For the next seven weeks, seven freelance artists will each suggest seven creative ideas to help you Take Notice.

We’re living through a strange and frightening time. We’re ‘alone, together’ in a lockdown. Committed to social distancing and self-isolation. We’re trying to help our communities, while government policy still leaves individuals behind. We still don’t know what to expect. How long will we be inside?

Why A Week’s Notice?

At Contact we’ve been thinking about how the Five Ways to Wellbeing could help us to look after ourselves right now. With this project, we’re focusing on one of the Five Ways that often gets overlooked: Take Notice. It’s been shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing. Although we know that sometimes you need to distract yourself from what’s happening, with this project we’re asking you to spend a little bit of time each day creatively taking notice of what we’re living through, and reflecting on how you are feeling.

JOIN US

For the next seven weeks, seven freelance artists will each suggest seven creative ideas to help you Take Notice – a different idea every day.

You can keep your responses private, or share them with us at Contact to help create a small archive of these strange times. You can start with Week One, Day One or jump in any time, responding to the prompts that chime with you.

Although we know that sometimes you need to distract yourself from what’s happening, with this project we’re asking you to spend a little bit of time each day creatively taking notice of what we’re living through, and reflecting on how you are feeling. Maybe you would even like to share and complete these prompts remotely with friends and family, especially those who don’t have online access or who might need a boost.  

Share with us @contactmcr across our social media channels, using #TakeNotice and #AWeeksNotice, or send your responses direct to our Health and Science Producer Chloe on chloecourtney@contactmcr.com or on 07585 809230.

Amy Vreeke: student survival tipsWeek Two: Amy Vreeke

Amy Vreeke is a comedian and theatre maker based in Manchester. She’s just finished touring my solo show ‘The Year My Vagina Tried to Kill me’ and she is intrigued to see how this current situation changes the work she and we make.

Monday 30 March – Day 1: Your Worst Idea

What’s the worst idea you’ve had to fill your time while in lockdown? Can you take that worst idea and make it into the best by rethinking way to do it, or how it could be added to?

Watch Amy’s video and response here.

Tuesday 31 March – Day 2: Your Worst Movie

Think about the worst apocalypse film you’ve ever seen. Can you write a review of it?

Watch Amy’s video and response here.

Wednesday 1 April – Day 3: A Useless Object

What’s the most useless appliance or thing in your house? Something you haven’t used for ages. Find a use for it.

Watch Amy’s video and response here.

Thursday 2 April – Day 4: Good Things

Pick a room in your house. Write down three good things that have happened in that room, or that are in that room. Then think of three more things you’d like to have happen/have in that room.

Watch Amy’s video and response here.

Friday 3 April – Day 5: Keep Laughing

What have you been doing to keep yourself laughing during isolation? We all love a meme, but is there anything you’ve been doing outside of screentime? Jokes with with your housemates? Could you share these with someone new today to make them laugh?

Watch Amy’ video and response here.

Saturday 4 April – Day 6: Creative Spelling

What is the word that you can never seem to spell right? That name you can never remember? Find it, learn it, commit it to memory – then use it in a very short story.

Watch Amy’s video and response here.

Sunday 5 April – Day 7: I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

What is something that you do in your own home that you think you deserve more credit for – from others, from yourself or from the world? Imagine you’ve been given an award for that thing, and write your acceptance speech.

Watch Amy’s video and response here.

Week One: Ali Wilson

Ali is a theatre maker, dramaturg and arts producer based in Manchester. She creates mainly devised work. She is currently developing OVER MY DEAD BODY, a show made with her Mum which was due to be performed at Royal Exchange on Saturday 4 April but has had to be postponed.

Monday 23 March – Day 1: Dress How You Feel

How are you feeling today? Joyful? Tired? Quiet? Confused? Relaxed? Put together an outfit from your wardrobe that displays how you feel and go about your day in your new get-up. Use bed sheets or other household items if they suit your feelings.

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

Tuesday 23 March – Day 2: Rewrite a Song

Change the words of a well-known song to reflect your experience of lockdown, social distancing or isolation. Share the reworked lyrics or even record yourself performing your version.

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

Wednesday 24 March – Day 3: Love your Stuff

Make a list of the objects you love in your home. Tell them you love them, if you like. Share a list of the objects you love, or tell us about your favourite.

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

Thursday 26 March – Day 4: Draw the good times

Find a photo you love in your home or on a phone/laptop/device. Have a go at redrawing the photo on a piece of paper or recreating it in your own way. Share your drawing (include the original photo if you would like).

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

Friday 27 March – Day 5: DANCE O’CLOCK!

Set a number of alarms on your phone, for example 12pm/2.30pm/5pm/7.30pm. When each of these alarms goes off, stop what you’re doing and dance, move or sing along to a song that suits your mood at that time. Share a song choice with us. (@contactmcr on every social platform)

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

Saturday 28 March – Day 6: Isolation Inspiration

Take notice of 10 tiny things that happen inside or outside your home. For example: the black cat licks its paws, Mum yawns, the door slams. Build a script or short story around these 10 tiny things. Share the text, or record your text’s first performance.

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

Sunday 29 March – Day 7: Thank yourself

It’s the end of the week. Thank yourself every time you make yourself something to eat or drink. Pouring a glass of water counts!! Tell us how many times you thanked yourself today.

Watch Ali’s video and response here.

The Illustration

The illustration for A Week’s Notice is by our Leadership Projects Co-ordinator Rose Sergent. Rose also runs Drawn Poorly, which provides arts opportunities focused on chronic illness, disability and mental health conditions. You can join the Drawn Poorly social group on Facebook here

With A Week’s Notice we’re also hoping to learn lessons about different ways to connect with artists and audiences who are regularly isolated at home, and who may not be able to access our live events and participation programmes at Contact.

If you enjoy this project and would like more creative prompts to do at home, follow @TheHorsfall @funpalaces and @64M_artists today.

A Week's Notice. The words are surrounded by illustrations of books and other household objects