Making A Creative Response – Physical to Aural

By Paula Briggs and Alex Tunstall

As part of the teenage #BeACreativeProducer Project, we have been exploring how we can trust and use “instinct” in relation to finding starting points to generate ideas and enable creativity.

This post shares what happened when a “box” of physical stimuli was created and gifted to a teenager from the project, to see if the contents might inspire a creative response.

The teenager, Alex, enjoys using Logic Pro X to compose and produce music. The box was put together to explore how the physical (tactile, visual and aural) might trigger ideas for composition. In particular, I wanted the box and its content to act as a reminder that sometimes we need to reconnect to the physical world to find inspiration, especially when we get drawn into the digital world. One can balance the other.

The “Letter”

Ok, Let’s keep it simple! Read this before you open the package.


  • You do NOT have to feel inspired by this – that’s the nature of inspiration – you can’t force it.
  • You do not have to produce anything as a result of this – you won’t be letting me or anyone else down.
  • You can shove it in a cupboard!

So, if you want to try, then I suggest

  • Unwrap the things.
  • Let me know you are ready and I will whatsapp you 2 images which go with the objects.
  • Don’t over think what you see.
  • Don’t force any thoughts to come to you.
  • I suggest you hold the objects in your hand and play with them, fiddle with them. Listen to the sounds they make, feel the texture, weight, temperature. See them with your eyes, but also don’t use your eyes.
  • When you have received the whatsapped images (above), have the images on your phone and filling your screen. Turn off auto rotate. Manually rotate the images by turning your phone, and look carefully and slowly (looking is a skill in itself) at each image in a different orientation, i.e. on its side, upside down etc. How does the orientation change your perception of each image?
  • Look at the images again, this time playing with the objects. Move them from hand to hand.
  • Don’t just pick them up once, pick them up another time, maybe when you are watching an unrelated Youtube video…
  • Juggle your senses!

Know This!

  • Don’t feel silly – who cares…
  • Know that if you follow these instructions, no inspiration may come to you at all, or inspiration may arrive in a week, month, year, or, more likely, it will just shift very gently the way you look at things without you even being in control of it.
  • Recognise you have two brain modes – conscious and subconscious – this could work (or not work) in either mode depending whether you feel logical or more instinctual.
  • Don’t feel any rush to do anything with what you have experienced. If you don’t compose anything as a result no one minds at all… maybe when you’re my age you can pass on a strange box of tricks to someone else (!). But let’s see if it does inspire or not.
  • Basically, if it does help, it will just trigger what would be called a “creative response”. The stimuli being what I have sent. But if you don’t feel inclined to make a creative response then it is definitely no ones “fault” it just wasn’t the right stimuli for you at the time!!!

The “Box”

The box

The contents


painted wire

bound wire

sawn silver birch twigs

sawn silver birch twigs

polished coins

upside down images


The Creative Response

If possible, please listen using headphones. The nature of Lo Fi asks!

Very many thanks to Alex from the #BeACreativeProducer Project. And many thanks to team member Rowan for the woodland photographs.

This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1500 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.

Many Thanks to AccessArt Young Artist Alex Tunstall