Making work to make a change

Sam Griffiths
3 min readDec 22, 2020


Olafur Eliasson, In real life

The work that really excites me right now has the ambition to change something for the better or to be of service in some way. Here are a few things that do that and that I’ve been inspired by this year.

Olafur Eliasson
In real life
A wonderful exhibition whose social purpose is clear in the experience of it. A lot of the work has an environmental dimension, but the thing that really moved me was how vivid the experience was of each artwork—the importance of being present.

Jeremy Deller and Fraser Muggeridge
Thank god for immigrants
I love this poster and how it simply states something that many have thought but fewer have said out loud. They have collaborated on a lot of other projects that are worth looking up. As is the work they have done independently.

People I’ve Loved
It’s okay to feel things deeply
This is a great book. It’s Carissa Potter’s work in a nutshell, using wonderful, simple illustrations to help us connect with each other and ourselves more truthfully and deeply. I love her work.

Office of Craig
May they never be deemed ‘low skilled’ again
This poster lists all the jobs that the Government label as ‘low skilled’ that we all saw are vital during the various stages of lockdown this year. Like the previous example —it’s beautifully made, but that’s not the point. It’s the message and the social purpose that important.

Seth Godin
The Practice
I’m halfway through this book and I’m really enjoying it. Its rapid-fire chapters guide and provoke you to think about your work differently. To shift from being focused on outcomes to developing a consistent practice where you merely do the work—and accept that the outcomes are somewhat out of your control. The goal is to regularly ship and share work, learning and improving as you go.

The School of Life
Homeware as therapy
I could have picked any number of things from The School of Life. I really admire their mission, to apply philosophy to our everyday lives — and their name is a peach. This range speaks to the wit and craft that runs through a lot of their work and products, but they have warmth too and sometimes a bit of an edge. It’s a great package.

Pippa Evans
Improv your life
Pippa is a brilliant performer and improviser. When you get the chance, go see her. She and the cast of Showstoppers are absolutely brilliant. She also runs a course and has written a book called ‘Improv your life’ — about putting improv techniques to use in our everyday lives. Brilliant, insightful and lots of fun.

Getting people making
One of the silver linings of this year has been seeing people embrace art as a way of making sense of things, or coping, or distracting themselves. From kid’s rainbows in windows to Grayson Art Club, it’s been great seeing people embrace expression and making. It’s also something I’ve enjoyed personally, both in making for myself and in running art sessions for the boy and his mates.

Here’s a list of related things that I’ve found inspiring:
Grayson Art Club—its popularity speaks for itself
Leap Then Look — great activities and workshops
Oops Wow—getting kids to explore art by getting messy

What kind of work has inspired you this year?

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Sam Griffiths

I want to make things more playful. It’s fun and it makes the world a better place. Want more play in your life? Sign up for my newsletter