The Out There Challenge is a series of one-day activities for University of Leeds students. Each challenge encourages students to work together, learn creative skills and get out of their comfort zone.
The university invited us to create an Out There Challenge – and it pushed us out of our own creative comfort zone!
What was Choose Your Relationship?
Essentially, we wrote a game.
Titled Choose Your Relationship, our challenge was an immersive love story taking place across the city. The students played a leading role in this romantic adventure, stepping into the shoes of a protagonist as they made decisions as a team. They also took on creative writing activities relating to the story while navigating key city-centre locations in search of clues, answers and outcomes.
The experience was designed to provoke thought and discussion around what it takes to nurture a romantic connection in the modern world, while equipping the students with skills such as:
- Empathy – putting themselves in another person’s shoes.
- Teamwork – taking part in an adventure with new people.
- Decision-making – learning about the impact of life choices.
How did Choose Your Relationship work?
We started the day at Wolfox, where we staged a workshop which immersed students in the character of the protagonist. These quick-fire creative activities established the motivations of the protagonist, the people most important to them, and the wider context of their life.
After that, it was time for the main challenge.
We’d placed five boxes across different locations in Leeds. In each box was a bag marked A, a bag marked B, a bag containing a challenge and a new scenario inside an envelope.
Once the students arrived at a box, they were given these instructions:
- Open the bag marked A or B, based on the option you’ve selected in the scenario posed at the previous box. So if you chose option B at the previous box, open bag B at this one.
- Read the note inside the bag. These will be details of the consequence of the option you chose at the previous box.
- Open the envelope, which presents you with a new scenario and an A and B option.
- Make your selection by texting A or B to the WhatsApp number provided.
- Complete the writing task in the Challenge bag.
- Share a photo of your work. We’ll then message back with an address for the location of the next box.
- Repeat the process until the end.
Which locations did we use for Choose Your Relationship?
To make the experience feel as real as possible, we used locations which were relevant to the story including:
- Leeds Central Library, where the main character was asked by their partner to return a book containing a mysterious postcard. Here, the students wrote a postcard on behalf of the protagonist in early days of their relationship.
- Everyman Cinema, where the couple went on a date. Here, the students were challenged to write an acrostic poem (where the first letters of each line spell out a word) using the surname of either Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds.
- Park Square, where the couple had a heated discussion afterwards. Here, the creative task was to write a blackout poem from a book with a feminist theme.
- Foleys Tap House, where the protagonist went for a drink with his partner and her family.
At each location, the students made decisions which were critical to the relationship’s survival. At the end, the final decision was whether to break up or remain in the relationship.
How did the students respond?
We had so much fun writing then staging Choose Your Relationship. Here’s what the students said they enjoyed about the day, and what they learned.
Taking part in the Out There Challenge was an amazing experience. It’s been so rewarding producing creative writing and making decisions with teammates I hadn’t met before. The day really exceeded my expectations and what I imagined it would be.
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It means a lot to me to realise I can write nice poems in English, which is not my native language. It was a unique opportunity to explore the world around me, get out of my comfort zone and engage with new people.
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I didn’t realise how much I loved doing creative activities with other people. I’d encourage everyone to not leave arts, crafts and writing in their childhood – you’re never too old to be creative! The Out There Challenge is a great place to start. More of this please.
Was so much fun! Thanks so much for your creativity 🙂 https://t.co/5OdghQi9rn
— Out There Challenge (@OneDayOneBrief) February 7, 2020
We’re planning to host future immersive adventures like Choose Your Adventure. If you’re interested in getting involved, let us know.