A brief introduction

The January Challenge is a national celebration of Everyday Creativity.

A washing clip crafted into a crocodile with googly eyes and pipe cleaner legs.

For each of the 31 days in January, 64 Million Artists release a short, fun, creative challenge - and invite anybody and everybody to have a go. At 64 Million Artists we believe that everyone is creative, and that creativity can have a positive impact on our lives and the world around us. The January Challenge is a chance to activate and celebrate that creativity - to ‘do, think and share’ your way into the new year, and see what happens along the way.

2020 was the 6th time we’ve run The January Challenge, and this year over 30,000 people took part. Challenges took place in homes, hospitals, offices, care homes, schools and libraries, and engaged people from 5 years old to 85 years old. 

This report explores the impact and reach of The January Challenge online and offline, and acts as an invitation to the reader to celebrate the potential in everyday creativity and creative participation. We want to contribute to the wider debate about participation in creative endeavours and the benefits that people observe for themselves when engaging with them.

DAY 18:

Make a version of your local landmark using any objects you can find. Your landmark might be old, it might be new, natural, man-made, well known or a hidden gem. What makes it recognisable? You could use things you own, things you borrow or things you find to make your landmark.

Set by:
Lowestoft Creative Forum


“I made things, sense of accomplishment. I shared them. Sense of purpose.”


What is a creative challenge?

Do, think and share.

A cute cat made out of earth, sticks and leaves

Pretend you’re the world’s greatest songwriter. What’s the opening line of your next hit song? Can you take a photograph of something small, to make it look big? Bring the outside in! Step outside, look around you, and find something to inspire you - turn a twig, a leaf, or some litter into your next creation. 

A creative challenge is a playful prompt to inspire accessible creative action. Challenges are varied and explore all sorts of creative forms from dancing to writing and building to exploring. A challenge should take you no longer than 5 or 10 minutes, and shouldn’t require any materials that you aren’t likely to have around you.

All of the challenges are crowdsourced from individuals, organisations and communities around the country, and often act as a chance for those communities to celebrate their creativity and share their work or ideas. The challenges invite participants to ‘do’ the challenge, ‘think’ about how it made them feel, and ‘share’ their thoughts or ideas. 

Some people do 1 challenge, others do 31 challenges. Some people share their work online, some offline, and some choose not to share at all. Some people spend 30 seconds doing a challenge, some people think about how they would approach the challenge, and some people simply love to watch what other people get up to. 

All of the people that take part are doing it right!

DAY 18:
What do you
stand for?

Design a slogan t-shirt. What statement do you want to make to the world? Find your words! They might be a favourite quote or saying, they might be inspired by something you feel passionate about – or they might simply reflect how you’re feeling today.

Set by:
Brothers we stand


“I made things, sense of accomplishment. I shared them. Sense of purpose.”


Everyday Creativity
and Wellbeing

A watercolour drawing of the profile of a head with small creatures and plants inside

found the challenge had a positive impact on their wellbeing


“The challenge was simple enough to get past brain fog and I felt it didn't matter how well I did it, it was just satisfying to do something creative for the sake of it. It has helped me remember that creative actions aren't necessarily big projects; it's about all the little moments, being more alive to the world around me! And even when I didn't do the challenge, I really enjoyed being part of such a positive, curious, engaging and friendly facebook group...”


“I started to see art everywhere, and I started creating again! And, I could do it all alone at home in circumstances that have previously made me feel alone and lonely. I felt very connected again to people and life!


“I enjoyed thinking about the challenges sometimes it was on the way to work and so I carved out a little more me time rather than starting work before I even got there! In the evening I was then taking time to sit down and complete a challenge in my little creative corner. Felt like a precious space in the day and satisfaction of doing it rather than some other mindless or mundane stuff I might have lapsed into otherwise! “

64 Million Artists have been exploring the relationship between creativity and mental health and wellbeing. Find more on our clinical research here



Celebrating everyday
creativity - online.

An origami fox

Anybody can sign up to take part in The January Challenge for free. We release the daily challenge via email, social media and on our website for creative inspiration -

The January Challenge is an online campaign with offline action. Sharing is both a part of the methodology, and a chance to celebrate and highlight everyday creative practice. It allows participants to see other contributions and interact and connect with others around the UK and the rest of the world. Challengers share in personal whatsapp groups, by showing their friends and family, or by posting on their social media. 

The most direct way to quantify the reach of the Challenge is by looking to our social media, digital platforms and the use of the hashtags #TheJanuaryChallenge #64MillionArtists. We also host a closed Facebook group for Challengers to share their work, and chat to other Challengers. And they are a chatty community indeed!

DAY 11:
Bring the
Outside In

Get creative with the great outdoors…Take 5 minutes outside and use what you find in that time to create with.

Set by:
Amy Lord


“I made things, sense of accomplishment. I shared them. Sense of purpose.”








Celebrating everyday creativity - offline.

A cosy lego house

Our clinical research shows that taking part in creative and cultural activities is good for our mental health and wellbeing.

Sharing and reflection in group settings can help us to feel connected, heard and valued. In today’s busy world, taking time to get in touch with our innate creativity can put us back in touch with our values and sense of self.

Over the last few years we have been developing our offer to make it easier for whole communities and organisations to get creative together, in a way that’s responsive to, and works within often busy and fast paced environments. 

The ‘Champions Pack’ is a package of tailored support to enable large organisations to take ownership of their Challenge experience, and facilitate the programme within their digital and physical spaces. In 2020 two local authorities used the pack to engage staff, local businesses and community groups across the county/borough, as well as over 50 libraries, 15 hospitals and primary and secondary schools across the country. 

Challenges within these settings enable staff and visitors, teachers and students, children and older people (and everyone in between) to play, make, connect and create together. 

Are you a creativity champion? How might you use The January Challenge in your communities? 

Get in touch to hear more about the 2021 Champion’s Pack.


Who took part in 2020?

The online nature of The January Challenge means that it has global reach.

Three leaves forming animal silhouettes

The online nature of The January Challenge means that it has global reach. In 2020 people shared Challenges from Tanzania, Australia, Lagos, Canada, Singapore, Slovakia (and more!). People also share stories of sharing the challenges with their families, friends, colleagues, patients, neighbours (...and more!). We also know that there are several people who take part via a service or job (library, school etc) that don’t have a social media presence, or who choose not to share online. 

So, to explore what we know about the Challenge community, we look to our survey of 500 people, social media insights and shared testimony - although this is not representative of all Challengers experience, it gives us a good idea of emerging trends and demographics. This enables us to build on the programme and strategy, and continue to catalyse the creativity of a larger, broader demographic next year.

There are nearly 4000 people in our Challenge Facebook group. London remains the most popular city but over 91% of Challengers come from outside London. We engaged participants from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds, covering all the Index of Multiple Deprivation Decile (IMD ranks all postcodes in England by deprivation). 

Our survey results showed the global reach of the Challenge:

The global reach of the challenge
A closer look at where UK participants were based

There was a huge spread of ages from primary school age to 85+. 40% of Challengers taking the survey were 55+, and on the Facebook page especially there is a lot of conversation around ageing, caring and creativity. 

Our focus for the 2021 campaign is to co-create the programme content and distribution strategies with communities across the country, working to reach and support a broader demographic of Challengers to take part. Our Challengers are predominantly female - with an average of 80% across the different social media platforms, and from the small fraction of those who took the survey, 10% were from ethnic minority groups. 

19.5% of Challengers who took the survey have a disability. A large number of people said that they were experiencing mental and physical health difficulties or dealing with issues around grief, separation and caring. 

DAY 19:
The taste
of Home

Capture your favourite meal in a creative way. You could illustrate the recipe, photograph the ingredients, write a poem that captures the memories – or share the recipe with a friend. 

Set by:
ESOL students at Newham College


Emerging themes

“I made things, sense of accomplishment. I shared them. Sense of purpose.”

A watering can with human features stuck on


98% of Challengers who took the survey reported a positive impact on their wellbeing. Reasons for this included the mindful act of completing a daily challenge, being inspired to, and choosing to create something without pressure or judgement, and a sense of accomplishment, pride and surprise when completing or observing challenges. Very often people reported a boost in creative confidence and enjoyment in giving new ideas a try.


Participants really enjoyed feeling part of the Challenge community, and being part of a supportive group of people. They enjoyed knowing who set the challenges, seeing other people’s responses and sharing their own. Many reported enjoying positive feedback from friends, family and strangers and found the challenges a great conversation starter. Some people reported that they avoided sharing on social media because it can become time consuming and distracting.

Varied Creativity

Challengers enjoyed how varied the challenges were - and the encouragement and inspiration to give something a go that they wouldn’t have otherwise. They loved how differently others responded and often reported that they felt surprised by what they had created - especially with limited time and resources.


96% of Challengers said that The January Challenge has inspired them to continue to get creative everyday. They shared their favourite challenges with team members, whatsapp groups, friends, family etc - and enjoyed the positive, child-like energy the Challenge gave them in what is often regarded as a difficult month. Challengers felt energised and inspired throughout the month and found that they approached other tasks more creatively.


What about next year?

What could we do better?

A robot toy transformed into the Angel of the North

The January Challenge champions accessibility, diversity, fun and creativity. Here are our reflections and learnings from the 2020 campaign, with goals for 2021.

  • We want to broaden the range and demographic of people that take part. We see a huge range of locations, ages, abilities and socio-economic backgrounds, but are working with aim to further address barriers to participation, namely with ethinic minorities and men. We are developing a national network for those working in community settings as well as health, education, local government and services, that seeks to platform everyday creativity, people and projects within the public sector. We will use this network to co-create a programme that is made with, for and by a diverse and representative group of creativity champions.
  • The January Challenge exists online and offline. We want to continue to encourage connection and communication - local and glocal - and seek opportunities to facilitate and inspire these moments throughout the year, recognising that social media doesn’t appeal to everybody. 
  • Nearly 20% of Challengers who took the survey consider themselves to have a disability. This appears to be a growing trend, up from 12% in 2019. We want to continue to support all Challengers and make participation as accessible as possible. We are seeking opportunities to develop our digital resources and content in line with this. 

Thank you for taking part in The January Challenge 2020.

Join us next year by signing up for the challenge

A brief introductionWhat is a creative challenge?Creativity and wellbeingWho took part?Creative ChampionsTestimonyWho took part?What about next year?