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Discovery Phase Activities

Collecting traces using Exploration Kits


1. Getting to know new places
2. Discovering something new in familiar places
3. Relive urban spaces
4. Stimulate observation
5. Unlock creativity
6. Promote self expression
7. Facilitate encounters and narration
8. Feed curiosity
9. Explore art techniques to facilitate storytelling



The facilitator needs to have a deeper knowledge of the city / neighbourhood or have to make some researches about it in advance

Time frame

120 minutes

Material needed

a map of the place or information material relating to it
blank A4 sheets
light color A5 sheets 
wax crayon (possibly black)
black pen
plastic bag with closure
mobile phone to take pictures

Documenting visually newly discovered places with tools other than photography, such as different drawing techniques and by collecting traces and even objects – makes the experience much more memorable. It is simply because if you stop for a while at some place to collect traces or to draw a skyline, you can be sure that you won‘t forget it as you were activity involved in the observation. On the other hand, you end up your exploration already with a collection of small creations that you can work with later on within a creative activity.

The Creative City Crossing involves a double level of exploration: the first level is entrusted to a guide or a conductor, who defines in advance the stages to be covered during the experience. The itinerary can be of any type (cities, parks, neighborhoods, stations ...): the different stops can be chosen by the guide on the basis of one's own poetics or a specific topic/itinerary that you want to cross, such as some points of the city, monuments, particular areas of historical or artistic interest, but also botanical itineraries (for instance a creative crossing of a park or a forest) or street art.

The second level is intertwined with the guided itinerary and is the active exploration: for each stop told by the guide or the conductor, participants will use an exploration kit that is given to them before departure: this kits help participants in collecting as many traces of the itinerary as possible.

Participants are therefore invited, along the way, to collect parts of the city in different ways by “capturing things and details” with different techniques:

  • with frottage (rubbing a wax crayon on a sheet placed on a rough surface);

  • photographing the profile of a building or a decorative detail;

  • noting or making pencil sketches of some details encountered;

  • collecting and putting in a small bag natural and artificial objects or traces found on the ground (pebbles, torn posters, leaves, fallen objects, scraps…)

You can give participants the following reminder of what they are encouraged to do:

During the walk, collect traces from the city that refers to these categories:





You can collect the traces by:
1. picking up small objects or fragments and storing them in the plastic bag;
2. photographing places where you collected them and marking them on the map;
3. taking note of what intrigues you by writing and drawing;
4. tracing the surfaces by rubbing the wax crayon on the leaflets.

Their attention should be focused on “topical objects”: everyday findings, travel memoirs, common objects, tickets, pocket items, objects found on the street, natural traces.... These kind of fragments will then have the ability to evoke the place to which they belong and their narrative potential will emerge in the following phases.


Retracing stories

The collected objects contain stories, sensations, feelings and also preserve a memory linked to a specific place crossed during the journey.

At the end of the Creative City Crossing, the collected traces are retraced. Seated at a table, the participants are invited to exhibit all the traces collected on a black sheet, each creating their own "collection". Everyone can observe collections of others: the value of this moment is both aesthetic and communicative: people are invited to look at the traces collected by other to discover different kinds of beauty and, leaded by curiosity, they could spontaneously find similarities or differences among the collections, seeing how each explorer has picked different parts of the same itinerary.


Recommendations to combine "Creative City Crossing" with other activities:

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