Kindling: Activities to Spark Joy and Belonging Gathered from Around the World

Kindling: Activities to Spark Joy and Belonging Gathered from Around the World features 85 step-by-step instructions for experiences which can foster a sense of authenticity, peace, connection, or well-being. The activities were generated and hand-drawn by nearly 100 everyday people in 11 community-based workshops held in four cities on three continents in a yearlong project.

I developed Kindling as artist-in-residence at large in Mindscapes, the Wellcome Trust’s international cultural program about mental health. I partnered with public libraries, a museum, and a health clinic in the four cities activated in Mindscapes: New York (USA), Berlin (Germany), Bengaluru (India), and Karuizawa (Japan). Local collaborators, curatorial research fellows, and I conducted 11 workshops in English, German, and Japanese with LGBTQIA+ teens, high school and college students, immigrants, seniors, health care workers, among others. We guided participants through self-reflection and design processes to draw activities and prompts for belonging and joy using brush markers on vellum. The contributions are gathered and published in one zine per city; the set of four is available in English, German, and Japanese.

Totaling over 200 pages, the collection includes:

  • 50 how-to guides and drawings for belonging like Recipe to be an Empath, from a young art student in Bangalore; and the ancient, evocative experience of gathering around a campfire, from a steward of a community garden in Berlin.
  • 47 cards for having a positive attitude and other ways to spark joy contributed by clinicians and residents in Karuizawa.
  • 27 pages of inclusive, body-positive, and gender-expansive paper dolls and garments from the Anti-Prom in NYC to cut, color, and customize.

All contributing participants will receive a set of zines in the language of their original contribution, resulting in an international, multilingual zine exchange.

Library Access

Kindling will be available in public libraries. Look for Kindling at the New York Public Library (Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, Teen Center); in California at the Los Angeles Public Library (Palisades branch, zine library), Oakland Public Library (Main Library, zine collection), Alameda County Public Library (San Lorenzo branch, zine library), and Fresno County Public Library (Betty Rodrigues Regional Library, zine collection); and at the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin (Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek & Bezirkszentralbibliothek Mark Twain, Marsahn) in Berlin. In addition, Kindling may be found at the Museum of Art & Photography, Sri Vishnu International School (school library), and the Bengaluru School of Visual Arts Evening College (library) at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, India; and the Wellcome Collection (library, zine collection) in London, UK.

A limited quantity of zines is available for donation to public libraries and libraries in public schools which serve underserved communities and for whom purchasing the zine would present a financial hardship. Interested librarians, please inquire by emailing .

Downloadable Activities

In conjunction with the publication of Kindling, you can download and print the following activities under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

Anti-Prom Paper Dolls

26 pages of printable paper dolls and garments to cut, color, and customize.

a paper doll garment with a peacock theme

Spark Joy Cards

47 cards to be more spontaneous or open-minded, to be more humorous, and more.

Sample spark joy card about talking to strangers

Crossword Puzzle

Test your knowledge of geography in this puzzle by contributor Jivika Sachdev.

Crossword Puzzle by Jivika Sachdev

Solution PDF

Exhibitions & Public Programs

Kindling launched in the US on April 8, as part of Holding, a solo show/project/residency at the Berkeley Art Center from March 22 to April 28, 2023.

Kindling was displayed in Mindscapes: In the Company of Others at the Museum of Arts & Photography in Bengaluru, India, from April 20 to August 6, 2023.

As a Mindscapes artist-in-residence, I participated in “Conversations | Mindscapes: Art, Mental Health, and Forms of Healing,” (watch the recording) a panel discussion at Art Basel | Hong Kong in March 2023.

Caption: Christine Wong Yap and contributors, Kindling: Activities to Spark Joy and Belonging Gathered from Around the World, 2023, set of four zines, social practice, 8.5 x 5.5 inches.

Developed as part of Mindscapes, the Wellcome Trust’s international cultural program about mental health.

Huge thanks to Mindscapes: Abbie Doran, Barry Gibb, Danielle Olsen, Kukiko Nobori, Margareta von Oswald, Masonde Luteta, Pauline Meyer, Rebecca Jacobs, and Rohan Patankar. Thank you to community partner organizations the New York Public Library, the Berlin Central and Regional Library, the Museum of Art & Photography, and Hotch No Lodge and their representatives Arnika Ahldag, Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, Elizabeth Mathew, Emiko Karakawa, Kinjahl Babaria, Dr. Lea Hartung, Ricci Yuhico, and Shilpa Vijayakrishnan. Thanks also to local collaborators Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek, Bezirkszentralbibliothek Mark Twain, Dacha, Dream a Dream, EtonHouse International Pre-School Karuizawa, the High School for Fashion Industries, Karnataka Chitrakala Prishath, Kolonie Am Flughafen, Nachbarschaftsgarten Kreuzberg, Sri Vishnu International School, Sawamura Bakery & Restaurant, Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, The Terrace Sakuma, and Wilhelm von Siemens Gymnasium. Thanks to Todd Lerew. Additional thanks to Alix Deane, Cole Chang, Erina Davidson, Jacob Li Rosenberg, Jes Young, Lee Oscar Gomez, Margareta von Oswald, Marié Nobematsu-Le Gassic, Megan Badilla, Meredith Leich, Primo Lagaso Goldberg, Seiko Tachibana, and Susanne Huth for helping to produce the four zines in three languages. Additional thanks to Kimberley Acebo Arteche, Elena Gross, and Shawn Hibmacronan at the Berkeley Art Center, as well as Raisa Solis, Natasha Loey, Ivan, and Dareal for installation assistance. Photo of a reader at Berkeley Art Center by Minoosh Zomorodinia, courtesy of Berkeley Art Center.