A City Adventure

corporate   Education   Training  

In late 2002 Stan’s Cafe were commissioned by Creative Partnership to devise a training day for teachers. The day was intended to encourage participants to take risks as an essential element of creativity.

The result was A City Adventure in which, a few days before the day itself, a series of mysterious envelopes arrive through the post for the participants. They contain: instructions to meet a partner in the Town or City centre, a spy camera (used to take the images here), a mini-map of the city and second large envelope to be opened on the day itself.

The second envelope contains a creative challenge and two further envelopes. These envelopes promise differing risks and rewards. Once a choice has been made the rejected envelope is discarded, the chosen envelope opened, this contains a further task plus two envelopes. This process is repeated until five creative tasks have been completed.

Participants gather for lunch and debrief on their adventures – the choices they made and what they achieved. The rest of the afternoon is taken up with discussions and theoretical exercises. At the end of the day participants hear the text they generated through the morning transformed into a poem and the images they took on their cameras edited and projected for everyone to see.

Such was the success of the first City Adventure that further editions have been created regularly in Birmingham and Nottingham, for Creative Partnerships, The Arts Council, Connexions and individual schools. Participant numbers have ranged from 16 to 90. Desperate Men have produced two City Adventures under licence in Bristol with Third Angel producing a further version in Sheffield.

A documentation CD-ROM (remember those days?) was also created as an optional extra – a way of keeping memories of the day fresh.


The Original ‘Risk Day’ was commissioned by Rob Elkingtonfor Creative Partnerships, Birmingham (latterly Bright Space (now reborn as Arts Connect))

Concept: James Yarker
Orignal & Most Versions: Craig Stephens and James Yarker
Additional Versions by: Jake Oldershaw

Regular Guest Artists Have Included:
Benny Semp (Mr.Origami/Harmoninca), Chris Dugrenier (Hand Massage), Mat Beckett (Sounds),Graeme Rose (Various), Ana Rutter (Various), Johnny O’Hanlon (Various), Kerrie Reading (Various) Karen Stafford (Various), Jack Trow (Various)

We Have Also Had The Indulgence Of Various People Organisations:
Mission Print (Screen Printing), Blissbody (pyros), Brian Duffy (origami), The Town Hall, The Pen Museum, The Framers,St.Paul’s Gallery, Made.

We would also like to thank all the Creative Agents, Teachers and Headteachers whohave put their faith in us over the years.

Tour dates

  • December, 2002
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham
  • 24 June, 2003
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham
  • 18 July, 2003
    for Mayfield School, Birmingham
  • 5 December, 2003
    Bristol (by The Desperate Men)
  • 26 March, 2004
    for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham
  • 23 June, 2004
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham
  • 4 March, 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham
  • 24 March, 2005
    for Forestdale School, Birmingham
  • 11 April, 2005
    for Raeside School, Birmingham
  • 9 June, 2005
    for Greenwood Junior School, Nottingham
  • 18 July, 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham
  • 5 September, 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham
  • 6 September, 2005
    for Frankley Community High School, Birmingham
  • 31 October, 2005
    Iron Bridge
  • 6 – 8 December 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, S.W.London
  • 4 January, 2006
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham
  • 26 May, 2006
    for St.Albans School, Birmingham
  • 9 June, 2006
    for Woodbridge School, Nottingham
  • 28 September, 2006
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham
  • 20 October, 2006
    for Creative Partnerships, Stoke
  • 3 October, 2007
    for Loughborough University Students Guild
  • 28 February, 2008
    for Brightspace, Birmingham
  • 1 May, 2008
    for Christ The King Primary, Birmingham
  • 25 February, 2009
    for Bordesley Green Primary, Birmingham
  • 23 September, 2010
    for Virtual College, Birmingham
  • 14 September, 2011
    for Lindsworth School, Birmingham
  • 15 November, 2012
    for Billesley Primary School, Birmingham
  • 2 September, 2014
    for Rowley Park Primary Academy, Stafford
  • 19 November, 2014
    for Arts Council England, Birmingham
  • 14 July, 2015
    for Arts Council England, Manchester
  • 2 September, 2015
    for Central England Teacher Training, Birmingham
  • 4 September, 2015
    for Tiverton Primary School, Birmingham
  • 14 September, 2016
    for Central England Teacher Training, Birmingham
  • 4 September, 2017
    for Billesley Primary School, Birmingham
  • 13 May,
    for The Classroom Stage, Birmingham
  • 30 September, 2022
    for Creative Collaboratives, Walsall