Armchair Gallery

How to run a creative workshop based on Head of a Man

Artwork by L.S. Lowry, created in 1938

About this activity

Workshop themes

  • Colour
  • Personality
  • Self portraiture
  • Story


  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for one to one

Difficulty level




  • Name badges (for all participants and staff).


  • Go around the room and make eye contact with everyone, shake their hand and say hello.
  • Give everyone 10 minutes to make their own nametag. They can list hobbies, draw a picture, or write a self-profile or simply come up with an adjective for their name. Write this adjective on their name badge too so you can remember it throughout the session!
  • People could work in pairs. Swop nametag’s and then each person could do the nametag for their partner.  This would work well if people in the group are familiar with each other and it would be a lovely way of people complimenting one another.
  •  If you think it may be difficult for participants to draw or write, simply go around the circle and ask individuals to think of an adjective for their name and as the facilitator, write this onto their name badge. Be humorous and think of their characteristics!




  • Look at the artwork using the Armchair Gallery app.
  • Welcome and invite the person or group to create with you and write their answers on the flip chart. Ask open-ended questions (like in the list to the right).
  • Affirm/echo all their answers - together we build a story that can have sound, movement, words - even drawings.
  • Retell the story, then invite them to add another creative element like sound, or movement.

Suggested Questions

  • What is going on in the picture?
  • How does this make you feel when you look at it?
  • Who do you think it is?
  • What do you think his name is?
  • Do you think Lowry knew the person in the portrait?
  • What colours do you see in this piece of art?
  • What artform do you think he used in this portrait?
  • Would you display this artwork in your home?

Play this video

Workshop members can watch this on their own tablet, or you can play it to the group by connecting your tablet to a TV or projector. It can also be downloaded from the Armchair Gallery website.

Interact with the artwork

At this point in the workshop participants should have a go at using the app to interact with the artwork. From the main menu, enter The Lowry, select Head of a Man and tap Interact and play.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 1


  • Coloured felt tip pens.
  • Sharpie pens.
  • Flip chart and pens
  • iPad or laptop (to play accent quiz) and speakers.
  • Pencils and paper.
  • Cardboard props (i.e. moustache, glasses etc.).
  • Coloured fabric or card for the backdrop to take photo portraits.
  • Cardboard boxes, scissors or a scalpel.
  • Paints, paintbrushes and palettes.
  • Oil pens or pastels.
  • Aftershaves, perfume selection.


  • Prepare an accent quiz, which plays accents found across the UK, Scotland, Ireland and in Wales and ask the group to guess where each different accent is from.
  • You can find a good link to accents and the website lists 10 accents to listen to and 4 multiple-choice options when deciding on the answer.
  • You will need Wi-Fi access to play this online quiz.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 2


  • Ask group members what their favourite food or taste is. Try and either incorporate this into their next meal or bring it in for them to enjoy.
  • Favourite food could then be a theme for other creative workshops that you do with the same participants.


  • Make sure everyone participating in the session has a piece of paper and pencil in front of them for this task.
  • Instruct each person to use one hand to explore their own face through touch. Whilst doing this, use the other hand to draw what they feel onto the paper, making marks as they go. This is a tactile journey on paper. Let people know that what is drawn does not have to represent a face. The task is more about the process of touch and not the final look of the drawing.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 3


  • Use cardboard props to change the overall look of the face (a cardboard moustache, big lips or different hair colours and styles etc.) Pass these around to participants and explore the props as a group.
  • Participants can then be individually photographed on a black or coloured backdrop (made from fabric or paper). This can be made fun, capturing the playful notion of this task. The pictures can either be printed out during the session or shown later to participants once they have been printed.
  • Large cardboard boxes can be used to create the heads/figures of different characters like seaside photo cutout boards. Themes for the characters could include a mermaid, bodybuilder etc. The characters could be drawn onto the cardboard using a black sharpie pen and then add in coloured paint for the details, leaving out the facial features. Finally cut out the face on the head. Have some fun placing people’s faces into the boxes, taking photos as you go.
  • Use the Interact and Play activity on the Armchair Gallery App with participants. Save the Lowry selfies and print these out.  If these pictures were printed ahead of the session, oil pens/pastels can be drawn over the images to reflect the style of the Head of a Man.


  • Pass around a selection of aftershaves and perfumes, thinking about the different types of personalities that would wear them.

Making: Wire Head


To conclude, display all of the completed wire faces in view of the group. Ask people if they can guess who made which head? This will be good fun to play. Ask participants to name their sculptures (the names can be written on the bases) and then give them a round of applause.

Thank them all for attending and contributing to the workshop.


Getting Materials

You should be able to get most of the materials mentioned in this guide at your local arts supplier.

They are also avaiable on Amazon. If you shop via Amazon Smile (using the button below - UK only), then we will recieve a donation that we can put towards our work with older people.

Other Apps

You could use these other apps to further explore digital technology in your workshop.