The January Challenge from 64 Million artists

I asked this organisation to write a blog post about their initiative, because it sounded so wonderful, and I know a lot of you would love to take part in this!

‘Cultivating an open and accessible culture of learning? Encouraging creativity and collaboration? Developing dynamic spaces for staff and students to experiment and have fun together?

Have you heard about The January Challenge?

64 Million Artists believe everyone is creative, and when we use our creativity we can make positive change in our lives and the world around us. We think school libraries are amazing. And, as spaces of creativity and community, libraries make a very happy and inspiring home for The January Challenge.

Creativity is already in our lives, sometimes it just needs a little spark to wake it up or a quick reminder that it’s easy to access. That’s why in January, a month notorious for making us feel blue, we run The January Challenge – free and fun creative challenges every day for 31 days. The idea is simple. For each day in January we set a short creative challenge which only takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The challenge might be to write a poem about Mondays, to doodle to music, think your way around a problem or make something taller than you. It is a fun, quick and accessible way to get creative – and getting creative is good for you.

In 2019, over 15,000 people across the country took part. Over 95% of those surveyed said it had a positive impact on their wellbeing. Creative challenges took place in schools, hospitals, libraries, theatres, offices, community centres and homes across the country. We heard about flash mobs in school canteens, paper aeroplanes flying around libraries and friendships born online, and over a cuppa.

We have recently partnered with UCL Division of Psychology and Life Sciences to find out if our online creativity programmes really impacted symptoms of stress depression and anxiety and the overall wellbeing of our participants.

The research results found a ‘clinically meaningful’ increase in participants’ wellbeing and an overall decrease in symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Interview data also reflected that participants felt their well, supported and socially connected by taking part in simple creative activities online. Read the short report here.

Unlock the key to wellbeing in your school. Use The January Challenge to boost collaboration, connection and creativity for both staff and students. School libraries make an excellent ‘hub’ for Challenges – but they could also be used in staff meetings, tutor time, lunchtime clubs, in lessons! How could you use them in your school?

The January Challenge is free to take part in, and we offer optional extras to help you champion creativity across your whole school. Find all the information you need here, or get in touch at jemima@64millionartists.com. ‘