Why do we have toenails?; What are birds saying when they sing? How does an accordion work? Where did cavewomen birth their babies?, etc. ). Let people take turns speaking for 3 minutes to share their invented answers. Writing 5-30 15/30 min.

ACTIVITIES FOR IDENTIFYING LEARNING STYLES

TitleDescriptionArtistic GenreSizeLength
Simon Twist Distribute 4 pieces of construction paper (blue, red, yellow, green). Place in square (blue –top left; red top right; green –bottom left; yellow –bottom right. Start game with movement patterns only (feet on paper) – Two in a row, then three, then four, etc. Next, try only word sequences – Two, three, four, etc. After, try pitch patterns. Then, movements and words. Then, movements and pitches Then, words and pitches. Finally, combine movements, words, and pitches. Music, Movement, Visual Art 5-30 15/30 min.
Game of Many Things Participants stand in a circle. The facilitator begins by throwing a large ball to one participant. The ball is thrown to each person in the circle and the order of that passing is practiced several times so that the ball is always getting passed to the same people in the same order. Once that is established, the leader chooses a subject such as “vegetables” and each person calls out a specific vegetable in a different order than how the ball was passed. That order is practiced several times until it is familiar. Then the ball is thrown in the order of the ball and the vegetables are called in the order of the vegetables. If the two can exist simultaneously then a third impulse is introduced-a sound or a gesture that can be seen and heard. This is practiced in its own order and added into the other elements. The game goes on until all the pieces cannot be held together by the group. Movement 7-30 10/15 min.
The Happy Dance In a circle, instruct the group to reflect silently on what makes them feel joy. Facing outside of the circle, give everyone some time to think of a gesture of a short physical phrase that reflects, expresses, or symbolizes this. When ready, bring everyone back facing inwards into the circle. Invite each participant to show and describe their gesture, and encourage everyone to learn it and do it with them. Once everyone has had a turn, go back through the circle, completing each person’s gesture one after the other--- an ensemble choreography of joy. This activity can be done with various prompts aside from joy. Movement 5-15 15 min.

Do you want to enhance the creative confidence in your workplace? Are you and your colleagues eager to build your leadership, innovation, and problem-solving skills? To engage these creative professional artists in a collaborative process with your staff, please contact Laura Barron. Offerings range from 3-hour, to full day or weekend workshops. Take advantage of our free, initial consultation to design a customized collection of arts-based activities that best resonate with your needs.