Signals is working with Colchester Libraries to encourage young people to #ExpressYourself and embrace creativity as a form of self-help and improved wellbeing – all whilst engaging more with their library at the same time.

Recently we took our #ExpressYourself project to the Colchester Young Children’s Festival, inviting participants to experiment with animation and create their own response to the question “what makes you happy?”

#ExpressYourself stop motion animation

Stop Motion Animation

We began the day setting up our stand, featuring two animation stations and one MakeyMakey “banana piano”, the latter allowing you to play the drums by hitting bananas! Next to the animation stations we had a craft station with a variety of materials from paper to plasticine, plus a wide selection of emojis – we found that participants responded really well to using these vibrant cartoon characters.


What Makes You Happy?

We presented the participants with the question “what makes you happy”, inviting them to then use the emojis to animate their own short story, perhaps about how a hobby or activity has an impact on their mood. Given the drop-in nature of this activity, we chose a question with an easy answer for some but open enough to leave potential for some interesting anwsers/interpretations from those who wanted to spend more time animating – which you can see in the gifs above and below.


The Five Ways of Wellbeing

The familiarity of using the emojis allowed the participants to jump straight in and start creating stories with characters they already knew, which led to them being able to project their own feelings far easier . Unfortunately being in a field on a gloriously sunny day didn’t offer the most controlled lighting environment, but we had lots of fun and directed everyone we met to our forthcoming Filmmaking workshops at Colchester Library where we’ll be making a short film all about the five ways of wellbeing, which you can read about here.


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