10 Collaborative Projects

Welcome to the third day of The Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge 2020. This year we’ve called it the ABC Challenge. On Monday we had ten Alphabet projects, on Wednesday there were ten ideas for Boosting your creativity and today we’re looking at ways to work with others.

C is for Collaboration

It can be a bit daunting working with someone else if you’re used to doing your creative activies alone. Will they expect too much of me? What if they hate what I do? Will they try to micro-manage my contribution? And vice versa.

Relax. Choose your collaborators with care and discuss your project before you start, so that you have realistic expectations of time, skills and resources.

Use the challenge to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues while we can’t meet up as we usually do or use it to be creative with someone who you know would enjoy it.


Inspired by Anna Warren’s Letterbox Collaboration, my mother and I have been doing a Letterbox Collaboration through lockdown. I love getting anything in the post, but especially little works of art and they’re going to be a wonderful record of this strange year.

curved line drawn on a card

Make simple starting marks (or a word) on your card or paper and send it to your collaborator for them to let loose their imagination.

When they’ve completed it, they send it back for you to keep along with a ‘starter’ of their own for you to work on. Try to let go of the card when you send it and not add directions or suggestions. I never guessed that curved line would turn into a tortoise.

A few points to consider:

  • The cards should be small enough to pop through the letter box and it makes life easier if you choose a size that fits into a regular sized envelope.
  • How may cards you will send in each batch? We’ve been sending three completed and three starters each time.
  • Decide how long the collaboration will last. Will it be limited by time, number of cards or until you’ve both had enough?
  • Will it be a completely freestyle project or will you work to a theme or in a particular medium?


Do you remember playing Drawing Consequences as a child? Each player starts with a piece of paper and draws a head at the top. The paper is folded over so that the head is hidden but the neck remains and the paper passed to the next player who draws the body and arms. Again, the paper is folded to leave only the bottom of the torso showing so that the next player draws the legs, folds the paper and passes it for the next player to draw the feet. Finally, it is passed on for the next player to unfold and reveal the drawing.

Take your time and elevate Drawing Consequences to another level with detailed drawings in Cadavre exquis (Exquisite Corpse) style with bizarre and intriguing visions.


Gather stories, recipes, poems, sketches, gardening tips, jokes … One person could collate them all or the book could be passed around for everyone to write or draw directly into it. Store the book in a real or online space where everyone can share it or publish it to raise money for a worthy cause.


Keep a journal over the summer for everyone to make contributions and keep it as a reminder of this extraordinary year. It could be a video journal, a scrapbook, photo album or a weekly newspaper.


It’s good to switch off the screens and play old-fashioned board , card or parlour games. Go outside and fly a kite, go wild swimming or take a walk together. Join an art group or a print club. Spend an afternoon crafting with friends, just playing around with different mateials. Use the shared experiences to fuel your imagination.


Each person in the group chooses a theme or a title and starts the first pages of their journal. Each journal is then passed from person to person for each to add their contribution and back to the originator who keeps the finished journal. Concertina books are ideal for this as every page flows into the next.

Work in the journals as individuals at home  or meet up in a small group to work on them together.


Curate an exhibition in your chosen theme or medium and host it online if rules don’t allow you to put on a physical display. Consider raising funds with a Secret Art Sale that anyone can enter, use it to display group work or to make a statement. Clear a shelf, make a pinboard or use your fridge door as the exhibition space for the art your family makes this summer.


paper boat

Make something as a family or community that you can share in the future like creating a garden and painting a mural like Jane’s family have done, make a den or wigwam for summer or make paper boats to sail for a day. Make the decorations for a party or a wedding to be held when things are back to normal.


It’s great to pass on or learn a skill. We can’t attend craft courses and art classes as usual but there are still plenty of opportunities to learn. There’s an enormous number of free and paid for classes online as well as make-alongs, craft-alongs and all manner of other-alongs to join.

In the real world, it’s a good time to share skills with your peers and across the generations. Now’s your chance to show a youngster how to knit or learn how TikTok works from a teenager.

Sharing your skills can consolidate your own knowledge as you talk about what you do and how you do it. You can often pick up new ideas from watching others grapple with the process and see things from a different perspective.


Make marks and shapes as you listen to music. Gather a selection of inks, paints and mark making tools like paintbrushes, pencils, sticks, feathers, rollers and fingers and make a playlist of your favourite music (or hit shuffle). As each piece plays, use colours and marks to reflect the music and how it makes you feel. You could do this in sketchbooks, but it would be fun to unfurl a long roll of paper across the floor and work on a larger scale. A fun and liberating exercise to do with a group of like-minded people.

Next time: A – Z of Creative Activities (Part One)

3 thoughts on “10 Collaborative Projects

  1. Thank you for referring to my letterbox collaboration! It is still going strong, with about 100 of the long format and almost the same small square portraits. Its a good way of keeping ideas flowing, and ramping up motivation.

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