Decorum Participation Pack


We hope you have been inspired by the work of the groups in London, Peterborough and Southend and are now keen to get involved!

Each week we are proposing a different theme as a provocation and starting point for discussions – you don’t have to stick to these themes to join in – if something else about the project captures your imagination just go for it!

Week 1: Do we change our etiquette with different age groups – are there intergenerational aspects of decorum? Do we have different standards of behaviour when we are with our family and when we are with our friends?

Week 2: The difference between bad behaviour and bad manners? Some things are just wrong!

Week 3: Out and about – how does etiquette/decorum affect us in the things we do away from home: e.g. on public transport, sport, leisure, in the street, at the nail bar/hairdressers, in the shop (is it OK to not go to a cashier who has no queue and use the self-service instead? How many times do you have to say ‘thank you’ for each exchange? Etc.) ?

Week 4: Showcase and wrap up from submissions made

Ideas to get you started: 

These ideas have been proviced by our lead artist, Sue Mayo, and you can use them with a formal group that you work with on a regular basis, or just bring together some members of your family, friends, colleagues or community to have some fun together.

A fun warm up
In turn get each person in the group to show how they look when they disapprove of someone’s behaviour.
Teach this look to everyone and get everyone in the group to have a go at it.

A question to ask: How does it feel to be looked at like this?

Getting the conversation started:
A short one that opened up discussion:
Ask the people in the group to think about being in a public space, think about the behaviour you see around you, and aimed at you then write down (post it notes, scraps of paper, a white board if you have one):

I hate it when….
I love it when…..

The have a discussion about this as a group

Carrying on the conversation:

Questions for the group:
Where did you learn your ideas of decorum from? (think about family, School, Faith group, Political group, significant adults in your life)
What did you learn from them?

Of this

What do you keep?
What do you want to reject?

You could write down the ‘keep’ and ‘reject’ on post-its or bits of paper and line them up against each other – do you think the same as each other – are there any clear similarities or differences arising out of this?

How can you turn this into a creative piece or art work?

Is there a theme coming out of your discussions?

What suits your group? What suits the theme?

Our groups made films, but a previous project on this theme made collages, other things you could do:

Write / perform a poem or spoken word piece
Write / perform a comedy sketch
Make a series of art works – they could be collages, banners, signs, lettering, pictures
Make your own mini-film
Create a sound piece or a piece of music or song

Sharing your work:

If you would like to send us information about your own project or images, video or soundfiles you can email them to (or send to this address via WeTransfer, Dropbox or similar file transfer sites).

If you would like this pack as a pdf please click here to download.

Please do share your work on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – please use @MagicMeArts so we know it relates to this and where possible the hashtag #Decorum18

We are launching this part of our Decorum project as part of the Age of Creativity’s Festival of Creativity – you can find out more about that here.

Decorum is funded by: Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Developed through the Open Lab scheme at Barbican Guildhall.