Elland’s Happiness Lab

The first measure of happiness in a small town in the UK through the arts!

From November 2021 until July 2022, Curious Motion was dancing, drawing, writing, singing, chatting, and making with the local community to explore what happiness means to them. Local people from across different ages, heritage backgrounds, and life experiences got involved, check out what we got up to below!


Showcase Celebration

To celebrate the project we held a very special evening event for the community on Friday 15th July 2022.

The event featured our special ‘taster menu’ of dances, performed by two of our brilliant dance artists, Matt and Isla. We also shared food together, enjoyed conversation, and finished with a special finale where the whole room danced together! Thank you to everyone to helped make this project happen and who joined us along the way. Here’s some highlights from the night!


Documentary Film

To help tell the story of Elland’s Happiness Lab we commissioned local filmmakers, Rainbow Trout Films to make a special documentary for us. This documentary captures the action over this 8 month project and shares our hopes for the future. Enjoy!

This project is very much the start – a catalyst for increased access to high quality creative wellbeing provision that is accessible to all people, supports a sense of belonging and community cohesion locally, and celebrates this wonderful part of the world!



All the beautiful notes, drawings, and pieces of writing collected from the project were curated into a special exhibition in Elland Library and displayed through August 2022.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the exhibition. Including:


Workshops and Classes

Monthly drop-in creative sessions for all ages – January to June 2022:

We ran monthly creative activities for all the family through the first half of 2022 – exploring happiness in lots of different ways and providing opportunities for people who might not ordinarily meet to come together. All the ideas and experiences from the workshops are also helping to inform the final showcase of the project in July!

Here’s what we got up to…

January 2022 – Lantern Making with Handmade Parade

We captured what happiness means to us on our lanterns – words included ‘my boys’, ‘soul mates’, ‘laughter’, ‘friends’, and ‘family. The lanterns were also displayed in shop windows for Handmade Parade’s ‘Windows on the World’ project! Huge thanks to Fran from Handmade Parade for teaching us how to make lanterns!

February 2022 – Flower Doodles with Artworks

Taking inspiration from British artist Angie Lewin, we explored flower illustration through a series of simple, playful doodle activities. We created a mixed media composition bursting with colour and detail, including some larger collaborative flower doodles too! Big thanks to Sarah O’Boyle from the Artworks for leading this lovely workshop!

March 2022 – Family Dance Party and Rainbow Art Trail

A very happy day of disco dancing and getting outdoors to explore! We began the day in Hullen Edge park, making origami flowers and searching for the colours of the rainbow in our Rainbow Art Trail workshop. Then, we made our way to Southgate Church for an afternoon disco and fun! Many famous party dances made an appearance, including The Macarena, Saturday Night, and ‘5,6,7,8’ by Steps!

April 2022 – Collecting Happiness!

An afternoon of drawing, writing and dancing – collecting all sorts of ideas on what happiness means to the community. We had fun choosing music, practicing some favourite dance moves, and then drawing and writing about our experience! We also worked with a group of young people via Time Out, a youth project run by local mental health charity, Healthy Minds. The children turned their happiness drawings into dance performances!

May 2022 – Performance Taster

In May we ran a taster workshop as a chance to meet us and find out about our performance opportunity to celebrate the end of the project. It’s open to the anyone in the community who would like to be involved, and will be shared at our finale showcase event on the 15th July. We also used our happiness cards to think about the themes and ideas we might like to explore!

June 2022 – Rainbow Art Trail

For our final workshop we ran another fun opportunity for children and young people to get outside, explore their local parks, and make some origami flowers! This time we made tulips, and enjoyed the slightly warmer weather! Our art trails have been a wonderful opportunity to meet new families, particularly those who experience barriers to accessing activities for their children, and we hope to develop a programme of opportunities in the future.

Regular Classes

Opportunities to get moving, express yourself, and connect with others.

Our classes programme ran throughout the project too, and is always open to new people. All sessions are either free or offered on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis so you can choose to donate if you’re able to. Classes include:

Brews & Grooves – dance for people over 55
Rhythm & Brews – music and movement for all ages
Dance for Wellbeing – a fun and accessible movement and stretch session for adults of all ages.

Children & Young People

Exploring what happiness means to the children and young people of Elland.

We’ve also been working with schools, children’s centres and local groups in and near to Elland to hear from children and young people about happiness and how being creative makes them feel. The children have been drawing and writing about happiness with our special cards – you’ll be able to see their wonderful creations in our happiness exhibition in Elland Library!

A big thank you to The National Lottery Community Fund for supporting this project.

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