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Testing Phase

“[MAB has shown me] the potential for art and creativity to be an outlet for youth, to build their confidence and to see potential pathways for future creative opportunities. [It has shown me] that creativity is not a luxury, but a vital part of wellbeing.”

- Yolunda Hickman 

Artist, MAB Prototype


After two years of intensive research and development, we have begun prototyping and testing My Art Bag. The needs of our rangatahi strongly influence how we test this project. We offer each young person complete creative freedom to explore the prototype and conduct the tests on their own terms. As a result, we have been able to gain invaluable insight that enables us to continuously adapt and adjust how we do things, based on suggestions from our testers.

The first prototype immediately confirms the project's contribution to youth well-being and emphasises the immense potential of MAB. Our youth have fully embraced MAB and continuously affirm our mission through sharing thoughts and opinions. They speak about  MAB as a gift and express a sense of excitement, mindfulness, and joy after engagement. They are also sharing MAB with others (physically and digitally) and are referring their peers into the programme. Whānau, services and the community also report that rangatahi feel far more activated, grounded, and relaxed at the conclusion of each testing session. Our results prove youth want MAB and will actively engage with the product. 

Current testing feedback indicates that:

- users would use the Art Box as a calming intervention when feeling emotionally dysregulated

- MAB facilitates a significant sense of connection for users who feel unable to leave their houses by opening up opportunities for their re-connection to the outside world through feedback and sharing of art work made

- MAB has the ability to distil the principles of art therapy into a safe and accessible programme to enhance mental well-being, especially for rangatahi with adverse life experiences

- MAB enables users to explore their identities, engage with 'creative' energy, and develop the courage to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions

Results from the first prototype of MAB have far exceeded our expectations. We are already seeing a significant impact upon our young people and our subscribers, and we are constantly humbled, astounded and excited by our rangatahi’s engagement with MAB. Our youth have fedback that they LOVE our first prototype and continuously express overwhelming admiration for the project. We now have a solid foundation, with clear guidance from our rangatahi, to develop and move into testing the second prototype of MAB.

My Art Bag Testing Phase is in partnership with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Creative New Zealand, Changing Minds, Kaipatiki Youth Development, Kaipatiki Communities Facilities Trust, Kaipatiki Local Board, Odyssey House, Oranga Tamariki (Youth Justice, Care and Protection, Engaging Challenging Youth), Oliver Sealy, Activate Tāmaki Makaurau, Mixit, Tuilaepa Youth Mentoring Service, Northern Health Schools, North Shore High Schools and Intermediates, The University of Auckland, Waitakere Alternative Education Consortium, Youth Aid, designers and artists, WDHB (ICAMS), Auckland Council, and Alternative Education.

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